Latin American Studies (LAST)

LAST 100a / HIST 305a, Introduction to Latin American Studies: History, Culture and SocietyMaria Aguilar

What is Latin America? The large area we refer to as Latin America is not unified by a single language, history, religion, or type of government. Nor is it unified by a shared geography or by the prevalence of a common language or ethnic group. Yet Latin America does, obviously, exist. It is a region forged from the merging of diverse cultures, historical experiences, and processes of resistance. This course provides an overview of Latin America and the Caribbean from the 16th century up to the present. While the class aims to provide students with an understanding of the region, due to time constraints, it focuses primarily on the experiences and histories of selected countries. The course introduces students to some of the most important debates about the region’s history, politics, society, and culture. The course follows a chronological structure while also highlighting thematic questions. Drawing on academic readings, films, music, art, literature, testimony, oral histories, and writings from local voices the class explores the political transformation of the region, as well as topics related to ethnic and racial identity, revolution, social movements, religion, violence, military rule, democracy, transition to democracy, and migration.   HU0 Course cr
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

LAST 200a / PLSC 382a, Introduction to Latin American PoliticsStaff

Introduction to major theories of political and economic change in Latin America, and to the political and economic systems of particular countries. Questions include why the continent has been prone to unstable democratic rule, why countries in the region have adopted alternatively state-centered and market-centered economic models, and, with the most recent wave of democratization, what the remaining obstacles might be to attaining high-quality democracy.  SO0 Course cr

LAST 214a / AFAM 186a / PLSC 378a / SOCY 170a, Contesting InjusticeStaff

Exploration of why, when, and how people organize collectively to challenge political, social, and economic injustice. Cross-national comparison of the extent, causes, and consequences of inequality. Analysis of mobilizations for social justice in both U.S. and international settings. Intended primarily for first years and sophomores.  SO0 Course cr

* LAST 222a or b / SPAN 222a or b, Legal SpanishMercedes Carreras

An introduction to Spanish and Latin American legal culture with a focus on the specific traits of legal language and on the development of advanced language competence. Issues such as human rights, the death penalty, the jury, contracts, statutory instruments, and rulings by the constitutional courts are explored through law journal articles, newspapers, the media, and mock trials. Enrollment limited to 18. A maximum of one course in the 200-230 range may count as an elective toward the Spanish major.  L5

* LAST 223a / SPAN 223a, Spanish in Film: An Introduction to the New Latin American CinemaMargherita Tortora

Development of proficiency in Spanish through analysis of critically acclaimed Latin American films. Includes basic vocabulary of film criticism in Spanish as well as discussion and language exercises. Enrollment limited to 18.  L5
MW 1pm-2:15pm

LAST 226a / ER&M 287a / EVST 229a / SPAN 230a, Reading Environments: Nature, Culture, and AgencyLuna Najera

Extreme weather, proliferation of species extinctions, climate migration, and the outbreak of pandemics can all be understood as instances of koyaanisqatsi, the Hopi word for life out of balance. They may also be viewed as indications that we are living in the age of the Anthropocene, a term in the natural and social sciences that acknowledges that human activities have had a radical geological impact on the planet since the onset of the Industrial revolution. In this course we study relations between humans and other-than-humans to understand how we arrived at a life out of balance. We inquire into how binary distinctions between nature and culture are made, sustained, or questioned through a diversity of meaning-making practices in Spanish, Latin American, and indigenous literature, visual culture, and material culture. The indigenous artifacts studied include Popol Vuh, poetry, petroglyphs, and documentaries by indigenous people of the Amazon, which provide opportunities for asking pressing questions: To what extent does the nature and culture binary foreclose alternative possibilities for imagining ourselves and our relation to the world? Are there ways of perceiving our world and ourselves that bypass such binaries and if so, what are they? In the final weeks of the course, we draw from our insights to investigate where the nature/culture binary figures in present discussions of environmental catastrophes and rights of nature movements in Latin America. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 140 or 145, or in accordance with placement results.   L5
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* LAST 227a / SPAN 227a, Creative WritingMaria Jordan

An introduction to the craft and practice of creative writing (fiction, poetry, and essays). Focus on the development of writing skills and awareness of a variety of genres and techniques through reading of exemplary works and critical assessment of student work. Emphasis on the ability to write about abstract ideas, sentiments, dreams, and the imaginary world. Enrollment limited to 18. A maximum of one course in the 200-230 range may count as an elective toward the Spanish major.  L5
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* LAST 228a / ER&M 278a / SPAN 228a, Borders & Globalization in Hispanophone CulturesLuna Najera

The borders that constitute the geographical divisions of the world are contingent, but they can have enormous ordering power in the lives of people and other beings. Human-made borders can both allow and disallow the flow of people and resources. Like geographical borders, social borders such as race, caste, class, and gender can form and perpetuate privileged categories of humans that restrict access of excluded persons to natural resources, education, security, and social mobility. Thus, bordering can differentially value human lives. Working with the premise that borders are sites of power, in this course we study bordering and debordering practices in the Hispanic cultures of Iberia, Latin America, and North America, from the 1490s to the present. Through analyses of a wide range of texts students will investigate the multiple ways in which social, cultural, and spatial borders are initiated, expressed, materialized, and contested. Some of the questions that will guide our conversations are: What are social borders and what are the processes through which they perdure? How do the effects of local practices that transcend borders (e.g., environmental pollution, deforestation) change our understanding of borders? How does globalization change discourse about borders? (To be conducted in Spanish.) Prerequisite: SPAN 140 or 145, or in accordance with placement results. A maximum of one course in the 200-230 range may count as an elective toward the Spanish major.   L5
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* LAST 243a / SPAN 243a, Advanced Spanish GrammarTerry Seymour

A comprehensive, in-depth study of grammar intended to improve students' spoken and written command of Spanish. Linguistic analysis of literary selections; some English-to-Spanish translation. Enrollment limited to 18.   L5
MWF 9:25am-10:15am

LAST 244b / SPAN 244b, Writing in SpanishMargherita Tortora

Intensive instruction and practice in writing as a means of developing critical thinking. Recommended for students considering courses in literature. Analysis of fiction and nonfiction forms, techniques, and styles. Classes conducted in a workshop format.  L5
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

LAST 247a / SPAN 247a, Introduction to the Cultures of Latin AmericaStaff

A chronological study of Latin American cultures through their expressions in literature and the arts, beginning in the pre-Columbian period and focusing on the period from the nineteenth century to the present. Emphasis on crucial historical moments and on distinctive rituals such as fiestas. Open to students who have placed into L5 courses or who have successfully completed an L4 course in Spanish. Counts toward the major in Spanish.  L5, HU
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* LAST 255a / ANTH 255a / ARCG 255a, Inca Culture and SocietyRichard Burger

The history and organization of the Inca empire and its impact on the nations and cultures it conquered. The role of archaeology in understanding the transformation of Andean lifeways; the interplay between ethnohistoric and archaeological approaches to the subject.  SO
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* LAST 262b / SPAN 262b, Studies in Spanish Literature IIStaff

An introduction to Spanish prose, drama, and lyric poetry from the eighteenth century to the present, centered on the conflict between modernity and tradition and on the quest for national identity. Texts by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Antonio Machado, Federico García Lorca, Ramón Sender, and Ana María Matute, among others. Open to students who have placed into L5 courses or who have successfully completed an L4 course in Spanish.  L5, HU

* LAST 266a / SPAN 266a, Studies in Latin American Literature ILisa Voigt

Cultural encounters in the New World as interpreted by authors of native American (Aztec and Inca) cultural traditions, the Spanish conquistadors and friars who encountered them and their heirs, and the Mexican creole nun (the now-world-famous Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz) who gave voice to some of their traditions as she created a space for her own writing in the literary world. Their resonance and legacy today.   L5, HU
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

* LAST 305a / ER&M 285a / SOCY 305a, Latin American Immigration to the United States: Past, Present, and FutureAngel Escamilla Garcia

Immigration from Latin America is the one of the most important and controversial issues in the United States today. The family separation crisis, the infamous border wall, and the Dream Act dominate political debate. Latinos—numbering more than 60 million in the U.S.—are a large, heterogeneous, and growing group with a unique social, political, and cultural history. This course explores key current issues in immigration, as well as the history of Latin American migration to the U.S., with the aim of providing students the tools necessary to thoughtfully participate in current debates.  SO
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* LAST 318b / ARCH 341b / GLBL 253b / URBN 341b, Globalization SpaceStaff

Infrastructure space as a primary medium of change in global polity. Networks of trade, energy, communication, transportation, spatial products, finance, management, and labor, as well as new strains of political opportunity that reside within their spatial disposition. Case studies include free zones and automated ports around the world, satellite urbanism in South Asia, high-speed rail in Japan and the Middle East, agripoles in southern Spain, fiber optic submarine cable in East Africa, spatial products of tourism in North Korea, and management platforms of the International Organization for Standardization.  HU0 Course cr

* LAST 334a / ER&M 364a / HIST 334Ja, Ethnicity, Nationalism, and the Politics of Knowledge in Latin AmericaMarcela Echeverri Munoz

Examination of ethnicity and nationalism in Latin America through the political lens of social knowledge. Comparative analysis of the evolution of symbolic, economic, and political perspectives on indigenous peoples, peasants, and people of African descent from the nineteenth century to the present. Consideration of the links between making ethnic categories in the social sciences and in literature and the rise of political mechanisms of participation and representation that have characterized the emergence of cultural politics.  WR, HURP
T 9:25am-11:15am

* LAST 351a / SPAN 350a, Borges: Literature and PowerAnibal González-Pérez

An introduction to the work of Jorge Luis Borges, focusing on the relation between literature and power as portrayed in selected stories, essays, and poems. Topics include Borges and postmodernity; writing and ethics; and Borges's politics. Works include Ficciones, Otras inquisiciones, El aleph, El hacedor, El informe de Brodie, and Obra poética. Open to students who have placed into L5 courses or who have successfully completed an L4 course in Spanish. Counts toward the Spanish major.  L5, HU
MW 9am-10:15am

LAST 355a / HIST 355a, Colonial Latin AmericaStaff

A survey of the conquest and colonization of Latin America from pre-Columbian civilizations through the movements for independence. Emphasis on social and economic themes and the formation of identities in the context of multiracial societies.  HU0 Course cr

* LAST 357b / HIST 380Jb, Revolutionary MexicoStaff

The Mexican revolution erupted as a rebellion to overthrow president Porfirio Diaz after thirty years of oppressive rule, but it soon grew into a fierce conflict between warring factions to define the country's future. For certain revolutionaries, like Emiliano Zapata, this was a battle for the survival of their villages and the recovery of ancestral lands claimed by wealthy elites. For urban liberals, it was a fight to establish a democratic and secular state. Others yet- including industrial laborers, Indigenous leaders, and feminist activists-understood the revolution as a struggle against global capitalism and structures of power, like those of race and gender. As the defining event of modern Mexican history, the revolution casts a long shadow. Engaging in our own process of historical investigation, we ask: How did the revolution transform Mexican society? How do we make sense of the multiplicity of revolutionary experiences? How have Mexicans from across all sectors of society constructed their own historical narratives about the revolution, and what is at stake with their competing interpretations?  WR, HU
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* LAST 359a / FILM 321a / HUMS 435a / LITR 379a, Radical Cinemas in the Global SixtiesMoira Fradinger and Lorenz Hegel

“1968” has become a cipher for a moment of global turmoil, social transformation and cultural revolution. This class explores the “long global sixties” through cinema produced across continents. At the height of the Cold War between two blocks in the “East” and the “West,” the “Third World” emerged as a radical political project alternative to a world order shaped by centuries of colonialism, imperialism, slavery, and capitalist exploitation. Liberation, emancipation, independence, anticolonialism, decolonization, and revolution became key words in the global political discourse. Leaders from Africa, Asia, and Latin America created a new international platform, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that challenged the Cold War bi-polarity. Radical filmmakers who belong in this period experimented with strategies of storytelling and of capturing reality, calling into question rigid distinctions between “documentary” and “fiction” and “art and politics.” The goal was not to “show” reality, but to change it. We study a world-wide range of examples that involve filmmakers’ collaborations across The Americas, Western Europe, North Africa, South and South-East Asia. Taught in English; films aresubtitled but knowledge of other languages may be useful.  HU
M 7pm-10pm, W 7pm-8:50pm

* LAST 371b / SPAN 371b, Science and Fiction in Spanish American NarrativeAnibal González-Pérez

A study of the speculative incorporation of scientific ideas and themes in contemporary Spanish American fiction from Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Peru. Readings and discussions of early and mid-20th-century precursors, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Leopoldo Lugones, Pablo Palacio, and Clemente Palma; of late-20th to early 21rst-century examples of “technowriting” in Samantha Schweblin, Jorge Volpi, and Alejandro Zambra, and of utopias, dystopias and possible futures in Jorge Adolph, Jorge Baradit, Hugo Correa, Angélica Gorodischer, Francisco Ortega, Yoss, Yuri Herrera, and Carlos Yushimito. Related themes include: post-humanism, ecofiction, and sociopolitical satire. Course is taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: L4 Spanish or higher.  L5, HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* LAST 372b / ER&M 342b / HIST 372Jb, Revolutionary Change and Cold War in Latin AmericaGreg Grandin

Analysis of revolutionary movements in Latin America against the backdrop of the Cold War. Critical examination of popular images and orthodox interpretations. An interdisciplinary study of the process of revolutionary change and cold war at the grassroots level.  WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* LAST 386a / GLBL 215a / MGRK 237a / PLSC 375a / SOCY 389a, PopulismParis Aslanidis

Investigation of the populist phenomenon in party systems and the social movement arena. Conceptual, historical, and methodological analyses are supported by comparative assessments of various empirical instances in the US and around the world, from populist politicians such as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, to populist social movements such as the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.  WR, SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* LAST 394a / LITR 294a / PORT 394a, World Cities and NarrativesKenneth David Jackson

Study of world cities and selected narratives that describe, belong to, or represent them. Topics range from the rise of the urban novel in European capitals to the postcolonial fictional worlds of major Portuguese, Brazilian, and Lusophone cities. Conducted in English.  WR, HUTr
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

* LAST 491a, The Senior EssayStaff

Preparation of a research paper about forty pages long under the direction of a faculty adviser, in either the fall or the spring term. Students write on subjects of their own choice. During the term before the essay is written, students plan the project in consultation with a qualified adviser or the director of undergraduate studies. The student must submit a suitable project outline and bibliography to the adviser and the director of undergraduate studies by the third week of the term. The outline should indicate the focus and scope of the essay topic, as well as the proposed research methodology. Permission may be given to write a two-term essay after consultation with an adviser and the director of undergraduate studies and after submission of a project statement. Only those who have begun to do advanced work in a given area are eligible. The requirements for the one-term senior essay apply to the two-term essay, except that the two-term essay should be substantially longer.