2015-16 Courses in Latino Studies

Spring 2015-2016

LAO 200 / SOC 341 / LAS 336
Latinos in American Life and Culture *
Heidy Sarabia

This course will consider how Latinos are transforming the United States socially, politically, and culturally, even as they themselves change in the process. Topics to be examined include meanings of “Latino” and “Hispanic” as ethno-racial categories, where Latinos fit in the American social and economic hierarchies, cultural identities, immigration and assimilation, the significance of Hispanics’ unprecedented geographic dispersal, and their myriad impacts on mainstream music, literature, and language.

AMS 314 / LAO 314 / THR 324
Staging Identity: American Stage *
Jorge I. Cortinas

This course maps some benefits and perils of theater made for, by, or about people of color in the United States. We will investigate the difficult-to-theorize and contested space between politics and artistic craft. We will read both play scripts and critical essays, using each to illuminate and complicate the other. Some of the pairings purposefully cross categories of identity, genre or historic periods. We aim to shake loose some of these texts from identity-based or genre-specific readings and glean from them strategies for making theater and surviving.

POL 334 / SOC 333 / LAO 334
Immigration Politics and Policymaking in the U.S. *
LaFleur Stephens-Dougan

This course examines various political controversies that surround the role of race in American society. These controversies and issues affect public opinion, political institutions, political behavior, and salient public policy debates. Thus this course will assess and evaluate the role of race in each of these domains while also examining this historical antecedents. Special attention will be devoted to the nature of contemporary racial attitudes, given the election of the nation's first black president.

SPA 327 / URB 327 / LAO 327
Latino Global Cities *
Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones
Germán Labrador Méndez

This seminar focuses on the comparative study of Latino urban cultures in U.S., Caribbean and Spanish cities (mainly New York City; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Madrid). Topics include the 2008 financial crisis, Occupy-like movements, global migratory flows, popular culture, memory, debt, visuality and citizenship. Paying close attention to their political and cultural contexts, flamenco, hip-hop, graffiti, visual culture, poetry, documentary films and political performances will be analyzed. Guest speakers and musicians will be part of the conversation.

AMS 381 / GSS 379 / THR 383 / LAO 381
History of American Popular Entertainments
Brian E. Herrera

This course investigates the history of popular entertainments in the United States from the colonial era to the present. Moving briskly among some of the myriad sites, sounds and spectacles that have captivated diverse American audiences, this course tracks how entertainment genres, venues, personalities and phenomena have shaped U.S. culture in enduring and significant ways. This course examines how U.S. entertainment — as simultaneously industrial operation and cultural production — has mapped routes of social encounter, mobility and resistance, while also serving as a platform for individual expression and imaginative escape.

Courses of Interest

ENG 402 / AAS 408/ LAO 402
Forms of Literature: Mystery and Detection
Claudia L. Johnson

Because they foreground issues of interpretation, signs, and narrative, mysteries attract “high-brow” readers while maintaining their “popular” status. Our class will trace the development of kinds of mysteries — classics, cozies, noirs, thrillers, post-moderns, metaphysicals — across historical contexts. Reading theorists such as Freud, Moretti, and Todorov, we will examine the nature of blindspots, doublings, plotting, clues, and suspense, and consider how racial, sexual and cultural difference puts pressure on literary form.

SPA 214 / COM 204
Hispanic Fiction and Film *
Marina S. Brownlee

From Artemidorus in antiquity to Freud in modern times, dreams and nightmares have been a perennial human concern. This course will explore political, philosophical, medical and psycho-sexual representations of dreams and nightmares by such authors as Cervantes, Zayas, Calderón, Cela, Martín Gaite, Muñoz Molina, Bolaño, Piglia and Vargas Llosa.

SPA 224
Hispanic Studies: Introduction to Cultural Analysis
Manuel-Angel G. Loureiro

An introduction to the analysis of contemporary cultural texts (narrative, poetry, film, photography) from Latin America and Spain, with the support of various theoretical ideas. The course’s main objective is to provide students with a set of strong conceptual, analytical and linguistic skills, which will be of great help in 300-level literature/culture courses.

SPA 319 / LAS 319
Topics in Cinema and Culture: Latin American Film — Poetics: Politics of the Third World
Javier E. Guerrero

An exploration of a series of critically acclaimed contemporary Latin American films, accompanied by readings that provide a theoretical and historical framework for its analysis. Topics to be discussed, among others: subalternity and the Third World; sexual and racial politics; postcolonial poetics; genocide; cultural hybridism and mestizaje; dictatorship and populism; biopolitical fantasies.

Fall 2015-2016

SOC 210 / LAS 210 / URB 210 / LAO 210
Urban Sociology: The City and Social Change in the Americas
Patricia Fernández-Kelly

By taking a comparative approach, this course examines the role of social, economic, and political factors in the emergence and transformation of modern cities in the United States and selected areas of Latin America. We consider the city in its dual image: both as a center of progress and as a redoubt of social problems, especially poverty. Attention is given to spatial processes that have resulted in the aggregation and desegregation of populations differentiated by social class and race.

SPA 222 / LAS 222 / LAO 222
Introduction to Latin American Cultures
Javier E. Guerrero

This course offers an introduction to modern Latin American literature and culture. It focuses on the complex ways in which cultural and intellectual production anticipates, participates in, and responds to political, social, and economic transformations in the 20th and 21st centuries. Through a wide spectrum of sources (essays, fiction, poetry, film, and art), students will study and discuss some of the most relevant issues in Latin American modern history, such as modernity, democracy, identity, gender, memory, and social justice.

THR 308 / GSS 304 / LAO 308
Playing Against Type
Brian E. Herrera

This workshop course for actors, directors and scholars rehearses how to play with and against “type” in performance. The course uses scene- and monologue-study to press upon the limits of the conventions of typecasting. Course participants will experiment with cross-gender and cross-cultural casting; mask improvisation; conceptual casting; and performing across age, size, and ability. Throughout, the course engages relevant scholarly literature assessing the transformational act of taking on a role and uses in-class exercises, presentations and performances to press theory into practice (and vice versa).

Courses of Interest

AAS 380 / AMS 382
Public Policy in the American Racial State
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

This course explores how ideas and discourses about race shape how public policy is debated, adopted and, implemented. Black social movements and geopolitical considerations prompted multiple public policy responses to racial discrimination throughout the 20th century. Despite these policy responses, discrimination persists, raising theoretical concerns about the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, political representation, the role of the state (meaning government or law) in promoting social justice, and the role of social movements and civil society in democratizing policymaking and addressing group oppression.

HIS 361
The United States Since 1974
Julian E. Zelizer

The history of contemporary America, with particular attention to political, social and technological changes. Topics will include the rise of a new conservative movement and the reconstitution of liberalism, the end of the divisive Cold War era and the rise of an interconneted global economy, revolutionary technological innovation coupled with growing economic inequality, a massive influx of immigrants coupled with a revival of isolationism and nativism, a revolution in homosexual rights and gender equality coupled with the rise of a new ethos of “family values.”

REL 505
Studies in the Religions of the Americas - Hemispheric Reflections
Jessica Delgado

The study of religion in Latin America and the United States have developed in parallel ways, exploring similar questions, but in relative isolation from one another. (A particularly illustrative example is the conceptual move towards “lived religion” by scholars of religion in the US and “local religion” by Latin Americanists.) This course seeks to bring Latin American and US religious history into conversation around key issues and theoretical concepts.

SOC 227
Race and Ethnicity *
Patricia Fernández-Kelly

Our goal in this course is (a) to understand various definitions of race and ethnicity from a theoretical perspective and in a plurality of contexts and (b) to account for the rise of ethnicity and race as political and cultural forces in the age of globalization. Why are ethnic and racial delimitations expanding in areas of the world where such distinctions were formerly muted? Is race and racial discrimination all the same regardless of geographical region? What are the main theories and methodologies now available for the study of race and ethnicity from a comparative point of view? These are among the questions our course aims to answer.

SPA 319 / LAS 319
Topics in Cinema and Culture: Work and Love, Play and Politics in Spanish Cinema
Manuel-Angel G. Loureiro

An exploration of some of the most distinctive themes in Spanish films of the last fifty years. Topics to be discussed, among others: political repression; the modernization of Spain since the 1960s; the perversions of love; the world as a stage; new sexualities; the redefinition of gender roles; uncanny worlds.

Asterisked courses [*] qualify toward a certificate in Latino studies; other courses approved upon demonstrating completion of assignments related to Latinos.