Courses Spring 2015

The following courses will be offered by some of the affiliated faculty of the Janey Program in Latin American Studies:

Contemporary Latin American Literature 
Professor(s): Decastro, Juan
Day(s):  M/W
Time(s): 10:00 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.

This course studies Spanish American texts written during the last two decades by such authors as novelists Roberto Bolaño, César Aira, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and playwright Sabina Berman. While contemporary writers had long labored under the shadow cast by the international reputation of the Boom novelists and other Latin American authors of the 1960s, the rise of Bolaño as a world author has generated a new wave of interest in Latin American literature as a principal contributor to the current literary scene.

Environmental Health in Latin America and the Caribbean 
Professor(s): Ramirez, Ivan
Day(s): F
Time(s): 12:10 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.

This intermediate seminar course will focus on contemporary environmental health topics and issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. Emphasis will be on people and their relationship with the environment and on understanding the processes that have led to environmental health outcomes, broadly defined, in the region. The appreciation of underlying processes helps understand how the region is adjusting to increased integration, globalization, and environmental change, including global warming. This course has no prerequisites.

Architectural Modernisms in 20th Century Latin America 
Professor(s): Donato, Liz
Day(s): W
Time(s): 12:10 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.

This course is open to all university degree students. Pre-requisites: first-year university writing course and at least one prior history or methods course in art, media, film, or visual culture.

Latin American Artists in New York
Professor(s): O’Neill, Rosemary
Day(s): Tu.
Time(s): 12:10 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. 

This course will examine the complex and rich relationships that characterize the activities of Caribbean, Brazilian, and Latin American artists who worked in New York City as residents or travellers over the course of the last century. Distinct cultural perspectives and productive engagements with American and European contemporaries demonstrate the significance of a Latin American presence. From the interwar period through the 1960s, Latin American artists have also made contributions within the context of leading New York institutions including the Museum of Modern Art and the New School for Social Research. Concurrently and to the present, distinct trends in performance art, film/ video, and conceptual art aimed to engage the public within and beyond cultural institutions. The course will conclude with contemporary artists whose work is circulated globally. Students will have the opportunity to engage with primary sources in the city including artworks, exhibitions, and archives.

Literature & Revolution in Latin America 

Professor(s): Decastro, Juan
Day(s): M/W
Time(s): 1:50 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. 

This course studies the discrepant visions and revisions of revolution in Spanish American literature from the 19th century until the present. Given the social and economic inequality prevalent in the region, Spanish American writers have frequently grappled with the need for radical political change. In particular, the belief in revolution as a modernizing and democratizing process became widespread after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, which for many exemplified the possibility of achieving equality and freedom in the region. We begin with Jose Marti’s response to Marxism, and continue with the first direct attempts at creating a (Marxist) revolutionary literature in the poetry of Chilean Pablo Neruda; we conclude with the late 20th century novella Amulet by the also Chilean Roberto Bolano, and with Patricio Pron’s My Father’s Ghost is Climbing in the Rain which look back at the revolutionary hosts of the 1960s and 1970s. Additional readings include The Kiss of the Spider woman by the Argentinean novelist Manuel Puig and The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta by Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, Karl Marx’s and Friedrich Engels’ Communist Manifesto, and Ernesto Che Guevara’s narrative and essayistic writings, among other texts.

Photography in Latin America
Professor(s): Cepero-Amador, Iliana
Day(s): Tu/Th
Time(s): 11:55 a.m. – 1:35 p.m.

This course examines the history of Latin American photography, from early photography of the nineteenth century to contemporary conceptual tendencies. We begin with photographic representations of the local landscape and its inhabitants, continue with the establishment of the first photographic studios, and follow with the advent of modernist trends, such as surrealism and abstraction. We approach the strong documentary practice that swings from registering everyday life and autochthonous rituals, to chronicling political upheavals-as exemplified in the Mexican and Cuban revolutions- and cataloguing the “disappeared” under the military juntas of Argentina and Chile. We also explore the treatment of labor in 1970’s Cuban and Brazilian photo essays, the incorporation of postmodern concepts by Latin American photographers in the 1990s, and photographic representations of narco-culture in Colombia and Mexico. We discuss critical problems such as: realism, indigenism, social commentary, propaganda, nationalism, violence, and ethics.

State, Market, and Development Strategies in Latin America
Professor(s): Cohen, Michael A
Day(s): Tu.
Time(s): 6:00 p.m. – 7:50 p.m.

This course examines the changing views and roles of the state and the market in the evolution of development policy in Latin America since World War II. The course reviews the changing rationales for import substitution policies, dependency theory, developmentalism, neo-liberal policies, and heterodox policies adopted by Latin American governments. Special attention will devoted to understanding the shifting role and performance of state institutions in formulating and implementing national projects for development, particularly in relation to economic management, reduction of poverty and inequality, and support for innovation in the productive and social sectors. Readings will include works by Raul Prebisch, Albert Hirschman, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Peter Evans, John Williamson, Sebastian Edwards, Nancy Birdsall, Robert Wade, Alice Amsden, Javier Santiso, and many others. The course will include case studies of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

The US and Latin America: Transnational Histories, Global Connections  
Professor(s): Herran Avila, Luis
Day(s): Tu/Th
Time(s): 1:50 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

The idea of “Latin America” emerges from the intersection of local, global and transnational histories marked by the flows and interactions between states and peoples. From this perspective, this course stresses the importance of “transnational contact zones” for the study of critical issues in the history and present of US – Latin America relations.The course relies on primary and secondary sources, including various forms of cultural production (film, caricature, music and iconography) to introduce a notion of “empire” that takes into account moments of consent, coercion, conflict and resistance in these shared histories. The course thus provides a historical perspective on the present by examining the trajectory of hemispheric relations in a global context, including the southward expansion of the American Frontier, the cycle of interventions in Central America and the Caribbean, the Cuban Revolution and U.S. support for dictatorial regimes, and the development of crucial spheres of interaction and integration such as the economy, culture and migration. *A People, Places & Encounters (PPE) Cluster course.*