RACE, GENDER, AND CLASS IN LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN HISTORY
The multiple regions and peoples comprised under the rubric of “Latin America” or the “Caribbean” are too vast and complex to cover in any survey course. Facing this insurmountable task, we can only aspire to gain an overview of significant historical processes that have marked the individuals and communities inhabiting and passing through these varied landscapes. Our main objective is to explore the local and global connections in the historical and ongoing production of social inequities in the Americas. By the quarters 'ed students will have developed the critical skills and the necessary historical knowledge to comprehend contemporary problems in the American hemisphere.
The first and longest unit focuses on the workings and reproduction of colonial society. While we will explore pre-conquest polities in the American, European, and African continents with some detail, we will concentrate our efforts on studying the formation of the Portuguese and Spanish macro-polities comprising the disparate geographical areas and peoples of the Iberian Peninsula, Western coast of Africa, the Mediterranean, Asia, and the Americas. We will place particular attention to the Spanish and Portuguese endeavors in the Americas to govern, economically exploit, and morally/culturally shape the lives of native communities, African slaves, colonizers of various backgrounds, and their racially mixed offspring. Simultaneously, we will explore the myriad of ways in which peoples challenged, subverted, or simply negotiated in their everyday life the regimes of rule imposed upon them.
In the second-half the course, we will focus on the tribulations of building modern nation-states out of previously colonized territories. Like earlier colonial subjugation, the “nation” was another arrangement to organize power and has led to continuous struggles–often, violent ones—about the terms of inclusion and exclusion. The search for “progress” and “modernity,” later the need for “development through industrial modernization,” and recently the call for “free trade” and globalization have legitimized the continuing subjugation of large sectors of the Indigenous, Black, and female (and feminized) populations in the Americas. These innovations in subjugation have unleashed severe social upheavals, political processes through which subordinated and racialized populations have forged impressive alternative models of sociability. Concomitantly, we will investigate the Liberal forms of imperial subjugation that emerged in the Americas since late nineteenth-century: i.e. the U.S. and international money-lending institutions.
These conflicts mentioned above remain at the heart of present-day social movements in these regions.