Visiting Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies
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This seminar will be a reading and discussion intensive course. Students will prepare drafts of a long theoretical paper due at the end of the course. We will read key anti-colonial texts including Felipe Guaman Poma's "The First New Chronicle and Good Government," Jos Carlos Maritegui's "Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality," Edmundo O'Gorman's "The Invention of America" and Gloria Anzalda's "Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza," as well as essays from edited volumes, like "The Latin American Subaltern Studies Reader" and "Coloniality at Large," and journals engaging contemporary debates on coloniality and decoloniality.+– Violence and Writing in Mexico's "Drug War"
Violence and Writing in Mexico's "Drug War": Over the past seven years brutal and intensely visible forms of violence have increased drastically in Mexico. Most people who come in contact with these forms of violence do so through media representations, and most of these media accounts contain, overtly or covertly, an official logic that blames victims for their violent deaths while celebrating the very increase in such deaths as a sign that the State's policy of militarization is "winning." In this class we will question common understandings of what constitutes violence. We will examine how certain acts of violence are portrayed in media and official discourse, while others are banished from such discourse. We will read and analyze both short and long form works of journalism on the "drug war" in Mexico published between 2008 and 2012. We will briefly consider the historical and political contexts of drug policy in the United States and Mexico. We will then build a theoretical network of ideas from decolonial and critical thinkers from Latin America, Africa, India, the Pacific Islands, North America and Europe. We will apply these analytical tools to the so-called "drug war" in Mexico to study how visible and invisible forms of violence are exercised and disguised in language and in the streets. Each student will prepare a research paper and present their findings towards the end of the semester.