Professor of Sociology
Her areas of interest are social and political theory, including feminist theory and queer theory, sociology of culture, and social movements.
Four 3-week modules will comprise the content: Cuban literature and culture, Racial dynamics, Social Inequality, and US-Cuba relations. Classes will be taught in simple academic Spanish and English; students will be free to ask questions, make comments or write their papers in either language. Guest lecturers will teach primarily in Spanish. Students will complete assigned readings and write four short integrative papers, one for each module. Possible guest lecturers will include Dra. Graziella Pogolotti on Alejo Carpentier and his influence on Cuban culture, Margarita Mateo on contemporary Cuban literature, Zuleica Romay on Race in Cuba and Lilia Nunez on the emergence of socioeconomic inequalities in post-Special Period Cuba.
As the ability to communicate depends largely on a good understanding of the culture, the Spanish course attempts to enhance students understanding, respect and appreciation for the rich traditions and customs of Cuba. The course seeks to build students' colloquial language use, and their ability to converse in daily life and on topics of interest such as social life, family, culture, art, race, gender etc. The combination of Spanish classes and daily exchange at the students' home stays provides the kind of language interaction in a real life situation that will permit them to expand the vocabulary and grammar studied in class and to develop comfort speaking the Spanish language. Classes focus on analyzing written articles, increasing vocabulary and having conversations and discussions in Spanish on various topics. There will be invited speakers as well as film and video showings. Students will occasionally visit museums, cultural sites and performances and conduct small investigations on cultural and social topics.
Today, newspapers speak of a decided tilt to the left in Latin America (Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Uruguay, for example, all have presidents who affirm socialism). This was not the case twenty years ago, when, to everyone's astonishment, the Zapatistas rose in revolt in Chiapas. Surfacing the same day that NAFTA went into effect-January 1, 1994, they announced a different vision of Mexico's future. The actions and writings of the Zapatistas constitute an extraordinary case study in which many preoccupations converge: the economic, the political, indigenous rights, women's rights, civil society, cultural memory, and writing that is poetic and political. Focusing on the Zapatista revolt enables us to consider an example of "local" resistance to "global" designs, the ongoing challenge to neoliberal economics and to limited conceptions of "democracy" that condemn populations to invisibility, their cultural memory to oblivion, and their needs and knowledge to subaltern status. At heart, this course hopes to provide the unsettling (and promising) experience of viewing the world and ourselves from perspectives other than those we inherit and inhabit.
This course proposes an interdisciplinary approach that critically engages a range of frameworks (geopolitical, historical, cultural) for a study of the complex and contested reality of Cuba. Displacing images of Cuba circulating in US popular and official culture, we examine the constructions of race, gender, and sexuality that have defined the Cuban nation. We will explore how Cuba can be understood in relation to the U.S., and to its own diasporas in Miami and elsewhere. The course will engage with primary texts, historiography, literature, film, and music to examine Cuba within these multiple frameworks. Students will complete frequent short response essays and a research project. This course is required for students wishing to study in the Hampshire in Cuba semester program (open to all Five College students), and will provide support for framing independent projects and applications for the Cuba Semester. Though conducted in English, many readings will be available in Spanish and English and papers may be submitted in either language. Concurrent enrollment in a Spanish language class is strongly recommended.
On December 21, 2012 the Zapatistas again surprised a world whose eyes were on Mexico anticipating a historical rupture from one time into another, the Mayan prophecy of the end of the world. Forty thousand Zapatistas marched in total silence on four of the seven towns they had taken on the first day of their uprising January 1, 1994, 18 years before. They issued a brief communique: ?Can you hear it? It is the sound of their world ending, and ours surging anew,? thereby interpreting the Mayan prophecy in an unexpected, political manner. Since that date, the Zapatistas have issued a stream of communiques breaking nearly four years of silence, and again from Japan to Greece, Argentina to the US, groups of Zapatistas are forming or reforming to read and interpret these playful yet serious, poetic and sharply analytical missives from the mountains of the Southwest of Mexico. Why have so many found the Zapatista messages exciting? What have been and are the contributions of the Zapatistas to the contemporary historical turning point in world politics signaled by the Arab Spring, the European revolts against neoliberal austerity (Greece, Spain, England), the Latin American student movements (Chile, Columbia, Mexico), and even to the Occupy movements in the US?
This course will explore how women have been at the forefront of articulating a radical vision of politics and de-colonisation in the Global South, through a comparative exploration of feminisms in Latina American countries, such as Bolovia, and India. We will explore how far from being an 'imported' copy of Western feminism, or an 'alien' concept, feminism in these countries draws upon vibrant local legacies of women resisting colonialism, a flawed model of development and hetero-patriarchal oppression. Margaret Cerullo will draw upon her long association with and research into Latin America to lead students through an exploration of how Latin America has become the "turbulent center" of new movements, ideas, and practices, new subjectivities and challenges that are effectively de-centering Europe and the US as the site of knowledge production and political innovation. Uditi Sen will draw upon her own participation in queer and feminist movements in India and her research into Indian politics and history to illuminate how Indian feminists negotiate the double burden of 'traditional' and colonial patriarchies, and articulate radical new visions of azadi or liberation. We hope to bring into dialogue, through skype or actual visits, and through student engagement, feminists and feminisms from these two regions. Students are expected to spend six to eight hours every week in preparation for classes and in producing the required assignments.