Co-Dean of Institutional Diversity & Inclusion, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Latin American Studies
Her teaching and research focuses on identity and rights for Afro-descendants in Latin America and social theory of race and racism, social movements, place and displacement, and human rights. She takes an engaged ethnographic approach to teaching and is particularly interested in the intersections of knowledge production and activism.
The idea of whiteness structures our societies in myriad ways that go from the aesthetic, to the economic and political, defining standards of beauty, mechanisms for the transfer of wealth, and criteria for national belonging, to name a few examples. While it is well-known that whiteness is a social construct (rather than a scientific "truth), it continues to rest on and reproduce biologized notions of human difference that resonate with historical forms of racism and perpetuate it in new forms today. As the structuring pillar of racial difference around which racial Others are defined and judged, whiteness continues to be conspicuously invisible. In this course, we will analyze the historical and contemporary construction of whiteness and its consequences in various areas of social and political life. Importantly, we will not restrict our exploration to the United States, but rather will consider whiteness (in its different iterations) as a global phenomenon with a particular focus on the Americas. (keywords: sociology, anthropology, literature, film & media studies, critical race theory)
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.