Assistant 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.
This course explores central topics in contemporary Latin American society and politics by reading recent ethnographic works. The course does a very brief historical introduction to the region and then moves on to analyze current issues by focusing on how historical landscapes of difference and inequality are challenged and reproduced. Our entry point will be the neoliberal turn, which began in the 1970s Chile and continued throughout most of Latin America in the 80s and 90s. In order to get a firm grasp on the term, we will devote significant time to a broad theoretical discussion of "neoliberalism." We will then turn to situated ethnographies that provide a more in-depth portrait of how neoliberalism has transformed various facets of rural and urban life in Latin America including agrarian politics, the state, violence, democratization, immigration, as well as the impact of all of these on racial, gender, and class (in)equality. Towards the end of the course, we will consider some of the ways in which social actors in the region have begun to resist or circumvent neoliberal hegemony and, in the process, constructed what some are calling post-neoliberalism or even anti-neoliberalism. Unlike its predecessor, post-neoliberalism is not a cohesive political project but rather a fragmented and uneven set of responses and propositions. Hence, this final part of the course will necessarily be more exploratory. Part of our challenge will be figuring out what kind of change is taking place in Latin America today.
This course introduces students to cultural anthropology, a discipline that, in broad terms, studies how we make and understand human difference. While this may seem like an academic subject, the course will show anthropology's relevance to understanding some of the most pressing issues of our current historical moment, such as inequality, race, religion, and science. Students will be introduced to classic texts in cultural anthropology but we will quickly move to contemporary anthropological inquiry, focusing on both theoretical and methodological questions that anthropologists explore today. As we move through the course, students will be introduced to elementary concepts of cultural analysis, such as the anthropological method (fieldwork) and genre (ethnography), and will become familiarized with particular ethnographic studies that are set in various times and places. In addition, we will cast a critical eye on the discipline, analyzing its limitations and political consequences both historically and today.
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.
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 Cuban literature, Zuleica Romay on Color 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 tries to build the students' ability of language use, especially at a colloquial level, as well as on topics of daily conversation and current interest such as social life, family, culture, art, race, gender etc. The combination of Spanish classes and daily exchange at the students' home stays helps to provide 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 some comfort speaking the Spanish language. Classes will focus on analyzing written articles, increasing vocabulary and having conversation and discussion in Spanish on various topics. Speakers will be invited to talk about their work. Documentary films and videos will be shown. Students will occasionally visit museums, cultural sites and performances and conduct small investigations on a cultural and social topic.