Visiting Assistant Professor of 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.
What does the term "race" mean? Is it an appropriate and/or legitimate way to talk about human diversity? What does it mean in different places? Rather than exploring these questions in the abstract, in this course we will look at a grounded history of this concept. That "place" is Latin America and the Caribbean and the historical periods we will explore include the colonial encounter, post-independence nation building, and the contemporary moment. The course is designed to first introduce students to broadly global understandings of racial ideology. It then tracks the manifestation of such ideas through a history of Latin American racial formations. We will pay particular attention to how racial ideas relate to space, class, and national identity throughout the region.
This course will take an interdisciplinary approach (historical, cultural and geopolitical) to study the complex and contested reality of Cuba. Why does this small island nation fascinate, annoy, inspire and disturb so much of the rest of the world? Displacing images of Cuba circulating in US popular and official culture, we examine the constructions of race, gender, and sexuality that have uniquely defined the Cuban nation. We propose to locate Cuba as part of the Caribbean (with its history of settler colonialism, old plantation economies and new tourist economies), as part of Latin America (linked by a shared history of Spanish conquest, problematic republicanism and revolutionary movements), and as part of the African diaspora (with its long history of slavery, liberatory struggles and new articulations of Black identities). Finally, we will interrogate how Cuba should be understood in relation to the U.S., and to its own transnational 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 substantial research paper. This course is required for students wishing to study in the Hampshire in Havana semester program (open to all Five College students). The course will provide support for framing independent projects and applications for the Cuba Semester. Though conducted in English, some readings will be available in Spanish and English. Concurrent enrollment in a Spanish language class is recommended. .
This is an experimental, co-taught, advanced seminar in which we will alternate our focus to think about the differences and commonalities of two regions: Latin America and the Middle East. Our primary analytical tool will be a fine collection of ethnographies that discuss a range of issues in contemporary life in the two regions: from gendered neighborhood politics to indigenous mobilization; from consent to protest; from urban renewal to urban crime; from the Arab-Israeli conflict to the aftermath of the proxy conflicts of the Cold War. We will begin with an introductory exploration of the ethnographic genre itself to explore its basic assumptions, methods, and politics asking: What is ethnography? How do we read ethnographic texts? How are they constructed? We will then turn to on-the-ground cases emerging from both regions to interrogate notions of statehood and modernity, race and gender inequalities, religion and secularism, social movements and violence. Ultimately, we hope that the grounded exploration of these cases, which will be done with great attention to their histories and interconnections with elsewhere, will aid us in the challenge of figuring out what kind of change is taking place in the two regions today. In other words, understanding the present to better craft futures.
This course offers students the chance to explore the diversity of grassroots politics, social movements, and alternative democratic practices within contemporary Latin America. The course will first introduce students to various theoretical frameworks to understand social movements. It will then focus on a rigorous comparative analysis of contemporary Latin American social movements oriented towards different political issues. We will examine a broad array of social movements across the region and pay particular attention to how their seemingly different pursuits for social justice are inter-related.
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 two recurring problems/themes throughout Latin American history: modernity and nation-making. Although the course will allow students with no previous knowledge of Latin America history or politics to become acquainted with the region, prior work in/about Latin America is recommended. Lastly, although the course seeks to explore the particularities of the Latin American context, we will engage in both the practice and analysis of the ethnographic craft.
In this course we will shift the way we see Latin America in two important ways. First, we will approach it as the heart of the New World African Diaspora since colonial times. For this reason, we will study black presence in Latin America by examining the historical and contemporary contributions of afrodescendants to the region's nations, cultures and societies. However, we will not limit our analysis of the African Diaspora to the national borders of Latin American nation-states. Instead, the course will highlight the ties that bind "Afro-Latin America" to the rest of the diaspora, and in particular to the United States. As such, the course will explore the specificities of blackness in Latin America while emphasizing the shared historical experiences of the African Diaspora. Our main object of analysis will be the struggles over the meanings of blackness in Latin America: as a subordinate category produced by structures of inequality and as a foundation for liberatory projects for social justice.