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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Latin American Anthropology (PGSP11419)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe objective of the course is to provide postgraduate students with an advanced understanding of major contemporary debates and key works in the social anthropology of Latin America. The course will have a particular focus on the different ways in which life in the region has been "mediated" through literature, food, film, music, and other kinds of cultural productions. It will also offer a geographically focused examination of race, violence, religion, urbanization, and sexuality.
Course description a. Academic Description

Anthropologists working in Latin America have been at the forefront of the discipline's theorization of racial and economic inequality, the culture of politics, and urban life. Latin America has also been a site for major studies of social change, including civil war, migration, and economic globalization.

This course will provide students with an introduction to the major themes and debates in the anthropology of Latin America. Through a close reading and discussion of ethnographic works, films, music, and other media, students in the course will become familiar with the breadth of languages, religions, political formations, and cultural systems of the area. Particular attention will be paid to recent interests among anthropologists in urban life, violence, religious syncretism, environmental politics, sexuality, and social movements.

b. Outline Content

Media, Politics, and Latin American Cultures. Offers insight into the "mediated life" of contemporary Latin America.

Indigenous Peoples Today Highlights the variety of linguistic and socal groups across Latin America, with a focus on contemporary questions.

Sexuality and Identity Politics. A lecture on the varieties of expressions of sexualities across the region.

Social Movements. Introduces some theoretical tools for exploring the "cultures of politics."

Religious Syncretism and religious movements. Examines how people in Latin America have actively combined elements of indigenous American, African, and European spiritual traditions, with attention to anthropological theories of religion.

Race and Ethnicity. Considers the social and cultural construction of racial categories in Latin America.

War and Revolution. Compares the historical and cultural dynamics of specific conflicts across the region.

The City. Explores how anthropologists have engaged the rapid urbanization of Latin America.
Environment and Sustainability. Examines how indigenous people, non-governmental activists, and political movements engage the environment.

Latin America and the United States. Discusses how flows of people and ideas across the US-Mexico border have changed over time.

c. Student Learning Experience

The course will consist of ten two-hour lectures and weekly 50-minute tutorial sessions. At mid-semester, the lecturer(s) will also provide guidance and feedback on the first assessed component, a 1000-word book review essay (see below). The students will thus have approximately three hours of formal course meetings per week.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a critical understanding of the major theories, empirical questions, and debates in contemporary Latin American anthropology.
  2. Possess an extensive, detailed knowledge of one particular cultural group and/or area of theoretical inquiry in Latin American anthropology.
  3. Critically analyse and evaluate ethnographic, popular press, film, and media from Latin America.
  4. Develop advanced skills in analytical writing and anthropological analysis.
Reading List
--High, C. Lost and Found: Contesting isolation and cultivating contact in Amazonian Ecuador.Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3(3): 195-221.
--selections from Kulick, D. Travesti: Sex, Gender, and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes. University of Chicago Press.
--Howe, C. Intimate Activism: The Struggle for Sexual Rights in Postrevolutionary Nicaragua. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
--Stephen, L. Women and Social Movements in Latin America: Power from Below. Austin: University of Texas Press.
--Paley, J. Marketing Democracy: Power and Social Movements in Post-Dictatorship Chile. Berkeley: University of California Press.
--Mayblin, M. Gender, Catholicism, and Morality in Brazil: Virtuous Husbands, Powerful Wives New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.
-- O'Neill, K. "The Reckless Will: Prison Chaplaincy and the Problem of Mara Salvatrucha," Public Culture 22(1):67-88.
--Wade, P. 1993. The Cultural Politics of Blackness in Colombia. American Ethnologist 22(2): 342-358.
--de la Cadena, M. Are Mesitzos Hybrids? The Conceptual Politics of Andean Identities. Journal of Latin American Studies 37(2):259-284.
--Starn, O. Missing the Revolution: Anthropologists and the War in Peru. Cultural Anthropology 6(1): 63-91.
--Manz, B. Paradise in Ashes: A Guatemalan Journey of Courage, Terror and Hope. Berkeley: University of California Press.
--Caldeira, T. 2000. City of Walls: Crime, Segregation and Citizenship in Sao Paolo. Berkeley: University of California Press.
-- Vianna, H. The Mystery of Samba: Popular Music and National Identity in Brazil. University of North Carolina Press.
--Samet, R. "The Photographer's Body: Populism, Polarization, and the Uses of Victimhood in Venezuela" American Ethnologist 40(3):525-539.
--Course, M. Why Mapuche Sing. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Vol. 15(2(: 295-313.
-- Rodgers, D., Beall, J., and Kanbur, R. Latin American urban development into the twenty-first century: Towards a renewed perspective on the city. European Journal of Development Research, 23(4). pp. 550-568.
--Sawyer, S. Crude Chronicles: Indigenous Politics, Multinational Oil, and Neoliberalism in Ecuador. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
--Carse, A. Nature as Infrastructure: Making and Managing the Panama Canal Watershed. Social Studies of Science 42(4):539-563.
--Gomberg-Munoz, R. Willing to Work: Agency and Vulnerability in an Undocumented Immigrant Network. American Anthropologist 112(2):295-307.
-- Reichman, D. The Broken Village: Coffee, Migration, and Globalization in Honduras. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Agustin Diz
Tel: (0131 6)50 3079
Course secretaryMs Emilia Czatkowska
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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