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Anthony Di Fiore, Chair SAC 4.102, Mailcode C3200 78712 • 512-471-4206

Spring 2006

ANT 324L • Culture & Power in Contemporary Latin America

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
29087 MWF
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
EPS 2.136

Course Description

This course provides an overview of key issues in the anthropology of Latin America, with an emphasis on the relationship between processes of identity formation and the exercise of power.  The first third of the course is historical, focusing on the arrival of Europeans and the establishment of colonial regimes; the liberal transformations of the 19th century; and the post-1950 era of revolutionary movements.  The rest of the course will be devoted to contemporary ethnography.  A guiding metaphor throughout the course will be that of mestizaje (ideologies of race mixture), whose multiple meanings recapitulate the course's principal themes, and dramatize their complexity.  The mestizaje metaphor brings into focus what might be  called the intimacy of power:  how broader political forces and patterns (structural inequalities, class struggle, race making and racism, social movements, revolutions, political violence) unfold in and through the day to day, up-close relations people have with one another.  The "culture and power" approach obliges us to address both these levels of the political simultaneously, and each of the texts in this course are concerned in some way with this articulation:  between the macro-political and intimate power relations across the axes of race, gender, and class inequality.


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