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

Spring 2007

ANT 391 • Decolonizing Latin America

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
30160 W
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
SRH 1.313

Course Description

The seminar will examine the emergence in contemporary Latin America of a novel political discourse: what Walter Mignolo and others, in different contexts, refer to as "Border Thinking." In the context of the first government in Bolivia ever to be controlled by indigenous people and, their challenge in the creation of a new National Constitution, the Indian majority in the Constituent Assembly is proposing a veritable re-foundation of the state. Our main objective will be to develop a framework for understanding the political and historical impact of such phenomenon. The first part of the seminar will be devoted to the understanding of the role played by organic intellectuals, public intellectuals, and academics in the structuring of counter-hegemonic discourses, together with the application of Amerindian cosmologies to the development of a new legal vocabulary and political practice. The next step will be to examine the contemporary debate around the new constitutional and legal language of diversity and multiculturalism, shaping the indigenous leadership and social movement that are participating in such transformation.

The seminar will analyze and theorize the interconnections among indigenous social mobilizations and political protest, the national states and international legislation in the process of socially constructed identities, as well as the so-called sanctioned identities as viewed by such authors as M. Focault, E. Said, A. Gramsci, T.Negri and M. Hardt, J.Collier, B. Maurer, A. Brysk, Suarez -Navaz, and D. Nelson. To conclude the seminar, we will read selected works on various indigenous struggles in Latin America, from the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas to the politically powerful mobilizations of the South American Andes, and analyze their contents through the lens of the previous theoretical reading.


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