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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Christen Smith

Assistant Professor Ph.D., 2007, Cultural and Social Anthropology, Stanford University

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, and Center for African and African American Studies
Christen Smith

Contact

Interests

Performance, racial formation, the black body, violence, black women and transnational struggle, black liberation and resistance in the Americas (particularly Brazil and the United States)

LAS 324L • Black Women/Transnatl State

39605 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm GEA 127
(also listed as AFR 372F, ANT 324L, WGS 340 )
show description

This course surveys black women’s experiences living with and confronting state

oppression around the world. From the United States to Brazil, black women experience

similar patterns of political, social and economic inequality. Transnationally, racism,

sexism, patriarchy, homophobia, and classism affect the quality of life of black women,

particularly within nation-states with legacies of slavery and colonialism. This course

takes an historical, social and theoretical look at the roots of this inequality and how

black women have chosen to respond to it locally and globally. How have interlocking

forms of oppression affected black women’s citizenship within the modern nation-state?

How have black women, in turn, sought to organize themselves in response to this

oppression?

Objectives 1) To think critically about the multiple forms of oppression that affect black women’s

lives globally; 2) To consider how black women’s political identity has been defined by

experiences with oppression transnationally; 3) To define and articulate black women’s agency in

response to oppression

Key Topics: Racism, sexism, patriarchy, homophobia, classism, transnationalism,

representation, agency, black feminism.

LAS 324L • Polit Of Race/Violnc Brazil

40562 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 930am-1100am SAC 4.174
(also listed as AFR 374E, ANT 324L )
show description

This course explores race/gender/sexuality, violence and everyday life in Brazil. Brazil’s history has been

characterized by moments of violent encounter, from colonization, to slavery, to clashes between police

and residents across its major cities today. These violent encounters have been, in many ways, racialized,

gendered and sexualized. This class investigates the race/gender/sexuality aspects of multiple forms of

violence in Brazil, and how this violence creates, defines and maintains social hierarchies in the nation.

Throughout the course we will think through the question “what is violence?” as we discuss the concept’s

physical, structural and symbolic forms. The course pays particular attention to the politics of blackness

and the unique relationship black Brazilians have to the nation-state. We will also discuss the politics of

writing and theorizing violence when doing social analysis, and the precarious balance between defining

and addressing issues of violence, and glorifying it.

Objectives: 1) To think critically about violence not only as a physical encounter, but a multilayered

phenomenon that manifests itself in different ways; 2) To consider how race functions in Brazil and what

violence has to do with it; 3) To better understand the politics of discussing and writing about race and

violence particularly within the field of anthropology.

Key topics: Colonization, slavery, blackness, whiteness, racial democracy, urban conflict, police

repression, death, gender, sexuality, urban cleansing/gentrification, land conflict, imprisonment, symbolic

violence, structural violence, physical violence, genocide.

LAS 391 • Race, Violence, And Brazil

40794 • Fall 2014
Meets T 100pm-400pm SAC 4.120
(also listed as AFR 381, ANT 391 )
show description

This course explores race/gender/sexuality, violence and everyday life in Brazil. Brazil’s history has been characterized by moments of violent encounter, from colonization, to slavery, to clashes between police and residents across Brazil’s major cities today

LAS 324L • Black Women/Struggle/Transnatl

40742 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm SAC 5.102
(also listed as AFR 372F, ANT 324L, WGS 340 )
show description

This course surveys Black women's experiences livingwith and confrontingstate oppressionaround the world. From the United Statesto Brazil Black women experience similar patterns of political, social, and economic inequality. Transnationally, racism, sexism, patriarchy, homophobia,andclassism affect the quality of life of Black women, particularly within nation-states with legacies of slavery and colonialism. This course takesan historical, social, andtheoretical look at the roots of this inequality and how Black women have chosen to respond to it locally and globally. Howhave interlocking forms of oppression affect Black women's citizenship within the modern nation-state? How have Black women, in turn, sought to organize themselves inresponse to this oppression? Key themes include racism, sexism, patriarchy, homophobia, classism, migration, and Black feminism.

 

Assignments

Class Attendance – 15%

Engaged participation in class discussion – 15%

Midterm – 25%

Final – 25%

Research Report Paper – 10%

Research Report Team Presentation – 10%

 

 

 Sample texts

Davis, A. Y. 1983. Women, race & class, 1st Vintage Books edition. New York: Vintage Books.

James, J. 1999. Shadowboxing : representations of black feminist politics, 1st edition. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Oparah, J. C. 2005. Global lockdown : race, gender, and the prison-industrial complex. New York: Routledge.

 

 

LAS 324L • Polit Of Race/Violnc Brazil

40754 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am SAC 4.118
(also listed as AFR 374E, ANT 324L )
show description

This course explores race/gender/sexuality, violence and everyday life in Brazil. Brazil’s history has been characterized by moments of violent encounter, from colonization, to slavery, to clashes between police and residents across Brazil’s major cities today. These violent encounters have been, in many ways, racialized, gendered and sexualized. This class investigates the race/gender/sexuality aspects of multiple forms of violence in Brazil, and how this violence creates, defines and maintains social hierarchies in the nation. Throughout the course we will think through the question “what is violence?” as we discuss the concept’s physical, structural and symbolic forms. The course pays particular attention to the politics of blackness and the unique relationship black Brazilians have to the nation-state. We will also discuss the politics of writing and theorizing violence when doing social analysis, and the precarious balance between defining and addressing issues of violence, and glorifying it.

Core Texts

~ Nancy ScheperHughes, Death Without Weeping (selected Chapters)

~Theresa Caldeira, City ot VVaiIs (selected chapters)

~ Donna Goldstein, Laughter out of Piace (selected chapters) ~Robin Sheriff, Dreaming Equality (selected Chapters)

~Caldweli, Kia, Negras in Brazil: Reenvisioning Black Women, Citizenship, And the Politics of identity (selected chapters) ~De Jesus, Carolina Marie et al., The Unedited Diaries oi Caroline Maria de Jesus (seiected Chapters)

Supplemental Texts

~Michael Hanonard ed., Racial Politics in Contemporary Brazil (selected Chapters)

~Gonzalez, Leila` “The Unified Black Movement: A New State in Black Political Mobilization” in Race, Class and Power in Brazil, ed. Pierre-Michel Fontaine

~Policing Rio de Janeiro: Repression and Resistance in a lQtn-oentury City. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. (selected chapters)

~Chevigny, Paul Edge of the Knife: Police Violence in the Americas (selected chapters)

~Michael Mitchell and Charles VVood, “lronies ot Citizenship: Skin Color, Police Brutality, and the Challenge to Democracy in Brazil.” Social Forces

~Arendt, Hannah “Reflections on Violence"

Booth, Wayne C, et al. The Craft of Research (guide to writing research papers selected Chapters).

LAS F324L • Polit Of Race/Violnc Brazil

85795 • Summer 2013
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am SAC 5.118
(also listed as AFR F374E, ANT F324L )
show description

This course explores race/gender/sexuality, violence and everyday life in Brazil. Brazil’s history has been characterized by moments of violent encounter, from colonization, to slavery, to clashes between police and residents across Brazil’s major cities today. These violent encounters have been, in many ways, racialized, gendered and sexualized. This class investigates the race/gender/sexuality aspects of multiple forms of violence in Brazil, and how this violence creates, defines and maintains social hierarchies in the nation. Throughout the course we will think through the question “what is violence?” as we discuss the concept’s physical, structural and symbolic forms. The course pays particular attention to the politics of blackness and the unique relationship black Brazilians have to the nation-state. We will also discuss the politics of writing and theorizing violence when doing social analysis, and the precarious balance between defining and addressing issues of violence, and glorifying it.

LAS 324L • Polit Of Race/Violnc Brazil

40213 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm SAC 4.118
(also listed as AFR 374E, ANT 324L )
show description

This course explores race/gender/sexuality, violence and everyday life in Brazil. Brazil’s history has been characterized by moments of violent encounter, from colonization, to slavery, to clashes between police and residents across Brazil’s major cities today. These violent encounters have been, in many ways, racialized, gendered and sexualized. This class investigates the race/gender/sexuality aspects of multiple forms of violence in Brazil, and how this violence creates, defines and maintains social hierarchies in the nation. Throughout the course we will think through the question “what is violence?” as we discuss the concept’s physical, structural and symbolic forms. The course pays particular attention to the politics of blackness and the unique relationship black Brazilians have to the nation-state. We will also discuss the politics of writing and theorizing violence when doing social analysis, and the precarious balance between defining and addressing issues of violence, and glorifying it.

Objectives: 1) To think critically about violence not only as a physical encounter, but a multilayered phenomenon that manifests itself in different ways; 2) To consider how race functions in Brazil and what violence has to do with it; 3) To better understand the politics of discussing and writing about race and violence particularly within the field of anthropology.

Key topics: Colonization, slavery, blackness, whiteness, racial democracy, urban conflict, police repression, death, gender, sexuality, urban cleansing/gentrification, land conflict, imprisonment, symbolic violence, structural violence, physical violence, genocide.

LAS 391 • Performnc/Race/Violence/Body

40484 • Fall 2012
Meets TH 300pm-600pm SAC 4.116
(also listed as AFR 387D, ANT 391 )
show description

Publications

Journal Articles (*indicates peer reviewed)

*2014 “Putting Prostitutes in Their Place: Black Women, Social Violence and the Brazilian Case of Sirlei Carvalho”, Latin American Perspectives, Advanced online publication 2013 

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*2013 “Strange Fruit: Necropolitics and the Transnational Resonance of Torture and Death”, Souls 15(3)

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*2008   “Scenarios of Racial Contact: Police Violence and the Politics of Performance and Racial Formation in Brazil,” E-Misférica (5.2) http://www.hemisphericinstitute.org/hemi/es/e-misferica-52/smith

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Book Chapters

In press “Between Soapboxes and Shadows: Activism, Theory and the Politics of Life and  Death in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil”, Bridging Scholarship and Activism edited by Bernd Reiter and Ulrich Oslender, Michigan State University Press

2009   “Strategies of Confinement: Environmental Racism, Police Terror and the Built Environment in Brazil.” in Environmental Justice in the New Millennium: Global Perspectives on Race, Ethnicity and Human Rights, Filomina Steady, ed. Pp. 93-114. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan

Reviews

2013  Review of Living with Lynching: African-American Lynching Plays, Performance and Citizenship 1890-1930, Koritha Mitchell. University of Illinois Press. Urbana, Theatre Journal

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Online Articles

"For Claudia Silva Ferreira: Death and the Collective Black Female Body", The Feminist Wire, May 5, 2014

"Para Claudia Silva Ferreira: Morte e o Corpo Coletivo da Mulher Negra", Reaja ou sera Mort@! Blogspot, June 25, 2014

"An Open Love Note to My Son: On Mourning, Love, and Black Motherhood", The Feminist Wire, July 14 2013

"Uma carta de amor aberto para meu filho: Sobre luto, amor e maternidade negra", Geledes, July 23, 2013

 

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