Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Anti-Imperialist and Decolonial Thought in Latin America: From Revolution and Development to New Social Movements and the 21st Century Left

ENGL 590.401
Thursday 6:00-9:00pm

This course addresses 20th and 21st century critiques of modern imperialism in Latin America.  We will analyze and compare radical responses to conditions of imperial, colonial, and neocolonial forms of domination and locate these along a continuum that includes anti-colonial, revolutionary, developmentalist, and decolonial thought, and new social movement knowledge. The course begins with foundational studies of the economic geographies of imperialism and uneven capitalist development as represented in dependency theory and world systems theory. A unit on developmentalist responses to imperialism and unequal development will consider developmentalism beyond its purely economic consequences to also address developmentalism as ideology. This will include examination of neoliberal development strategies, the biopolitics of poverty that have been consolidated with them, and their relationship to gendered forms of violence and exploitation. A unit on revolutionary thought considers revolutionary nationalist and anti-imperialist ideology, the experience of armed struggle for the formation of revolutionary consciousness, as well as racial and gender ideologies embedded within revolutionary discourses. Units on decolonial thought and Latin American Subaltern Studies will focus on thinkers who foreground questions of epistemology and representation, offering important theoretical tools for analyzing recent subaltern-popular movements. We will consider the mutual imbrication of patriarchy and and coloniality through consideration of decolonial feminist and communitarian feminist thought. Finally, we will examine recent scholarship on Latin American social movements that theorizes the forms of power these movements enact and the ways they contest (and sometimes collude with) neoliberal forms of governmentality.  We will also consider the “new left” in Latin America, tensions between progressive state regimes and the subaltern popular movements that brought them to power, and critiques of 21st century neocolonialism. Knowledge of Spanish language not required.

Course readings may include work by the following authors: Samir Amin, Armando Bartra, Guillermo Bonfil Batalla, John Beverley, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Domitila Barrios de Chúngara, Partha Chatterjee, Fernando Coronil, Arturo Escobar, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Enzo Faletto, Enrique Dussel, Bolívar Echeverria, Jean Franco, Alvaro García Linera, María Lugones, Antonio Gramsci, Eduardo Gudynas, Roberto Fernández Retamar, James Ferguson, María Lugones, André Gunder Frank, Ernesto Che Guevara, Ernesto Laclau, Rosa Luxemburg, V.I. Lenin, Julieta Paredes, Pablo Mamani-Ramirez, José Carlos Mariátegui, Walter Mignolo,  Francisco de Oliveira, , Mary Louise Pratt, Anibal Quijano, José Rabasa, Ileana Rodríguez, Emir Sader, María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo, Roberto Schwarz, Rita Segato, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, Martistella Svampa, Sylvia Wynter, Raúl Zibechi.

fulfills requirements