Topics in the Study of Class, Race, and Empire in the Americas
This course takes an interdisciplinary and transnational approach to the study of social relations and cultural production in the Americas, focusing on the period from the late 1960s to the present. Topics and debates it will address include those pertaining to extractivism and primitive accumulation; (neo)colonialism, imperialism, and transnational class relations; migration, its causes, and the criminalization of migrants; state violence and militarized accumulation; relations between social movements and progressive governments; and the confluence of race and class within systems of social stratification. Significant attention will be given to globalization and neoliberal restructuring, as well as to forms of resistance, self-defense, and popular power enacted by the continent’s subordinated classes in the context of neoliberal capitalism. In this vein, we will examine specific social movements and popular uprisings, their influence on cultural production, as well as social movement theory. As this course examines anti-systemic movements and their related cultural productions, as well as histories of counter-insurgency, it will address the ideological struggle played out in representations of these histories – be these in literature, cinema, visual art, historical writing, or memorials. While this course will carefully attend to the role of nation-states in the historical processes we examine, it will seek to understand how contemporary class struggles take place at transnational scales, and how the contours of these struggles can be illuminated, specifically, by a hemispheric approach to social and cultural analysis. English translations will be provided for all Spanish and Portuguese texts, so no knowledge of these languages is required for the course.