Recent Martín-Baró Prize Lectureship Courses

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Marco Torres


“Empire of Liberty”: Two centuries of U.S. intervention in the Americas   

LACS 26618

Spring 2017

The United States has accompanied all of its many foreign interventions with rhetoric of liberty and promotion of self-rule.  In this course we will examine several moments in the history of US aggression toward Latin America. We will pay close attention to the United States’ own interests and political rationale for such interventions as well as the social conditions and political perspectives of the Latin American Countries involved—countries such as Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Chile. This course is not a survey of US-Latin American relations. Instead, it will explore certain key junctures in order to gain a deeper understanding of the historically specific conceptions of freedom, empire, and nation involved in imperialist intervention and anti-imperialist resistance. 


Christopher Dunlap


Sciences as Solutions to Latin American Challenges, 1500–2000

LACS 26617

Spring 2016

Long before European contact with the Americas, indigenous peoples used science and technology to solve challenges and problems unique to their times and spaces. We will analyze scientific practice in the colonial/Atlantic World era, then proceed to more detailed case studies of how sciences and technologies were funded, disseminated, taught, and marshaled against a variety of challenges to health, society, and prosperity in the region up to the present day. We will also examine why the pursuit and application of scientific and technological knowledge has taken a decidedly different trajectory in Latin America than in highly developed North Atlantic countries. 


Eric Hirsch


Latin America after Development: Sustainability, Extractivism, and Growth’s Alternatives across a Hemisphere

LACS 26616

Spring 2016

This seminar is focused on a deceptively simple question: what happens to a place after a development intervention there comes to an end? While we might say that “development”—economic, social, personal—is never really over, this seminar is concerned with the specific idea of one community’s peacetime intervention in the progress and life of another, and on how such projects end in Latin America. In this interdisciplinary course, we move from considering the immediate impacts of development project closures to larger questions about what it means to achieve national "inclusion," a newly important policy term, in the context of the prosperity now apparent in much of the hemisphere. The first part of the course focuses on key themes that emerge as analysts assess development’s immediate impacts: extraction and resource politics; corporate social responsibility; environmentalism; indigenous and ethnic identity. In the second part, we consider some of the unconventional ways nature and ecology are being rethought at the forefront of Latin America’s radical “de-growth” and “post-development” movements, which have taken on local policy importance as climate change and concerns about long-term human habitability gain global attention. We draw on a variety of readings and media, from scholarly literature to documentaries to NGO evaluations and other primary sources.


Emilio de Antuñano Villareal


The Right to the City in Latin America

LACS 26615

Winter 2015

This course will explore one simple, yet crucial, question: Have twentieth-century Latin America cities constituted spaces of emancipation and inclusion or spaces of political and social exclusion? At the heart of this question lies the paradox of millions of people consistently and willingly migrating into cities often characterized by gross inequality, poverty, and political oppression. Dealing with these matters asks for an understanding of several historical processes—global and rural-urban migration, urbanization, and demographic growth—that have transformed Latin American societies from rural communities into urban ones. But answering the normative side of the question additionally demands an understanding of the historicity of political concepts such as citizenship, equality, democracy, and human rights, without which we cannot make a reckoning of twentieth-century Latin American cities.


Gregory Duff Morton


Social Rights and the New Social Democracies in Latin America

LACS 26514

Spring 2014

Over the past ten years, Latin Americans have revived and reinvented classic human rights questions. Left-wing governments, elected in a wave that traversed the region, have made vigorous attempts both to create new rights and to talk about rights in new ways: in the terms of “citizenship,” “participation,” and “struggle.” As a result, Latin America’s new social democracies, the unexpected sign of the millennium, were born speaking the language of rights. The new social democracies operate at a specific economic and cultural juncture. In this class, we will take the juncture as an opportunity to think through some general questions. Why do rights emerge at certain moments in history? What context makes it possible for new rights to achieve recognition? How is the current debate on rights connected to a long tradition of political practice in Latin America? Can people meaningfully possess socioeconomic rights, which do not primarily depend on a judiciary, and collective rights, which lack an individual subject? What are the limits that rights discourse imposes, and what alternatives are available for thinking about social democracy?


Adrian Anagnost

Art History

Art and Politics in Twentieth-Century Latin America

LACS 22014

Spring 2013

Art of 20th century Latin America has been understood in relation to ideologies of nation-building, revolution, and responses to US imperialism. Addressing a range of artistic styles and media from Mexico to the Southern Cone, this course broadens the idea of Latin American art and politics beyond an event-based understanding of politics, presenting a historical survey of interactions among politics, fine arts, and visual culture in 20th-century Latin America.


Meghan Morris


Human Rights and the Environment in Latin America

LACS 2013

Spring 2013

This course will explore the theoretical and political debates raised by human rights and environmental problems in Latin America, as well as the progressive development of the doctrinal and institutional linkages between human rights and the environment in the region. The course will begin with an exploration of the history and theory of human rights, the integration of environmental claims into human rights discourse, and the politics of transnational human rights and environmental advocacy. It will then move into a series of weekly themes (including land, energy, trade and investment, food, war, water and air, and climate change), around which discussion of key conceptual issues and case studies of particular human rights and environmental problems will be organized.