Section Information for Fall 2017
How did “Latin America” become “Latin America”? And what is that, anyway? This class traces the stories that shaped what today we call Latin America. We will explore the encounters that determined the course of history and demographics in the region—encounters among first peoples, as well as between these peoples, Europeans, and African and Afro-descended slaves. Our exploration will focus on the issues of identity, race, gender, sexuality, faith, and social relations generated by these encounters and by the centuries of Spanish, French, and Portuguese colonial regimes. Based on readings of primary documents from the period, students will seek to answer the following questions, among others: What kinds of societies preceded European contact in the Americas? How did these societies respond to the arrival of Europeans? Who were the Europeans who arrived in the “new” world? How did they react to what they found there, and why? What were the religious, economical, ethical, and sociological forces that shaped evolving colonial societies? How should we conceive of “the Conquest” of the Americas? What did the collision of Africans, Europeans, and first peoples in the Americas mean for the gender, racial, and class identities of the individuals and groups involved? How did the “conquered” relate to their “conquerors,” and vice-versa, over time? What led to the changes in colonial regimes and to various kinds of rebellion that emerged throughout the colonial period?
Satisfies the general education requirement in global understanding.