BAEcon Development Studies

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Black Identities and Cultures in Latin America

Unit code SOAN30662
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Anthropology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

Many Latin American countries have substantial black populations which have been both central to and marginalised by nationalist ideologies. In some countries, 'blackness' has been officially recognised over the last 30 years in multiculturalist legislation. The module pays some attention to colonial and nineteenth-century background, before a main focus on twentieth-century social relations involving 'race' and on Afro-Latin American cultures (including some emphasis on Afro-Latin American music) and black identities. The place of black identities in national ideologies and in politics and social movements is examined and transnational and diasporic dimensions to blackness and black culture are included, as is an exploration of the relationship between race, gender and sex.

Aims

The broad aims of the module are to enable a sophisticated grasp of the emergence and current significance of black identities and cultural formations in Latin American nations.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will:

- Have an overview of theoretical approaches to blackness and black people in Latin America.

- Be able to convey a sense of the broad historical patterns of development of black identities and cultures in Latin America, from the colonial period to the present day, covering topics such as nation-building, race mixture, racism, black resistance, official multiculturalism, black expressive culture and the intersections between race, gender and sex.

- Be able to put these patterns in the context of (a) the role of indigenous peoples in Latin America; (b) ongoing relationships with Africa, material and ideological; (c) the role of the USA as a point of comparison in debates about race in Latin America.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures
Tutorials

Knowledge and understanding

Have a systematic understanding and coherent and detailed knowledge of different theoretical approaches to blackness and black people in Latin America; in relation to the broad historical patterns of development of black identities and cultures in Latin America, from the colonial period to the present day; and in relation to specific topics such as nation-building, race mixture, racism, black resistance, official multiculturalism, black expressive culture and the intersections between race, gender and sex;

· Apply this knowledge to critically evaluate arguments about a) processes of comparison between indigenous and Afrodescendant peoples in Latin America; b) the role of ongoing connections with Africa, material and ideological; c) the role of USA as a point of comparison in debates about race in Latin America.

Intellectual skills

Bring historical and ethnographic data together in an integrated analysis; synthesize multiple and diverse sources of data; critically assess what counts as evidence for an argument; appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge.

Practical skills

Distil arguments and data into clear written form.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Synthesize multiple and diverse sources of data; write clear analytical reports; communicate clearly in group contexts; work independently in ways suited to undertaking further training; better understand racial and cultural diversity.

Employability skills

Other
Students will enhance their skills in synthesizing multiple and diverse sources of data; writing clear analytical reports; communicating clearly in group contexts; working independently; and better understanding racial, ethnic and cultural diversity

Assessment methods

1 x 2500-word midterm essay (30%); 1 x final 2-hour SEEN exam (70%)

Feedback methods

Half-way through the course, students must submit a 2500-word essay for summative assessment, on which they will receive written feedback. Throughout the course, students will receive informal verbal feedback in the tutorials. Students are also invited to make office hour appointments with the lecturer to receive feedback and discuss their progress. Students may also request feedback on written examinations.

Recommended reading

Andrews, George Reid. 2004. Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

de la Fuente, Alejandro, and George Reid Andrews, eds. 2018. Afro-Latin American studies: an introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dixon, Kwame, and John Burdick (eds). 2012. Comparative perspectives on Afro-Latin America. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.

Hooker, Juliet, ed. 2020. Black and indigenous resistance in the Americas: from multiculturalism to racist backlash. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

Rahier, Jean, ed. 2012. Black social movements in Latin America: from monocultural mestizaje to multiculturalism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wade, Peter. 2009. Race and Sex in Latin America. London: Pluto Press

Wade, Peter. 2010. Race and Ethnicity in Latin America. 2nd edition. London: Pluto Press.

Whitten, Norman and Arlene Torres, eds. 1998. Blackness in Latin America and the Caribbean. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stephen Wade Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Information
Length of course: 12 weeks

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