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  • HISTORY 340G The Minority Experience in Latin America

    Dr. Jeff H. Lesser Telephone: 439-2229 Winthrop 110 Class Meetings: Tuesday and Thursday, 10:05 - 11:20 Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday, 2:30 - 4:00 or by appointment

    Latin America, contrary to popular belief, has a diverse racial and ethnic population. Although biological and cultural mixing has created seemingly new cultures, many continue to feel as if they were "others," and somehow not part of dominant Latin American society.

    The Minority Experience in Latin America will analyze the complex societies of Latin America by examining the African, Asian and Jewish experiences in the region. By concentrating on four distinctly different countries, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Argentina, students will study the historical role of these groups on the development of Latin America. Furthermore, the complex process of accommodation, integration and acculturation will be examined from a historical perspective.

    The course will begin with an overview of key concepts such as minority, ethnicity, and race from a Latin American perspective. We will also discuss the concept of "ethnic history" and how it differs from other types of historical analysis. We will then proceed to examine each of the three different groups within a national perspective so that we may closely analyze how ethnic and racial groups affect and relate to national interests and historical change.

    Although this is not an introductory seminar, no prior knowledge of Latin America, or its languages, is assumed. Students who are able to speak or read Portuguese, Spanish, or any other Latin American language should inform me immediately. Race, culture, ethnicity and religion will be examined from theoretical, economic, social, political and policy perspectives. We will use different types of documents in order to examine these topics including monographs, films, videos, oral histories and photographs.

    Since interaction is crucial to the learning process, and since this is a seminar, classes will be generally student-led. Seminar participation will be worth 20% of the final grade. Students will be expected to participate in all discussions and keep up with the weekly reading assignments, which will average about 200 pages per week. Two five page analytical papers will be due and the average of these papers will be worth 40 per cent of the final grade. A final research paper will be worth 40%.

    Required Readings: All available at the Connecticut College Bookstore. Readings packet available from Dr. Lesser.

    1. Richard Graham, ed. The Idea of Race in Latin America,1870-1940 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990) [RG]
    2. Moacyr Scliar, The Centaur in the Garden
    3. Nicolas Guillen, APatria o Muerte!: The Great Zoo and other poems. [NG]
    4. Readings Packet [RP]
    5. Anani Dzidzienyo and Lourdes Casal, The Position of Blacks in Brazilian and Cuban Society.


    JAN 21 Introduction

            23      What is Race, What is Ethnicity?                                
                    READ: Pierre L. van den Berghe, "Introduction" from Race        
                    and Racism.     [RP]                                            
            28      What is a Minority?                                             
                    READ: Rex, John. "Race and Ethnicity in Sociological            
                    Theory"; from Race and Ethnicity.  [RP]                         
                    READ:  Yinger, J. Milton.  "Intersecting Strands in the         
                    theorisation of race                                            
                    and ethnic relations." [RP]                                     
            30      Historical Theories of Race and Ethnicity I                     
                    READ: Stone, John.  Race relations without races?"  and         
                    "Minority Groups  and Power." from Racial Conflict in           
                    Contemporary Society.  [RP]                                     
      FEB   4       Historical Theories of Race and Ethnicity II                    
                    READ:  Van den Berghe, Pierre L. "Ethnicity and Other Bases of  
                    Sociality"  and "The Dynamics of Ethnicity."  from              
                    The Ethnic Phenomenon. [RP]                                     
                    READ:  Ianni, Octavio.  "Race and Class in Latin                
                    America."  from Readings                                        
                    in Race and Ethnic Relations.  Richmond, Anthony H.  ed.        
                    Oxford, Pergamon, 1972. [RP]                                    
            6       Race and Ethnicity in Latin American and Caribbean              
                    READ: Jeff Lesser, "Are African-Americans African or            
                    American? Brazilian Immigration Policy in the                   
                    1920's."  Review of Latin American Studies [RP]                 
                    READ: Wally Look Lai, "Chinese Indentured Labor:                
                    Migrations to the British West Indies in the 19th Century.      
                    Amerasia 15:2 (1989), 117-138.                                  


      FEB.  11      A Brazilian Perspective on Race                                 
                    READ:  Gilberto Freyre "Brazilian Melting Pot" [RP]             
                    READ: Esther R. Largman and Robert M. Levine, "Jews in          
                    the Tropics," The Americas [RP]                                 
                    VIDEO: Robert Levine, The Faces of Slavery                      
            13      The Idea of Race in Brazil                                      
                    READ: Skidmore, Thomas E. "Racial Ideas and Social Policy       
                    in Brazil, 1870-1940" [RG]                                      
                    READ: Van den Berghe, Pierre L. "Brazil" Ch. 3 in Race          
                    and Racism: A Comparative Perspective.[RP]                      
                    BEGIN READING: Moacyr Scliar, The Centaur in the Garden         
             18     African Experience in Brazil                                    
                    READ: Mahomman G. Baquaqua, "Recollections of a Slave's         
                    Life" [RP]                                                      
                    READ: Author unknown "Who shall be a slave and why?" [RP]       
                    READ:Saunders, John.  "Class, Color, and Prejudice:  A          
                    Brazilian Counterpoint."  from Racial Tensions and              
                    National Identity.  [RP]                                        
             20     Minority Experience in Brazil                                   
                    READ: Jeff Lesser, "Continuity and Change in an Immigrant       
                    Community: The Jews of Sao Paulo, " Luso-Brazilian Review [RP]  
                    READ: Anani Didizienyo, "The Position of Blacks in              
                    Brazilian Society." From A. Dzidzienyo and L. Casal, The        
                    Position of Blacks in Brazilian and Cuban Society, pp. 2-10.    
            25      Library Research in History                                     
                    Have Moacyr Scliar, The Centaur in the Garden finished.         
            27      The racial definition of ethnicity II                           
                    READ: Jeff Lesser, Exodus to the Land of the Future:            
                    Brazil and the Jewish Question, 1900-1945, chapter 7 "The Pope, 
                    The Dictator and The Refugees who never came."                  


      MAR   3       Who is the Other in a bi-racial society? - Old Views            
                    READ:  Van den Berghe, Pierre L.  Mexico.  Ch. 2 in Race        
                    and Racism [RP]                                                 
            5       Who is the Other in a bi-racial society? - New Views            
                    READ: Knight, Alan. "Racism, Revolution and Indigenismo:        
                    Mexico,1910-1940 [RG]                                           


       MAR  24      Coolies or Chinese???                                           
                    READ: Evelyn Hu DeHart, "Coolies, Shopkeepers, Pioneers:        
                    The Chinese of Mexico and Peru."  Amerasia 15:2 (1989), 91-116. 


      MAR   26      The Colonial Experience                                         
                    READ:  Stanley M. Hordes, "The Inquisition as Economic          
                    and Political Agent: The Campaign of the Mexican Holy           
                    Office Against the Crypto-Jews                                  
                    in the Mid-Seventeenth Century." The Americas.  [RP]            
            30      FILM: El Otro Francisco                                         
                    Begin reading Nicolas Guillen, APatria o Muerte!                
      APR   2       FILM: El Otro Francisco                                         
            7       Revolution and Minority Society I                               
                    READ: Lourdes Casal, Race Relations in Contemporary             
                    Cuba.  From A. Dzidzienyo and L. Casal, The Position of Blacks  
                    in Brazilian and Cuban Society, pp. 11-25.                      
            9       Revolution and Minority Society II                              
                    VIDEO: Hotel Cuba                                               
                    Finish reading Nicolas Guillen, Patria o Muerte!                


            14      Gobernar es poplar, to govern is to populate                    
                    READ: Aline Helg, "Race in Argentina and Cuba, 1880-1930" (RG)  
            16      A European Other: Jewish Argentina                              
                    READ:  Victor A. Mirelman, " Attitudes Towards Jews in          
                    Argentina" and "The Semana Tragica of 1919 and the Jews of      
                    Argentina."  Jewish Social Studies.  [RP]                       
                    VIDEO: Mark Freeman, The Yidishe Gauchos                        
            21      Afro-Argentina                                                  
                    READ: G. Reid Andrews. "Race versus class association:          
                    the Afro-Argentines of Buenos Aires, 1850-1900" Journal of      
                    Latin American Studies [RP]                                     
      April         23      Class Presentations                                     
            28      Class Presentations                                             
            30      Class Presentations                                             
      MAY   2       Class Presentations                                             
            7       Class Presentations                                             

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    Unit: H-Net program at UIC History Department Email: H-Net@uicvm.uic.edu
    Posted: 17 Apr 1995

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