Schedule / Readings

Course Texts (ONLINE):

Kahn, Hilary E. (2006) Seeing and Being Seen
De la Fuente, Alejandro (2001) A Nation for All: Race, Inequality and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba.
Andaya, Elise (2014) Conceiving Cuba : Reproduction, Women, and the State in the Post-Soviet Era

The course is zero textbook cost. This was supported by the CUNY Open Educational Resources Initiative. The readings are integral to developing an understanding of the material and you are required to come to class with the readings done. Most of the readings will be online, all other readings are on Blackboard in the Course Documents folder. If you have any problems accessing an article, you should contact me immediately. We will be referring directly to the text during class discussions. You must have access to them in the classroom.

Reading Schedule

(The instructor retains the right to change the reading list according to the needs and tempo of the course.)

Week 1

August 27 & 29

What is anthropology? What are the foundations of anthropology?

Guest, Kenneth, Ch 1. Anthropology in a Global Age, in Essentials of Cultural Anthropology (pp. 4 -29) (password-protected)

Film: “Babakiueria” (29m) (YouTube) (In Class)

Malinowski, “51. Kula; the Circulating Exchange of Valuables in the Archipelagoes of Eastern New Guinea” (1920) Man Vol. 20 pp. 97 – 105

Talal Asad, 2002 [1991]. “AFTERWORD: From the History of Colonial Anthropology to the Anthropology of Western Hegemony.” in The Anthropology of Politics: A Reader in Ethnography, Theory, and Critique, ed by Joan Vincent, pp.133-142 (314 – 324).Oxford:Blackwell. (Hypothesis-friendly PDF link here)

We’ll be making reference to the article: Mignolo, Walter D. “THE GLOBAL SOUTH AND WORLD DIS/ORDER.” Journal of Anthropological Research, vol. 67, no. 2, 2011, pp. 165–188. (Not a required reading, Hypothesis-friendly PDF link here)

Film: “Off the Veranda” (52:54) (YouTube)

Week 2

September 3 & 5 (Sept 5: NO CLASS; Classes Follow Monday schedule)

What is culture? Can we understand other cultures we encounter?

Guest, “Chapter 2: Culture” (pp. 30 – 59, password-protected)

Horace Miner – Body Ritual Among the Nacerima

Said, Edward, Introduction, Orientalism, pp 9 – 36 (password-protected)

Film: “Cannibal Tours” (1h7m) (YouTube)

Week 3

September 10 & 12

What are the nation and the state? How is culture related to the nation-state?

Ch. 1 & 2 Seeing and Been Seen, pp. 1 – 33

Metz, Brent, Without Nation, without Community: The Growth of Maya Nationalism among Ch’orti’s of Eastern Guatemala, Journal of Anthropological Research, 1 October 1998, Vol.54(3), pp.325-350

Week 4

September 17 & 19

How is colonialism related to the nation-state?

Ch. 3 Seeing and Being Seen, pp. 34 – 51

Quiroa, Nestor. Revisiting the Highland Guatemala Títulos: How the Maya-K’iche’ Lived and Outlived the Colonial Experience, Ethnohistory, Spring 2011, Vol.58(2), p.293 – 321

Puig, The mexico-guatemala, guatemala-mexico border: 1983 – 2013, pp. 7 -35

Week 5

September 24 & 26

What is the relationship between democracy and development?

Ch. 4 & 5 Seeing and Being Seen, pp. 52 – 89

Handy, Jim, DEMOCRATIZING WHAT? SOME REFLECTIONS ON NATION, STATE, ETHNICITY, MODERNITY, COMMUNITY AND DEMOCRACY IN GUATEMALA, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 1 January 2002, Vol.27(53), pp.35-71

Brett, Mark, Introduction, in Social Movements, Indigenous Politics and Democratisation in Guatemala, 1985-1996, 2008, pp. 1 – 8

Week 6

October 1 & 3 (Oct 1: NO CLASS)

What is the relationship between tradition and modernity?

Ch. 6 & 7 Seeing and Being Seen, pp. 90 – 140

Schmuel N. Eisenstadt and Wolfgang Schluchter. “Introduction: Paths to Early Modernities—A Comparative View,” in Daedalus 127(3): 1-18, 1998

Arjun Appadurai, Chapter 9 “The Production of Locality” in Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, pp. 178-199. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996.

Film: Rigoberta Menchu, Daughter of the Maya (62 minutes)

Week 7

October 8 & 10 (Oct 8: NO CLASS)

How inequality is related to migration?

Ch. 8, Seeing and Being Seen, pp 141 – 159

The Fear of No Future: Guatemalan Migrants, Dispossession and Dislocation. Green, Linda. Anthropologica, 2009, Vol.51(2), pp.327-341.

Michel-Rolph Trouillot, 2001.”The Anthropology of the State in the Age of Globalization: Close Encounters of the Deceptive Kind.” Current Anthropology 42(1):125–138.

Film: The Long Road Home: The Odyssey of a Young Guatemalan Maya Refugee, 1993, 34 mins

Week 8

October 15 & 17

What are globalization and neoliberalism?

Ch. 9, Seeing and Being Seen, pp 160 – 175

Benson, Peter, et al., Resocializing Suffering: Neoliberalism, Accusation, and the Sociopolitical Context of Guatemala’s New Violence, Latin American Perspectives, September 2008, Vol.35(5), pp.38-58

Lappe, “Why Can’t People Feed Themselves?” (9pgs, password-protected)

Film: Life and Debt (80min)

Week 9

Oct 22 & 24

Religion as a system of meaning and power

Few, Martha, Women, Religion, and Power: Gender and Resistance in Daily Life in Late-Seventeenth-Century Santiago de Guatemala, Ethnohistory, 1 October 1995, Vol.42(4), pp.627-63

Concha-Holmes, Amanda D, CUBAN CABILDOS, CULTURAL POLITICS, AND CULTIVATING A TRANSNATIONAL YORUBA CITIZENRY, Cultural Anthropology, August 2013, Vol.28(3), pp.490-503

VIDEO: Ixim: A Mayan story about corn

Week 10

October 29 & 31

How are structure and agency related to social change?

Ferrer, Ada, Cuba, 1898: Rethinking Race, Nation and Empire. Radical History Review, Winter99, Issue 73, p 22 – 46. DOI: 10.1215/01636545-1999-73-22.

De la Fuente, Alejandro. Introduction, in A Nation for All: Race, Inequality and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba, pp 1 – 19.

George Lambie, Globalization and the Cuban Revolution in the Twenty-First Century, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 01 April 2009, Issue 86, pp.81-95

FILM: Memories of Underdevelopment (1968), 98 min

Week 11

November 5 & 7

What is the relationship between identity, language and the nation state?

De la Fuente, Alejandro. Chapter 1, in A Nation for All, pp 23 – 53.

Fernandes, Sujatha, Fear of a Black Nation: Local Rappers, Transnational Crossings, and State Power in Contemporary Cuba. Anthropological Quarterly, 1 October 2003, Vol.76(4), pp.575-608.

Week 12

November 12 & 14

What is the relationship between culture and environment?

Chapter 8, The Special Period, in A Nation for All, pp 317 – 334.

Whittle, Daniel ; Santos, Orlando, Protecting Cuba’s Environment: Efforts to Design and Implement Effective Environmental Laws and Policies in Cuba, Cuban Studies, 2006, Vol.37, pp.73-103+

FILM: The Greening of Cuba, 1996, 39 mins

Week 13

November 19 & 21

What is the relationship between poverty and climate change?

Hulme, Ch. 1. The Social Meaning of Climate Change, pp. 1 – 34

Stone, Richard, Cuba’s 100-year plan for climate change, Science (New York, N.Y.), 12 January 2018, Vol.359(6372), pp.144-145

Mega, Emiliano, Cuba adds climate to its constitution, Nature, Mar 14, 2019, Vol.567(7747), p.155

Week 14

November 26 & 28 (November 28th College Closed)

How does racial and gender inequality are part of structures of power?

Conceiving Cuba, Ch 1 & 2, pp 1 – 45.

Judith Lorber, “Night to his Day”: The Social Construction of Gender– Night to his day, 8 pgs (password-protected)

Aisha Finch, “What Looks Like a Revolution: Enslaved Women and the Gendered Terrain of Slave
Insurgencies in Cuba, 1843-1844,” Journal of Women’s History, Vol. 26 No. 1 (2014): 112-34.

Video: Afro Cuba Libre: A Mini- Documentary on Race in Cuba, 10 min

Week 15

December 3 & 5

How is sexuality a cultural construct?

Conceiving Cuba, Ch. 3 & 4, pp 46 – 92

Watson, Carolyn E, Witches, Female Priests and Sacred Manoeuvres: (De)Stabilising Gender and Sexuality in a Cuban Religion of African Origin, Gender & History, Nov 2013, Vol.25(3), pp.425-444

Oglesby, Elizabeth, Machos and machetes in Guatemala’s cane fields: The growth of male sex work in Havana, NACLA Report on the Americas, Mar/Apr 2001, Vol.34(5), pp.16-17

Film: Excess of Sexual Tourism, 2005, 51 mins

Week 16

December 10 & 12

How do People mobilize power outside the State’s control? Decolonial/Postcolonial Struggles

Conceiving Cuba, Ch 6, pp 114 – 136

de Sousa Santos, Boaventura, Why Has Cuba Become a Difficult Problem for the Left?, Latin American Perspectives, May 2009, Vol.36(3), pp.43-53

Saunders, Black Thoughts, Black Activism: Cuban Underground Hip-hop and Afro-Latino Countercultures of Modernity, Latin American Perspectives, March 2012, Vol.39(2), pp.42-60


December 17: NO CLASS
Reading Day

December 19: NO CLASS
Submit Final Paper