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download pdfRace and Ethnicity in Latin America (JINS 338)

Fall 2020, Truman State University
MC 209, MWF 12:30-1:20
Office: MC 227

Marc Becker

How have Latin Americans constructed and interpreted racial, ethnic, class, and gender identities and ideologies? We will begin this course with a theoretical discussion of race, class, and gender, and then proceed to an evaluation of how they intersect and influence each other in a Latin American context. How do these identities help us understand Latin American history and culture? What functions have these identities played in Latin American societies, and how have they influenced cultural, economic, and political developments? How have the intersections of these identities contributed to the emergence of new forms of identity that contribute to the rich diversity that is Latin America? Throughout this entire process we will constantly critique our assumptions of these categories in order to understand better the purposes they play in society.
            See the syllabus addendum on Blackboard for additional class policies.

Junior Interdisciplinary Writing Enhanced Seminar
This course focuses on intersections between disciplines, and interrogates their assumptions on race, class, and gender. We will emphasize the political and social roles that race, class and gender have played in Latin America, examine how various disciplines have interpreted these political and social changes, and then use this critique in order to reflect on the roles of race, class and gender in our own societies. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of how content from several disciplines interacts through classroom discussion, written reactions to the readings, and other assignments. Our goal is to transcend dichotomies that pit disciplines against each other and instead move toward an integrated synthesis that reflects the benefits of utilizing the tools of various disciplines to understand a problem.

Writing Enhanced
This is a writing-enhanced course, which means that writing is central to the seminar, and that we will emphasize cognition, process, and product. Cognition is not an isolated process, but rather an integral, active part of our activities. This class will emphasize writing as a process and will encourage both deep reflection on and deep revision of student writings. Written assignments in this class require students to write for a variety of audiences including private reflective essays on identity, collaborate essays to inform classmates, and analytical essays that portray higher levels of thought.


Golash-Boza, Tanya Maria. Race and Racisms: A critical approach. Brief second edition New York: Oxford University Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780190889432
Fuente, Alejandro de la, and George Reid Andrews, ed. Afro-Latin American Studies: An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. ISBN: 9781316630662
Horst, René Harder. A History of Indigenous Latin America: Aymara to Zapatistas. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 2020. ISBN: 9780415519120

Assignments and grades

Assignment                                                                                         Points
Personal identity exercise                                                       5 pts
40 reading responses (1 pt each)                                             40
Class discussion leader (7 times, 1 pt each)                           7
3 response papers (10 pts each)                                              30
Race and ethnicity essay                                                        18

You can check your grade progress on Blackboard. Grades are calculated out of a total of 100 points. 90-100 points is an A, 80-89 is a B, 70-79 is a C, and 60-69 is a D. Fewer than 600 points is an F. YOU MUST COMPLETE ALL ASSIGNMENTS TO RECEIVE CREDIT FOR THIS CLASS.

Personal identity exercise. Create an identity wheel (a circle or pie chart) with “slices” whose size indicates the relative importance of each item to your own identity. Label each slice with an “A” if it is an advantaged or privileged part of your identity that benefits you, and a “T” for targeted parts that may put you at a social disadvantage (even if that part of your identity is important to you). Email a copy of this identity wheel to and be prepared to discuss in class why you constructed it the way you did. 5 pts.

Reading responses: Post a comment, question, response, or reaction for each daily reading to the discussion board on Blackboard. 1 pt each, 40 pts total.

Class discussion leader: For each class period, one student will organize the reading response posts to the discussion board on Blackboard into a logical flow and help lead the discussion. Sign up for a total of seven times (1 pt each, 7 pts total).

Response papers: Prepare a three-page typed response to each assigned book. Identify the author’s main arguments and disciplinary assumptions, and examine the use of sources, methodology, and theory. Provide your own assessment or critique of the readings, including how effectively each author engages issues of race and ethnicity. In writing your essays:

  • Identify one main point in the reading that strikes you as most interesting or important
  • Don’t just summarize the contents—exploring significance is more important
  • Be sure to demonstrate that you have completed the entire reading
  • Acknowledge authorship, especially since I want you to engage the authors’ main arguments and the evidence that they use, their use of sources, methodology, and theory
  • Be sure to provide your own assessment or critique of the readings.

The essays must be typed, double-spaced, and include citations, a bibliography, and page numbers. 10 pts each.

Race and ethnicity essay: Drawing on the material we have covered this semester as well as any additional material you might wish to include, analyze how you have come to understand the constructions of race and ethnicity in Latin America. How do disciplinary assumptions reinforce or challenge these attitudes and perspectives? This final essay should be about 15 pages long, typed, double-spaced, and include citations, a bibliography, and page numbers. 18 pts.

Class Schedule

Mon, Aug 17: Introduction
Wed, Aug 19: Personal identities
Fri, Aug 31: Golash-Boza, ch. 1

Mon, Aug 24: Golash-Boza, ch. 2
Wed, Aug 26: Golash-Boza, ch. 3
Fri, Aug 28: Golash-Boza, ch. 4

Mon, Aug 31: Golash-Boza, ch. 5
Wed, Sept 2: Golash-Boza, ch. 6
Fri, Sept 4: Golash-Boza, ch. 7

Mon, Sept 7: Golash-Boza, ch. 8
Wed, Sept 9: Golash-Boza, ch. 9
Fri, Sept 11: Golash-Boza, ch. 10

Mon, Sept 14: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 1
Wed, Sept 16: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 2
Fri, Sept 18: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 3

Mon, Sept 21: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 4
Wed, Sept 23: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 5
Fri, Sept 25: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 6

Mon, Sept 28: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 7
Wed, Sept 30: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 8
Fri, Oct 2: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 9

Mon, Oct 5: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 10
Wed, Oct 7: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 11
Fri, Oct 9: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 12

Mon, Oct 12: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 13
Wed, Oct 14: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 14
Fri, Oct 16: Fuente/Andrews, ch. 15

Mon, Oct 19: Horst, Intro & ch. 1
Wed, Oct 21: Horst, ch. 2
Fri, Oct 23: Horst, ch. 3

Mon, Oct 26: Horst, ch. 4
Wed, Oct 28: Horst, ch. 5
Fri, Oct 30: Horst, ch. 6

Mon, Nov 2: Horst, ch. 7
Wed, Nov 4: Horst, ch. 8
Fri, Nov 6: Horst, ch. 9

Mon, Nov 9: Horst, ch. 10
Wed, Nov 11: Horst, ch. 11
Fri, Nov 13: Horst, ch. 12

Mon, Nov 16: Horst, ch. 13
Wed, Nov 18: Horst, ch. 14
Fri, Nov 20: Horst, Conc

Fri, Nov 23: Wrap-up

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