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Key Issues and Texts: Interpretations of Latin America

Seminar 1: José Carlos Mariátegui: Pre-Conquest Legacies, Inchoate Societies and Creative Marxisms (PML)

This session engages with Mariátegui’s classic work 7 Ensayos de Interpretacíon de la Realidad Peruana, particularly the first six essays, to explore three main topics. First, his conception of the pre-conquest economic and social reality of Peru and how this continued to influence the country at the time of writing. In particular, his notion of an indigenous communism and his reading of ‘the indigenous question’ will be explored. Second, the session will interrogate his notion of an ‘inchoate’ society that combined an indigenous communism, a colonial feudalism, and an incipient capitalism. It will be explored how this allegedly defined particularities for Latin America and the implications this had for social struggles and dynamics. Third, drawing on the points above, the session will explore how and to which extent Mariátegui developed a creative contribution to Marxist theory from Latin America. It will question whether he went against predominant orthodoxies and challenged Western views of development and revolutionary dynamics.

Key text

  • Mariátegui, J.C., 1988. Seven interpretive essays on Peruvian reality. University of Texas Press. (Copies available in the libraries.)

Or in Spanish:

Further reading

  • Aricó, J., 1980. Mariátegui y los orígenes del marxismo latinoamericano. México, Siglo XXI.
  • Beigel, F., 2001. Mariátegui y las antinomias del indigenismo. Utopía y praxis latinoamericana: revista internacional de filosofía iberoamericana y teoría social, (13), pp.36-57.
  • Löwy, M. and Duggan, P., 1998. Marxism and romanticism in the work of José Carlos Mariátegui. Latin American Perspectives25(4), pp.76-88.
  • Quijano, A., 1995. Raza, etnia y nación en Mariátegui: cuestiones abiertas. Estudios latinoamericanos2(3), pp.3-19.
  • Webber, J.R., 2015. The indigenous community as “living organism”: José Carlos Mariátegui, Romantic Marxism, and extractive capitalism in the Andes. Theory and Society44(6), pp.575-598.

 

Seminar 2. Sérgio Buarque de Holanda: Latin American political forms (PML)

Based on Sérgio Buarque de Holanda’s book Raízes do Brasil, this session explores the author’s contribution to understanding the specificity of political forms in Brazil and Latin America. The session discusses how Brazil’s Iberian heritage, the country’s pattern of land occupation and urbanisation, and the economic forms that ensued developed into forms of political organisation. In particular, the session explores Holanda’s notion of the ‘cordial man’ (who acts from the heart), his discussion of how and why the public-private divide was different in Brazil and in Europe, his view of development and progress, and his understanding of (Brazilian) patrimonialism. Throughout the discussion, particular attention is paid to the channels through which the Brazilian ‘roots’ are transmitted into the present; the implicit or explicit vision Holanda has of European modernity and how this influences his analysis of Brazil; and how he understands the creative potentials, as well as the enduring constraints, that emerge from Brazil’s history, its colonial past and its ensuing specificities.

Key text

  • Holanda, S.B., 2016. Raízes do Brasil: edição crítica. Companhia das Letras. (Copies available in the libraries.)

Or in English:

  • Holanda, S.B., 2012. Roots of Brazil. University of Notre Dame Press. (Copies available in the libraries.)

Further reading

  • Avelino Filho, G., 1990. Cordialidade e civilidade em Raízes do Brasil. Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais5(12), pp.5-14.
  • Costa, S., 2014. O Brasil de Sérgio Buarque de Holanda. Sociedade e Estado29(3), pp.823-839.
  • Monteiro, P.M., 2009. As raízes do Brasil no espelho de próspero. Novos estudos CEBRAP, (83), pp.159-182.
  • Rezende, D.L., 2018. Patriarcado e formação do Brasil: uma leitura crítica de Oliveira Vianna e Sérgio Buarque de Holanda a partir do feminismo. Revista Ágora, (22).
  • Waizbort, L., 2011. The misunderstanding of democracy: Sergio Buarque de Hollanda, Raizes do Brasil, 1936. Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais26(76), pp.39-62.

 

Seminar 3. Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Enzo Faletto: centre-periphery relations, structural constraints to development and dependency (PML)

This session explores what is arguably the most famous interpretation of Latin America, dependency theory, in the version of Cardoso and Faletto. This session will counterpoise Cardoso and Faletto’s theory to other versions of dependency theory, such as that of Ruy Mauro Marini, and to the ECLAC’s (the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) structuralist reading of (the constraints to) economic development. These interpretations all ascribe a central role to the international position of Latin American countries, from which springs the position of dependency, but the mechanisms that produce the latter and their economic and political implications differ widely. This session will thus explore, especially in Cardoso and Faletto’s version of dependency but also in the other theories, what is meant by dependency; what is the relationship between dependency and (obstacles to) development; how does dependency, an international relation, express itself internally; and what are the central political implications of dependency.

Key text

  • Cardoso, F.H. and Faletto, E., 1979. Dependency and development in Latin America. Univ of California Press. (Copies available in the libraries.)

Or in Spanish:

  • Cardoso, F.H. and Faletto, E., 1996. Dependencia y desarrollo en América Latina: ensayo de interpretación sociológica. Siglo xxi. (Copies available in the libraries.)

Further reading

  • Boianovsky, M., 2010. A view from the tropics: Celso Furtado and the theory of economic development in the 1950s. History of Political Economy42(2), pp.221-266.
  • Furtado, C., 1976. Economic development of Latin America: historical background and contemporary problems. Cambridge University Press.
  • Marini, R.M., 1973. Dialéctica de la dependencia. México: Era.
  • Palma, G., 1978. Dependency: a formal theory of underdevelopment or a methodology for the analysis of concrete situations of underdevelopment? World development6(7-8), pp.881-924.
  • Prebisch, R., 1967. Hacia una dinámica del desarrollo latinoamericano (Vol. 2). Ediciones de la Banda Oriental.
  • Santos, T.D., 1970. The structure of dependence. The american economic review60(2), pp.231-236.

 

Seminar 4. Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui: coloniality and internal colonialism, political forms and intersectional inequalities (AIA)

This session explores Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui’s work through the book Violencias (Re)Encubiertas en Bolivia. The discussion will focus on four interconnected issues which, together, reveal forms of violence that underlie notions and practices of development and modernity in Latin America. First, her articulation of racialised forms of exclusion and stratification, internal colonialism, and the process of mestizaje. Second, her discussion of the connections between patriarchy and colonialism, which lead to theorisations about the position of indigenous and mestizo women in structures and networks of power. Third, her views about non-Western political forms in Latin America, in particular the tension between the ayllu democracy and liberal democracy. Finally, her usage of the notion of non-coetaneous contradictions to identify the articulation in Bolivia of colonial, liberal and populist forms, structures and rationalities. In these four issues, the session approaches Rivera’s work as both an interpretation of forms of violence that underlie development and as an exploration of emancipatory potentialities.

Key text

  • Rivera Cusicanqui, Silvia, 2012. Violencias (re) encubiertas en Bolivia. Otramérica. (Access will be provided.)

Further reading

  • Mignolo, W.D., 2001. La Contribución De Xavier Albó Y Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui A La Reestructuración De Las Ciencias Sociales Desde Los Andes. Rev. Venez. de Econ. y Ciencias Sociales7(3), pp.175-195.
  • Miñoso, Y.E., Correal, D.G. and Muñoz, K.O. eds., 2014. Tejiendo de otro modo: Feminismo, epistemología y apuestas descoloniales en Abya Yala. Popayán: Editorial Universidad del Cauca.
  • Rivera Cusicanqui, S., 1986. Oprimidos pero no vencidos. Luchas del campesinado aymara y quechua de Bolivia 1900-1980. Geneva: Instituto de Investigaciones de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo Social.
  • Rivera Cusicanqui, S., 1996. Ser mujer indígena, chola o birlocha en la Bolivia postcolonial de los años 90. La Paz: Ministerio de Asuntos Étnicos, Género y Generaciones.

 

Seminar 5. Walter Mignolo: the invention of Latin America, coloniality and modernity, and the decolonial option (PML)

This session approaches the ‘decolonial reading’ of Latin America through Walter Mignolo and his book The Idea of Latin America. The overarching goal of this session is to engage with the proposition that the conquest of the Americas had much deeper and more radical implications than other interpretations assume. The title of the book alludes to this, indicating that the very idea of Latin America is born out of colonialism and lives through the enduring coloniality of knowledge and power. In particular this session explores the argument of the allegedly inextricable association between modernity and coloniality, the origin of racism in the colonial project and its enduring presence, and the defence of a decolonial option for the region.

Key text

  • Mignolo, W.D., 2009. The idea of Latin America. John Wiley & Sons. (Copies available in the libraries.)

Further reading

  • Asher, K., 2013. Latin American decolonial thought, or making the subaltern speak. Geography Compass7(12), pp.832-842.
  • Escobar, A., 2011. Encountering development: The making and unmaking of the Third World. Princeton University Press.
  • Lugones, María (2007) Heterosexualism and the colonial/modern gender system, Hypatia, 22 (1), 186-209.
  • Mignolo, W.D. and Escobar, A. eds., 2013. Globalization and the decolonial option. Routledge.
  • Quijano, A. 2000. Coloniality of Power and Eurocentrism in Latin America. International Sociology, 15(2), 215-232.
  • Quijano, A., 2000. El fantasma del desarrollo en América Latina. Revista del CESLA, (1), pp.38-55.

 

Seminar 6. Maristella Svampa: taking stock and the future of interpretations of Latin America (PML)

Through Maristella Svampa’s book Debates Latinoamericanos: Indianismo, Desarrollo, Dependencia, Populismo, this session takes stock of previous discussions and explores a future agenda of interpretations of Latin America. Svampa’s contribution is organised around four axes that recur throughout the module: racial relations, in particular regarding the indigenous populations; meanings of development and critical notions of post-extractivism; dependency in an age of globalisation; and populism and political forms in Latin America. This session aims to put these topics, and Svampa’s contribution to them, in dialogue with the previous sessions and interpretations, thus interrogating the transformations and continuities that unfold as these questions re-emerge. In doing so, this session will also explore the role that grand syntheses and interpretations of Latin America can play in the contemporary period.

Key text

  • Svampa, M., 2016. Debates latinoamericanos. Indianismo, desarrollo, dependencia y populismo. Buenos Aires: Edhasa. (Copies available in the libraries.)

Further reading

  • Centeno, M.A., 2001. The other mirror: grand theory through the lens of Latin America. Princeton University Press.
  • Gudynas, E. and Acosta, A., 2011. La renovación de la crítica al desarrollo y el buen vivir como alternativa. Utopía y praxis latinoamericana16(53).
  • Löwy, M. ed., 1992. Marxism in Latin America from 1909 to the present: an anthology. Humanities Press.
  • Svampa, M., 2008. Notas provisorias sobre la sociología, el saber académico y el compromiso intelectual. Gérard Althabe, Entre varios mundos, Buenos A