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Race and Indigeneity

Michaelmas 2017 Seminar Programme and Readings

The dates, times and locations of each seminar are available on the teaching schedule for this module.

Seminar 1: Introduction to critical race theory in Latin America​ (Laurie Denyer Willis​) 

This lecture functions as an introduction to critical race theory in Latin America, with a focus on the empirical, theoretical, and historical literatures. We consider critical approaches to studying and conceptualizing race and racism, with an eye to how race is constructed, and how racial categories are delineated, managed, and resisted. The goal of this lecture is to develop a working knowledge of critical race theory that can be used throughout the rest of the module.

Essential reading:

  • Thomas, Deborah. 2011. Exceptional Violence: Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica. Durham: Duke University Press.* [e-book available from library]
  • Smith, Christen, A. 2015. Afro-Paradise: Blackness, Violence and Performance in Brazil. University of Illinois Press.* [e-book available from library]
  • Wade, Peter. 1997. Race and Ethnicity in Latin America, Second Edition. London: Pluto Press

*Read either of these two books and be prepared to discuss in conversation with the book by Wade

Seminar 2: Indigeneity and Multilingualism in Latin America (Charles Pigott) 

This lecture will review some of the major issues involving the intersection between culture and language in indigenous Latin America. From the perspective of linguistic anthropology, language is a fundamental dimension of culture and cannot be treated in isolation. Topics will include the relation between language and worldview, cultural and ethnic identity, verbal art, and language planning/policy, in various parts of Latin America. At the end of the lecture, students should have a good appreciation of the importance of linguistic issues in Latin American Studies, and acquire a basic understanding of the diverse ways in which language influences other dimensions of society. Students will constantly be encouraged to challenge received wisdom on all of the concepts discussed in this lecture.

Essential reading:

  • Crevels, Mily (2012) “Language Endangerment in South America: The Clock is Ticking”, in Campbell, Lyle & Grondona, Verónica (eds) The Indigenous Languages of South America: A Comprehensive Guide. Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 167-234 (Moodle)  (please read pp. 167-169 and 222-223, plus at least one of the country case studies; several of the chapters in this book are of interest to linguistic anthropology if you would like to take it further)
  • García, Ofeli, López, Dina & Makar, Carmina (2010) “Latin America”, in Fishman, Joshua & García, Ofelia (eds) Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity: Disciplinary and Regional Perspectives Vol. 1 (second edition). Oxford: University of Oxford Press, pp. 353-373 (Moodle)
  • Mufwene, Salikoko (2014) “Latin America: A Linguistic Curiosity from the Point of View of Colonization and the Ensuing Language Contacts”, in Mufwene, Salikoko (ed.) Iberian Imperialism and Language Evolution in Latin America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 1-37 (Moodle)
  • Urban, Greg, and Sherzer, Joel (1988) "The Linguistic Anthropology of Native South America", in Annual Review of Anthropology, pp. 283-307
  • Urban, Greg (1991) “The Semiotics of State-Indian Linguistic Relationships: Peru, Paraguay, and Brazil”, in Urban Greg & Scherzer, Joel (eds) Nation States and Indians in Latin America. Austin: University of Texas Press, pp. 307-330 (Moodle)

Extra reading:

  • Berlin, Brent & Berlin, Elois Ann (1975) “Aguaruna Color Categories”, in American Ethnologist 2/1, pp. 61-87
  • Brown, Penelope (2001) “Learning to Talk about Motion UP and DOWN in Tzeltal: Is there a Language-specific Bias for Verb Learning?”, in Bowerman, M. & Levison, S. (eds) Language Acquisition and Conceptual Development. Cambridge: CUP, pp. 512-543
  • Brown, Penelope & Levinson, Stephen (1992) “‘Left’ and ‘right’ in Tenejapa: Investigating a Linguistic and Conceptual Gap”, in Language Typology and Universals 45/1-4, pp. 590-611
  • Cerrón-Palomino, Rodolfo (1989) "Language Policy in Peru: A Historical Overview", in International Journal of the Sociology of Language 77, pp.11-34
  • Chirinos, Andrés. (1998) “Las lenguas indígenas peruanas más allá del 2000”, in Revista andina 32, pp. 453-479
  • Coronel-Molina, Serafín “Sociohistorical Perspective of Quechua Language Policy and Planning in Peru” (2011), in Fishman, Joshua & García, Ofelia (eds) Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity: The Success-Failure Continuum in Language and Ethnic Identity Efforts, Vol. 2. Oxford: University of Oxford Press, pp. 126-136. (see also the following chapter by Aurolyn Luykx)
  • Grinevald, Colette (1998) "Language Endangerment in South America: A Programmatic Approach", in Grenoble, Lenore & Whaley, Lindsay (eds) Endangered Languages: Current issues and future prospects. Cambridge: CUP, pp.124-159
  • Gynan, Shaw N. (2001) "Language Planning and Policy in Paraguay", in Current Issues in Language Planning 2/1, pp. 53-118
  • Hamel, Rainer Enrique (2008) "Indigenous Language Policy and Education in Mexico", in May, S. & Hornberger, N. (eds) Encyclopedia of Language and Education, 2nd edition, Vol. 1: Language Policy and Political Issues in Education, pp. 301-313
  • Hough, Karen (2008) The Expression and Perception of Space in Wayana. Leiden: Sidestone Press
  • Howard, Rosaleen (2007) Por los linderos de la lengua: Ideologías lingüísticas en los Andes. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos​
  • Lucy, John (2004) “Language, Culture and Mind in Comparative Perspective”, in Achard, Michel & Kemmer, Suzanne (eds) Language, Culture and Mind. CSLI Publications
  • Massini-Cagliari, Gladis (2004) "Language Policy in Brazil: Monolingualism and Linguistic Prejudice", in Language Policy 3/1, pp. 3-23
  • Nickson, Robert Andrew (2009) "Governance and the Revitalization of the Guaraní Language in Paraguay", in Latin American Research Review 44/3, pp. 3-26
  • Robins, Robert & Uhlenbeck, Eugenius (eds) (1991) Endangered Languages. Oxford: Berg Publications. [see chapters by Adelaar on South America and Cuarón & Lastra on Mexico]
  • Sherzer, Joel (1983) Kuna Ways of Speaking: An Ethnographic Perspective. Austin: University of Texas Press
  • Urban, Greg (1985) "The Semiotics of Two Speech Styles in Shokleng", in Mertz, Elizabeth & Parmentier, Richard (eds) Semiotic Mediation: Sociocultural and Psychological Perspectives. Orlando: Academic Press, pp. 311-329
  • Urban, Greg (1986) "Ceremonial Dialogues in South America", in American Anthropologist 88/2, pp. 371-386

Seminar 3: The Anthropology of Literature in Latin America (Charles Pigott)

The diversity of literary production in Latin America is in many ways the result of the cultural plurality of this region. The aim of this seminar is to bridge literary studies and the social sciences by examining literature as an anthropological phenomenon in Latin America. It will introduce students trained in either camp to new ways of approaching literature and new contexts for applying social scientific theories and methods. Several studies on Latin American literary production could be defined as “anthropology of literature”, even if they have not been discussed together or under this label. The seminar will explore the following issues: how “literature” is conceptualized for the diverse societies that make up Latin America; how Latin American literary cultures are formed, perpetuated and/or transformed; the roles of orality and literacy in the definition of “literature” in Latin America; how theories and methods in anthropology can shed light on literature in Latin America; conversely, how literature can shed light on wider cultural and sociological phenomena in the region. The seminar will conclude by asking how the anthropology of literature can contribute to our understanding of “Latin America” as a geographical concept.

Essential reading: these five readings are all now on Moodle

  • Emery, Amy Fass. The Anthropological Imagination in Latin American Literature. University of Missouri Press, 1996. Chapter One and Afterword
  • Espino Relucé, Gonzalo. La literatura oral, o, La literatura de tradición oral. Pakarina, 2010. Chapter Two
  • Kumaraswami, Parvathi, and Antoni M. Kapcia. Literary Culture in Cuba: Revolution, Nation-building and the Book. Manchester University Press, 2012. Chapter Two
  • McDowell, John. “Collaborative Ethnopoetics: A View from the Sibundoy Valley”, in Sammons, Kay, and Joel Sherzer. Translating Native Latin American Verbal Art: Ethnopoetics and Ethnography of Speaking. Smithsonian Inst Pr, 2000, pp. 211-232.
  • Tedlock, Dennis. "Hearing a voice in an ancient text: Quiché Maya poetics in performance." Sherzer, Joel, and Anthony C. Woodbury, eds. Native American Discourse: Poetics and Rhetoric. Cambridge University Press. 1987, pp. 140-175. (Don’t worry too much about the technical linguistic terms – this article is mainly so you can get a feel for the relation between literature and ethnography.)

Extra Reading

  • Basso, Ellen B. A Musical View of the Universe: Kalapalo Myth and Ritual Performances. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985.
  • Burns, Allan An Epoch of Miracles: Oral Literature of the Yucatec Maya. University of Texas Press, 2011.
  • Clements, William M. Native American Verbal Art: Texts and Contexts. University of Arizona Press, 1996.
  • Cornejo Polar, Antonio. "El indigenismo y las literaturas heterogéneas: su doble estatuto socio-cultural." Revista de crítica literaria latinoamericana 4.7/8 (1978), pp. 7-21.
  • Echevarría, Roberto González. Myth and Archive: A Theory of Latin American Narrative. Duke University Press, 1998.
  • Hull, Kerry M., and Michael D. Carrasco, eds. Parallel Worlds: Genre, Discourse, and Poetics in Contemporary, Colonial, and Classic Maya Literature. University Press of Colorado, 2012.
  • Lienhard, Martin. La voz y su huella. Ediciones Casa Juan Pablos, 2003.
  • Ostria González, Mauricio. "Literatura oral, oralidad ficticia." Estudios filológicos 36. 2001, pp. 71-80.
  • Sherzer, Joel, and Greg Urban, eds. Native South American Discourse. Walter de Gruyter, 1986.
  • Tedlock, Dennis. 2000 Years of Mayan Literature. Berkley, Los Angele, CA: University of California Press, 2010.
  • Valdés, Mario J., and Djelal Kadir, eds. Literary Cultures of Latin America. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Seminar 4: Shamanism, mimesis and alterity: spaces of transformation and blurred identities in Latin American popular culture (Françoise Barbira-Freedman)​ 

In the first of two lectures on generic social and cultural processes that create the contours of indigeneity in Latin America, the focus is on shamanism as a set of practices that carry a distinctive indigenous label but at the same time have been defined through dialectical relations between Indians and the dominant society since colonial times.  Themes include the relationship between Christianity and Amerindian cosmologies, shamanic knowledge and its use in mediating racial conflicts, shamanism as popular medicine and popular culture in mixed rural and urban populations and the blurred identities of present-day shamans as they claim and/or ‘perform indigeneity’. Materials range from the Colombian rubber boom to Peru’s expanding Ayahuasca shamanism, the emergence of Shuar shamans in Ecuador and the complex gendered identities of Mapuche shamans in Chile. There are two guiding questions: what does shamanism tell us about indigeneity as relational politics in which people ascribed as indigenous are both socially and economically disadvantaged and yet are attributed powers sought by non-indigenous people on local and international scales? How can we explain that what we call shamanism, in its many different forms, continues to re-invent itself as a live counter-hegemonic cultural heritage throughout Latin America?

Essential reading:

  • Bacigalupo, Ana Mariella (2007) Shamans of the Foye Tree: Gender, Power and Healing among Chilean Mapuche. University of Texas Press. Introduction and Chapter 9
  • Barbira Freedman, Françoise. (2014) “Shamans’ Networks in Western Amazonia: the Iquitos-Nauta Road”, in B.C. Labate and N. Clavnar (eds) Ayahuasca Shamanism in the Amazon and Beyond. Oxford University Press, pp. 63-86
  • Barbira Freedman, F. (2014) ‘Shamans’ Networks in Western Amazonia: the Iquitos-Nauta Road’, in B.C. Labate and N. Clavnar (eds), Ayahuasca Shamanism in the Amazon and Beyond. Oxford University Press, pp. 63-86
  • Conklin, Beth A. (2002) “Shamans versus Pirates in the Amazonian Treasure Chest”, American Anthropologist, 104(4): 1050-1061
  • Salomon, Frank (1983) “Shamanism and Politics in Late/Colonial Ecuador”, American Ethnologist, 10(3): 413-28
  • Taussig, Michael (1987) Shamanism, Colonialism and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing. Chicago University Press. Chapter 23

Extra Reading:

  • Alberts, T.K. (2015) Shamanism, Discourse, Modernity. Ashgate Publishing. Chapter 3, Indigenism, pp. 85-129
  • Bacigalupo, A.M. 2007 Shamans of the Foye Tree: Gender, Power and Healing among Chilean Mapuche. University of Texas Press. Introduction and Chapters 2, 3 and 9
  • Conklin B. (2002). ‘Shamans versus Pirates in the Amazonian Treasure Chest’. American Anthropologist 104(4), 1050-1061
  • Dobkin de Rios, M. (1992) Amazon Healer: The Life and Times of an Urban Shaman Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Gow, P. (2001) An Amazonian Myth and its History. Oxford University Press, pp. 208-215 (Sangama’s analysis of writing)
  • Gow, P. (1994) ‘River People: Shamanism and History in Western Amazonia’. in C. Humphrey and N. Thomas (eds), Shamanism, History and the State. University of Michigan Press
  • Rubinstein, S. (2002) Alejandro Tsakimp: A Shuar Healer in the Margins of History. University of Nebraska Press. Chapters 2, 3, 4, 9
  • Sharon, Douglas (1979) Wizard of the Four Winds: a Shaman’s Story. Free Press. Chapters 1, 2 ,3, 11, 12
  • Taussig, M. (1987) Shamanism, Colonialism and the Wild Man: a Study in Terror and Healing. Chicago University Press. Chapters 6 to 12 and 23 to 25
  • Whitten, N. and D. Whitten (2008) Puyo runa: Imagery and Power in Modern Amazonia. University of Illinois Press. Introduction and Chapter 2

Seminar 5: Race, Space and Place: Urban Governance and Biopolitics (Laurie Denyer Willis) ​

This lecture considers how conceptions of race underlie the governance of cities, with a focus on Foucauldian biopolitics and literatures on space&place. Taking a historical approach, this lecture covers 19th and 20th century policies of eugenics, infrastructure, land rights and security in order to interrogate how urban planning and infrastructures are embedded within racial discourses that have profound impacts for how people differently experience the city. The guiding question is: How do the historical interaction and plural meanings of race impact governance and the experience of space and place in the city?

Essential reading:

  • Harris, Cheryl. 1993. Whiteness as Property. Harvard Law Review, Vol. 106, No. 8 (Jun., 1993), pp. 1707-1791
  • Nemser, Daniel. 2017. Infrastructures of Race: Concentration and Biopolitics in Colonial Mexico. University of Texas Press. [check with CLAS Librarian]

Extra reading:

  • Costa Vargas, Joao, H. 2014. Taking Back the Land: Police Operations and Sport Megaevents in Rio de Janeiro. A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society. 15(4):275-303.
  • Hayden, Dolores. The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public HistoryChapters 1 and 2 ONLY. [on Moodle]