LATS 253
Religion and Politics in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Diaspora Spring 2025
Division II
Cross-listed REL 292

Class Details

This course analyzes the role of religion in Caribbean history and politics, with a focus on Puerto Rico and Cuba. These Caribbean Islands have lived out contested colonized histories and experiences, as well as diasporic realities in several key US communities, such as New York City and Miami. Since 1898, the US government and military have played a significant role in both Islands, forcibly shaping their economies and politics. Religion, particularly the Protestant missionary enterprise after the US invasions in 1898, has also shaped histories and politics on the islands and throughout their diasporas. We will analyze the role and impact of Protestant religion in these historically indigenous, African descendent, and Roman Catholic religious spaces, as well as how these religious engagements and theologies impacted migration and the creation of diasporic communities in the US. Both the role of religion in the imperialist endeavor and in the solidarity movements that responded will occupy our time in this course, with special attention to key figures in both sides of such efforts. With some enhanced understanding of the intertwining of religion and politics in Puerto Rico, Cuba and their diasporic communities, participants in this class will also consider implications for other Caribbean nations, such as the Dominican Republic, as well as, selectively, Latin American countries that have experienced US interventions and the creation of diasporic communities.
The Class: Format: lecture; This course will follow a lecture-discussion format, in which students are expected to come to class prepared to address the assigned readings, to have completed short assignments in preparation for discussions, to make presentations to the class, and/or to lead discussions.
Limit: 25
Expected: 15
Class#: 3496
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Evaluation in this course will be based on class participation, online discussion forum posts based on readings, two short 5-6 page essays on an aspect of Puerto Rican or Cuban political/religious reality discussed in class, and a final 8-10 page research essay on a theme in the course agreed upon by student and professor.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: LATS concentrators and Religion majors, and those with expressed interest in these fields
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
LATS 253 Division II REL 292 Division II
Attributes: LATS Core Electives

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