AFR 190
Introduction to Afro-Latin American Studies Spring 2025
Division II

Class Details

Although there is a common idea of “African American exceptionalism,” the Black Experience in the Americas is far more complex and diverse than it may seem at first glance. Since the beginning of the 16th century, around 10.7 million Africans survived the Middle Passage, and around 4 percent disembarked in the USA. If it is true that each country has its own singularities, nation-building processes, and particular race and ethnic relations, it is also true that there are remarkable resonances and connections across and within the Black Diaspora in the Americas. Drawing on this historical background, the seminar introduces students to the flourishing field of Afro-Latin American Studies. The seminar will focus on the current experiences of Afro-Latin Americans in Haiti, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. Therefore, this is not a course about slavery or colonial history, even though it will shed light on the historical roots of the present-day struggles and experiences of Afro-Latin Americans. The seminar invites students to investigate and discuss the following questions: What does it mean to be Black in Latin America today? How are racial categories used in and by each country’s public policies and social movements? What is behind the idea of racial democracy? What role do affirmative action and cultural movements play in the fight against racism and Anti-Blackness? How did Black activists and movements foster an Afrodiasporic dialogue and collaboration throughout the Americas? The seminar aims to connect students with Afro-Latin American perspectives (drawn mainly from Anthropology, Sociology, and History); promote a welcoming space for class discussions; and provide students with guidance to structure and develop a written reflection (in any preferred format, such as essays, interviews, research papers, audiovisual creations) about a topic of their choice (in relation to the Black Experience in Latin America).
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 15
Class#: 3310
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Class participation and attendance (asking questions and leading discussions); weekly e-reading response papers (300-500 words); and a final essay or research paper (5-10 pages).
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Majors and concentrators in Africana Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology.
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: AFR Core Electives

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