RLSP 259
Violent States, Violent Subjects: Nation-Building and War in 19th Century Latin America
Last Offered n/a
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

Although the massive, mechanized wars of the 20th century often overshadow earlier conflicts, the 19th century was also a period of widespread bloodshed in Latin America. First, of course, came the carnage of the Independence Wars, which was followed by decades of civil war (Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, Colombia, Venezuela) and two bitter international wars–the Paraguayan War (1864-1870) and the Pacific War (1879-1883)–each of which would have a lasting impact on the countries involved. The restoration of peace brought economic development and new opportunities for dominant groups, but also the return of some of the most violent practices of the colonial period: indigenous peoples were conquered, their lands settled by whites or used for grazing cattle, and blacks (often despite the official abolition of slavery) met with new forms of exclusion, exploitation, and physical violence. In this tutorial we will explore the literary links between some of the violent conflicts listed above and the foundation of national identities in Latin America, reading texts that probe the social and ethical implications of State-sponsored violence. Issues to be explored include militarism and the development of nationalism; genocide and the national community; torture, truth and testimony; and the notion of ‘civilization.’ We will read one or two key precursors and a variety of 19th century texts that may include works by Juan Francisco Manzano, Esteban Echeverría, Ricardo Palma, Rosa Guerra, Dorotea Duprat de Lassere and Juan Crisóstomo Centurión, and Lucio V. Mansilla. In addition, we will read a few contemporary texts, written in the aftermath of the late-20th century dictatorships in the Southern Cone, that actively reflect on the long history of State-sponsored violence in Latin America (Ricardo Piglia, Diamela Eltit, Augusto Roa Bastos). Students will work in trios throughout the semester, each group meeting with the instructor once a week. Each week one of the students will present a 5-page paper on the assigned reading and one will be designated the official respondent, whose job is to lead a discussion of the paper. The third member of the group will turn in a revision of the previous week’s paper. Prerequisites: one 200-level RLSP course or permission of instructor. Heritage learners, international students and second-language learners are all heartily welcome. Conducted in Spanish.
The Class: Format: tutorial; Conducted in Spanish.
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 0
Requirements/Evaluation: Each student will write and revise a minimum of three five-page papers during the course of the semester. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their preparation for each tutorial meeting as evidenced by the quality and frequency of their engagement with the material, including their classmates' written work. Essays will be graded after they have been revised and submitted to the professor.
Prerequisites: Any 200-level Spanish course.
Enrollment Preferences: Priority given to Spanish majors.
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
WS Notes: Students will practice writing throughout the semester, and will receive abundant feedback on their written work from their tutorial partners and the instructor. We are altering the tutorial format from the standard duos to trios of students, so that students will have ample opportunity to revise their written work.
DPE Notes: This course focuses on issues of diversity, power and privilege within the internal and regional constitution of Latin American countries. We will read with an awareness of some of the ways that differences of race, class, nationality and gender may be mobilized in times of conflict, and consider how the collective narratives that are constructed and imposed in the aftermath tend deal with those conflicts.
Attributes: GBST Latin American Studies Electives

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