Latinx Studies has made important contributions to 20th and 21st century thought through explications of complex cultural and political processes in borderlands and myriad colonial contact zones. Yet, the field remains grounded in a North American milieu, particularly the US-Mexico borderlands, specific Caribbean locales, and various Latin American diasporic flows to and within the US. This course seeks a more expansive mapping of Latinx life and culture worldwide, emphasizing new, evolving, and future challenges in Latinx Studies as well as in allied and intersecting fields and areas. This course productively complicates important operative frameworks—transnationalism, borderlands, mestizaje, interstitial, resistance, and more—to further globalize the field in nuanced ways. The goal is to recover, map, and assess new and complex models and understandings of Latinx life, culture, history, and politics—or Latinidades—that are synthesized in contact with peoples throughout the world, particularly Africa and the Mediterranean, Asia and Pacific Islands, subaltern Europe, and neglected parts of the Americas, Caribbean, and Indian Country. This course thus intersects with meta-critical revisionist trajectories in intersecting area studies and allied fields such as American; Latin American; Native American and Indigenous; Black and Africana; Pan-Asian and Pacific Islands; Middle Eastern and Mediterranean; Immigrant and Diaspora; and various iterations of Global Studies. Students will explore evolving Latinx hybridities; new Latinx spiritual and cultural identities and communities; unique Latinx global travelers and expatriates; new immigrant populations; wide-ranging local and global political ideologies; and related global Latinx ontologies and epistemologies, that is, unique theories of being and knowing.
Imaginative literature—with emphasis on life writing genres such as testimonio, autobiography, autobiographical poetry, and related categories—is the point of departure for the course’s expansive archive that will illuminate the contours of a growing and productive dissensus on who and what constitutes Latinx populations, and identity in general. The course seeks to disrupt convenient teleologies and rote discourses pursuant to a historical materialist understanding of Latinidades as fundamentally plural and complex in myriad ways that have yet to be fully theorized. The course materials thus include important case studies and also student materials from their own research interests that intersect with the course’s examination of identity formation and negotiations of power in underexamined cultural and political contexts. The course units include enduring and new AfroLatinidades; Latinx indigenous (or LatIndia/o) paradigms; AfroAsian syntheses; Latinx Internationalisms; new post-Latinx engagements between Europe and the Americas; as well as speculative meditations on post-somatic Latinidades.
Course assignments are structured as sequential writing projects that enable extensive peer and instructor feedback pursuant to the development of ever-more complex analyses and writing that can serve as the basis of a dissertation plan as well as a mature dissertation chapter. Alternative assignment options are available, including service learning and collaborative group projects. The course’s interdisciplinary theoretical framework and attention to identity, culture, and power are ideal for graduate and doctoral students in the Humanities, qualitative social sciences, and education.