2018-19 Courses

Spring 2019

Topics in Race and Public Policy: Radical Subjects - Race and Deportation
This seminar critically explores the historical practice of deportation in the United States both past and present, looking at how our ideas of human rights, freedom, and belonging intersect with racial and national ideologies. We will work through a wide archive of literature, theory, and art, drawing important connections between the political geographies, experiences, and responses of Indigenous Americans, Black dissidents and Mexican deportees. This study of removal will help us to reflect on the contemporary moment of global mass migrations when humans are increasingly managed through preventative policing, detention, and deportation.
Instructors: Olivia Mena
Modern Caribbean History
This course will explore the major issues that have shaped the Caribbean since 1791, including: colonialism and revolution, slavery and abolition, migration and diaspora, economic inequality, and racial hierarchy. We will examine the Caribbean through a comparative approach--thinking across national and linguistic boundaries--with a focus on Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. While our readings and discussions will foreground the islands of the Greater Antilles, we will also consider relevant examples from the circum-Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora as points of comparison.
Instructors: Reena N. Goldthree
Mesoamerican Art
This course explores the visual and archaeological world of ancient Mesoamerica, from the first arrival of humans in the area until the era of Spanish invasion in the early 16th century. Major culture groups to be considered include Olmec, Maya, and Aztec. Preceptorial sections will consist of a mix of theoretically-focused discussions, debate regarding opposing interpretations in scholarship, and hands-on work with objects in the collections of the Princeton University Art Museum.
Instructors: Bryan R. Just
Pre-Columbian Peoples of Tropical America and Their Environments
The pre-European history of Amerind cultures and their associated environments in the New World tropics will be studied. Topics to be covered include the peopling of tropical America; development of hunting/gathering and agricultural economies; neotropical climate and vegetation history; and the material culture and social organization of native Americans. Field and laboratory experiences will incorporate methods and problems in field archaeology, paleoenthnobotany and paleoecology, and archaeozoology.
Instructors: Dolores R. Piperno, Anthony Ranere
Environmental Conflicts and Indigenous Media
The last decade has seen the rise of global Indigenous movements related to environmental concerns from the People's Agreement of Cochabamba to recent protests over pipelines in the U.S. and Canada. Concurrently, there has been a notable rise in the reach and presence of Indigenous media even as mainstream media have failed to provide accurate, fair, or consistent coverage. Drawing on Environmental, Media, Science, and Indigenous Studies scholarship, this course will examine persistent media critiques and emergent digital infrastructures that are rapidly changing what it means to both report on and participate in these social movements.
Instructors: Candis L. Callison
Native American History
This course offers an overview of Native American history, from the first arrival of humans in North America until the Red Power Movement of the 1960s. It has two central goals: to emphasize the variety of Native American societies and cultures that existed and exist in North America, and to highlight the centrality of Native American history to North American history as a whole. Readings will cover topics including King Philip's War, Pocahontas and Powhatan, Sacagawea, Indian Removal, Wounded Knee, Termination, boarding schools, and the Occupation of Alcatraz.
Instructors: Wendy Warren
Religion and Social Change in Early Latin America
In this course, we will grapple with the many paradoxes in the historical role of "religion" in people's lives and society in colonial Latin America. Subjects will include: religious change; Native American cosmologies; Indigenous Christianities; women and men's daily encounters with church institutions and their participation in devotional culture; historical dynamics of race, gender, and spiritual status; and the changing relationship between the church and state.
Instructors: Jessica Delgado
Seminar in Colonial Spanish American Literature: What We Talk About When We Talk About the Conquest of America
In studying colonial texts we inevitably bring into play our own particular historical consciousness, that is, our myths, prejudices, categories, understandings of objectivity and subjectivity, and a sense of being correct with respect to the beliefs of previous generations. We read primary sources in conjunction with texts informed by various theoretical strands in order to explore how Conquest was performed, questioned, resisted and understood and how we (who is this "we"?) understand them today.
Instructors: Nicole D. Legnani

Fall 2018

Indigenous Expressions: Native Christianities in Colonial Mexico
In this seminar, we will discuss ideas about conversion, authorship, translation, and histories in the context of Indigenous people's engagement with Christianity in colonial Mexico. In particular, we will be looking at the ways that Native Americans shaped Mexican Catholicism and the ways we can think of Indigenous people as authors and creators of their religious traditions rather than merely adopters or receivers of the Christian faith as taught by Spanish colonists.
Instructors: Jessica Delgado