1. Week 1: Introduction to the course and Latin America
  2. Week 2: Modernity I
  3. Week 3: Modernity II
  4. Week 4: Early Films and Indigenous People
  5. Week 5: Colombia I
  6. Week 6: Colombia II
  7. Week 7: Colombia III
  8. Week 8: SPRING BREAK
  9. Week 9: Guatemala I
  10. Week 10: Guatemala II
  11. Week 11: Guatemala III
  12. Week 12: Recharge.
  13. Week 13: Andes I
  14. Week 14: Andes II
  15. Week 15: Andes III
  16. Week 16: Wrap it up!

Week 1: Introduction to the course and Latin America

We begin the semester thinking about colonial legacies in modern Latin America. Pay close attention to the problems that Stern identifies as enduring challenges rooted in Latin America’s colonial period.

January 25 (Tuesday)


January 27 (Thursday)


  • Steve Stern, “The Tricks of Time: Colonial Legacies and Historical Sensibilities in Latin America,” The Princeton University Library Chronicle 57.3 (Spring 1996), pp. 371-392.

DUE: Précis paragraph on Stern.

Week 2: Modernity I

In order to understand the relationship between Indigenous People and Modernity, we need to spend some time understanding theories and ideologies of the nation state, capitalism, development, and the order of things. This week and next, we will read both some general theory and work on Latin America.

Do your best to define the commercialization, marxist, and postcolonial explanation for the transition to capitalism.

February 1 (Tuesday)


  • Alex Anievas and Kerem Nisancioglu, How the West Came to Rule, pp. 13-42.

February 3 (Thursday)


  • Grandin, Blood, pp. 1-25.

DUE: Reaction paper on the transition to capitalism.

Week 3: Modernity II

February 8 (Tuesday)


  • Grandin, Blood, pp. 82-98.

February 10 (Thursday)


  • Rebecca Earle, “Patriotic History and the Pre-Columbian Past, The Return of the Indian, pp. 100-132.


  • Research Memo on Earle.

Week 4: Early Films and Indigenous People

Films: Wara Wara (1930), Saludos Amigos,

February 15 (Tuesday)


  • Rebecca Earle, “Citizenship and Civilization: The ‘Indian Problem’,” ppr. 161-183.

February 17 (Thursday)


  • None.

DUE: Research Memo on Earle.

Week 5: Colombia I

February 22 (Tuesday) Violence, Belief, Development


  • Britto, pp. 1-56.

February 24 (Thursday)



Research memo on Britto.

Week 6: Colombia II

Film: Embrace of the Serpent

March 1 (Tuesday)


  • Enrique Bernales Albites, “Indigenous Narratives of Creation and Origin in Embrace of the Serpent, by Ciro Guerra,” English Language Notes, 58.1 (April 2020), pp. 200-213.

March 3 (Thursday)

Read: Film Discussion

  • William T. Fischer, “Shamanism as a Strategy of Domination: BrujerÍa in the Ecuadorian Amazon in the Middle of the Twentieth Century,” The Latin Americanist, 65.3 (Sept 2021), pp. 341-366. Here.


Research memo on Fischer.

Week 7: Colombia III

Film: Pájaros de verano

March 8 (Tuesday) Film Discussion.


  • Britto, pp.57-89.

March 10 (Thursday) No class.


  • Britto, 116-146.


Colombia Paper on Britto and Films.


Enjoy your break. But not too much.

Week 9: Guatemala I

March 22 (Tuesday)


  • Grandin, 110-129.

March 24 (Thursday)


Grandin, 130-158.

DUE: Research memo on Grandin.

Week 10: Guatemala II

Film: Ixcanul

March 29 (Tuesday)


  • Grandin, 159-197.

March 31 (Thursday) Film Discussion.


  • Amanda Alfaro Córdoba, “Can Maria Speak? Interpreting Ixcanul/Volcano (2015) from a Decolonial Perspective,” Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinema.

DUE: Research memo on Grandin.

Week 11: Guatemala III

Film: La Llorona

April 5 (Tuesday)


  • Commission for Historical Clarification, “Acts of Genocide,” The Guatemala Reader.

  • US State Department and Embassy in Guatemala, “We Cannot Confirm nor Deny,” The Guatemala Reader.

April 7 (Thursday): Discussion of La Llorona.

DUE: Guatemala paper on Grandin and Films.

Week 12: Recharge.

April 12 (Tuesday) Recharge your batteries for the final push.

April 14 (Thursday) No Class

Week 13: Andes I

April 19 (Tuesday): New Social Movements in the Andes


  • Debora Yashar, Contesting Citizenship in Latin America, pp. 54-84.

April 21 (Thursday): Oil, Army, Missionary


  • Derrick Hindery, From Enron to Evo, pp. 27-51.

DUE: Reserach memo on Yashar or Hindery.

Week 14: Andes II

Film: Cocalero

April 26 (Tuesday): Bolivia’s resource wars.


  • Rachel Gutierrez Aguilar, Rhythms, pp. 3-27, 99-128.

April 28 (Thursday): Discuss Cocalero.

Week 15: Andes III

Film: Opening the Earth: The Potato King

May 3 (Tuesday). Discussion of Opening the Earth.


  • Earth Beings

May 5 (Thursday): The future of Indigenous politics?


DUE: Andes film paper. Chose one film, and one book.

Week 16: Wrap it up!

May 10 (Tuesday)