Artists, Intellectuals, and Social Change in Latin America
Professor Patrick Iber
Spring 2014 / 2303 Dwinelle / F 2-4PM
Latin American history has featured horrific dictatorships and turbulent revolutions. In spite of this instability, or perhaps because of it, the region has also consistently produced one first-class export: the work of its artists, writers, and intellectuals. This course looks at the myth and reality of Latin American intellectuals—often said to be more influential politically than in any other region of the world—over the course of the region’s modern history. (Gabriel García Márquez once quipped that “In the history of power in Latin America, there are only military dictatorships or intellectuals.”) How have Latin American artists and writers used their cultural production to expose injustice? When have those attempts made things better, and when worse? By looking at the historical literature—supplemented with poetry, memoir, painting, and film—this course will examine the important role of Latin American intellectuals in creating social change in the region.
Angel Rama, The Lettered City, Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1996, ~$22.
Jorge Coronado, The Andes Imagined: Indigenismo, Society, and Modernity, Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009, ~$27.
Jorge Castañeda, Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara, New York: Vintage, 1998, ~$15. (Kindle edition available for $12.)
Jorge Edwards, Persona non grata: A Memoir of Disenchantment with the Cuban Revolution, New York: Nation Books, 2004. Kindle edition is available for $10, and many used copies for $1 and up.)
David Craven, Art and Revolution in Latin America, 1910-1990, 2nd edition, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006, $30.
Salman Rushdie, The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey, New York: Random House, 2008, $14.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, The Accidental President of Brazil, New York: PublicAffairs, 2007, $12.
Presentation: Starting in week 3, our discussion will be led by a student who has prepared a short presentation of approximately10-15 minutes, drawing out the major questions raised by the week’s readings. Presentations should be practiced and polished, and end by posing one or two central questions to begin discussion.
For the rest of your grade, you should write approximately 20 pages. You can choose how to distribute those pages either as a) five short review papers; b) a mixture of review papers and a shorter final; or c) a long final.
- Short review papers of approximately four pages are to be turned in before class in any week of the quarter. You are free to write in the form that you choose, but each paper should be an essay that relates that week’s reading to at least one of the major themes of the course: intellectual responsibility, the relationship of events to the formation of political opinion, or the impact of the intellectual on politics, etc.
- Whether short or long, I suggest two formats for final papers but I am open to alternate plans. The first suggestion is to find an intellectual or literary review and examine it in its most important year(s). What was its project, politically and aesthetically? What did it expect to achieve its goals? Who contributed to it and why? As a useful exercise, I would encourage you to do this without consulting the secondary literature. An alternative final paper structure would involve writing a short biography of an intellectual of interest to you.
- All writers who strive to write good prose would do well to read George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” at least once a year: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm
Your grade will be calculated as 20% discussion; 20% presentation; 60% papers.
Week 1, January 24: The problems of Latin American intellectuals
To read and discuss in class:
Charles Kurzman and Lynn Owens, “The Sociology of Intellectuals,” Annual Review of Sociology 28 (2002): 63-90.
Week 2, January 31: The Lettered City
Ángel Rama, The Lettered City
Week 3, February 7: The making of the modern
Nicola Miller, “Intellectuals and the Modernizing State in Spanish America,” and “From Ariel to Caliban: Anti-imperialism among Spanish-American Intellectual,” In the Shadow of the State: Intellectuals and the Quest for National Identity in Twentieth-Century Spanish America, pp. 43-94, 174-209
José Enrique Rodó, Ariel, 31-32, 70-101
Mauricio Tenorio, “Stereophonic Scientific Modernisms: Social Science between Mexico and the United States, 1880s-1930s,” The Journal of American History 86, no. 3, (Dec. 1999): 1156-1187.
Week 4, February 14: Nation, State, and Revolution
David Craven, Art and Revolution in Latin America, Introduction and The Mexican Revolution, pp. 1-73
Helen Delpar, “Mexican Culture, 1920-1945,” pp. 543-572 from The Oxford History of Mexico
Deborah Cohn, “The Mexican Intelligentsia, 1950-1968: Cosmopolitanism, National Identity, and the State,” Mexican Studies / Estudios Mexicanos 21, no. 1 (Winter 2005): 141-182.
Week 5, February 21: Reinventing Marxism without a Proletariat
Jorge Coronado, The Andes Imagined
Week 6, February 28: Theories of Dependency
Joseph Love, “Economic ideas and ideologies in Latin America since 1930,” from Ideas and Ideologies in Twentieth-Century Latin America, 207-274
Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Enzo Falletto, Dependency and Development in Latin America, pp. vii-xxv
André Gunder Frank, “Foreign Investment in Latin American Underdevelopment,” in Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America: Historical Studies of Chile and Brazil, pp. 281-318
Week 7, March 7: The Cuban Dilemma
Film in class: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Memories of Underdevelopment
There is no reading this week, but next week’s book is long so get started.
Week 8, March 14: Making heroes into intellectuals
Jorge G. Castañeda, Compañero
March 24-28: SPRING BREAK
Week 9, March 21: The Culture of Solidarity
Craven, “The Cuban Revolution,” 75-116
Mario Vargas Llosa, “Literature is Fire”
Jean Franco, “Liberated Territories,” from The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City, 86-117 [available in electronic form through oskicat]
Roberto Fernández Retamar, “Calibán: Notes Towards a Discussion of Culture in Our America,” in Caliban and Other Essays, 3-45
Week 10, April 4: The Pain of Solidarity
Jorge Edwards, Persona non grata
Heberto Padilla, Fuera del juego, “En tiempos difíciles,” “Los poetas cubanos ya no sueñan,” and “Fuera del juego”
Week 11, April 11: Theology of Liberation
Enrique Dussel, “A note on liberation theology,” from Ideas and Ideologies in Latin America, ed. Leslie Bethell, 275-285
David Craven, “The Nicaraguan Revolution,” 117-175
Rushdie, The Jaguar Smile
Week 12, April 18: Socialists for capitalism
Jean Franco, “Killing them Softly: The Cold War and Culture,” from The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City, 21-56 [available in electronic form through oskicat]
Efraín Kristal, The Temptation of the Word, pp. 69-112
Alma Guillermoprieto, “The Bitter Education of Vargas Llosa,” in Looking for History, 155-177
Week 13, April 25: Sociologists for capitalism
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, The Accidental President of Brazil
Week 14, May 2: Conclusions
Jorge Ibargüengoitia, “La Ley de Herodes,” pp. 19-23
James Petras, “The Metamorphosis of Latin America’s Intellectuals,” Latin American Perspectives 17, no. 2 (Spring 1990): 102-112.
Jorge Castañeda, “Changing of the Guard: From Intellectuals to the Grass Roots,” from Utopia Unarmed, 175-202.