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AN237 – African Descendants in the Caribbean and Latin America

African Descendants in the Caribbean and Latin America explores and analyzes the legacy and modern-day realities of Afro-descendants throughout Latin America and the Caribbean with special emphasis on South America.

Instructor(s)

Eshe Lewis email

The current political climate in the United States has fostered ample discussions about the role of race in everyday life, politics, culture, and history. Media coverage suggests that the focal point of the African diaspora in the Americas is the US, however a southward glance reveals a different story that can disrupt North American understandings of race and ethnicity, particularly with regards to Africans and their descendants. Recently, the diverse trajectories of Afro-Latin Americans and corresponding conceptualizations that characterize Latin American and Caribbean societies have emerged in ways that overtly engage Americans and foster critical reflection, though they continue to be overlooked. In this introductory course we will explore and analyze the legacy and modern-day realities of Afro-descendants throughout Latin America and the Caribbean with special emphasis on South America. We begin by addressing the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the new societies and cultures that formed as a result of African enslavement, and the various forms of resistance that Afro-descendants engaged in, including religious practices, maroon communities, and individual acts of defiance. We will consider the changes in the meanings of race and ethnicity, identity construction, and women’s and gender issues from an anthropological perspective. This course ends by addressing social issues that Afro-descendant activists are championing in the present as they fight for individual and collective rights and dignity, even as they continue to grapple with the implications of identity politics.