History 534 — Race and Nation-Making in the Americas

This course will examine the formation of racial, ethnic and national identities in different American contexts in the modern era. We will begin with broad synthetic approaches to the history of racial discourses and their sociopolitical uses in the formation of modern nations, empires, and market economies. In this course, I want to look at the plural Americas as a collection of postcolonial, modernizing societies trying to come to terms with the stark legacies of colonialism and slavery-namely, large (often, unruly) popular cultures of Africans, Indians, and all variety of mestizos and mamelucos. We will see how concepts of race and ethnicity got constructed in particular historical moments of national flux and need, and how racial-cultural discourses infiltrated and shaped specific forms of power, social reform, and domains of knowledge and identity.

Sample Readings:

Kenan Malik, The Meaning of Race. Race, History and Culture in Western Society.

Davd Theo Goldberg, Racist Culture. Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning.

Ada Ferrer, Insurgent Cuba. Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898.

Mathew Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color. European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race.

Nancy Leys Stepan, The Hour of Eugenics. Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America.

Michael George Hanchard, Orpheus and Power. The Movimento Negro of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil, 1945-1988.

David Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness. Race and the Making of the American Working Class. Revised Edition.

Deborah Poole, Vision, Race, and Modernity. A Visual Economy of the Andean Image World.