Brooke Larson

I received my doctoral degree in 1978 from Columbia University, where I wrote a dissertation on the social transformation of native Andean peoples under Spanish rule in a region of highland Bolivia. I also began my teaching career at Columbia, by teaching a two-semester course in Columbia College’s Contemporary Civilization (”great books”) program. Since then, I have taught at Williams College, Columbia University, the New School for Social Research, and SUNY-Stony Brook. In between, I had the privilege of serving as the senior Staff Associate for the Latin American and Caribbean Program of the Social Science Research Council (1981-83). There, I worked with other scholars and staff to develop a wide variety of interdisciplinary research projects on Latin America. I joined Stony Brook’s History Department in 1984 and later served as Director of Stony Brook’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies program. In the meantime, I have served on the editorial boards of the Hispanic American Historical Review, The Americas, Colonial Latin American Research Review (as a co-founding member of the journal), and The American Historical Review, as well as on various CLAH program committees, the 1998 LASA program committee, and the Executive Board and President of the New England Council on Latin America (NECLAS). I am currently serving as the History Department's Director of Graduate Studies.

Posts by Brooke Larson

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.

Curriculum Vitae
SBS S-333
Research Interests
My research interests in Latin America revolve around the historic struggles of Andean indigenous peoples for land, community, identity, and rights under Spanish colonial rule and the postcolonial republics. More recently, I have concentrated on the resurgence of modern ethnic movements under the modernizing Bolivian state in the early 20th century.

I am currently researching a book-length manuscript, tentatively entitled: Aymara Indians and the Lettered City. Struggles over power, knowledge, and identity in the Bolivian Andes. This book probes the ideological battles, cultural politics, and grassroots social practices of rural Indian school reform and popular literacy in the Andean countryside. On a larger plane, it uses the case of Aymara cultural struggles to raise larger postcolonial dilemmas of pluriethnic nation making in the context of stark racial, ethnic, and class inequality.

As a teacher, my interests are broad and interdisciplinary. They range from topics on colonialism and comparative frontiers to the problems of race and nation making in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Scholarly Works
Trials of Nation Making. Liberalism, Race, and Ethnicity in the Andes, 1810-1910. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

(An earlier, Spanish-language version the above book was published as, Indígenas, élites, y estado en la formación de las repúblicas andinas, 1850-1910. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Andinos/Universidad Católica del Perú, 2002.)

Cochabamba, 1550-1900. Colonialism and Agrarian Transformation in Bolivia. Durham: Duke University Press, 1998. , xxvii + 422 pp. (Expanded edition of my 1988 book, with a new prologue, final chapter, and forward by Wlliam Roseberry.)

Ethnicity, Markets, and Migration in the Andes: At the Crossroads of History and Anthropology. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995. 428 pp. (Co-edited with Olivia Harris and Enrique Tandeter.)

Colonialism and Agrarian Transformation in Bolivia: Cochabamba 1550-1900. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988. 375 pp. (Winner of NECLAS Best Book Award, 1990.)