GENDER ISSUES IN LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY:
GENDER & NATION
Mr. Volk (Rice 209; x8522)
Tu: 7:30-9:30 PM
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve_Volk@qmgate.cc.oberlin.edu
This year, the seminar on gender in Latin American history will focus on gender relations and the ways they affect and are affected by national projects and processes. We will examine the ways in which nations, as public spaces, are configured as masculine and the consequent problematic which that creates for women who seek "incorporation" into the newly emergent or already existing nation. We must also recognize, however, that women have always been central to the constructions and reproductions of the nation – they are not "newcomers" to the national arena.
If this course is primarily developed around the nature of the woman-nation relationship, it is not solely about women, for one must understand "womanhood" as a relational category. Thus, we will explore the ways in which the constructions of nation and nationalisms usually involve very specific notions of "manhood" as well as "womanhood."
Our investigations of gender and nation will span the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the period during which independent states first took their shape and then developed. We will use as texts a wide range of materials, from historical monographs, novels, testimonial literature, film, etc.
Frieda Kahlo, "Roots"
The seminar will be a student-led, discussion-format class. All students are expected to take part in the discussions. To do this, you will need to have finished the readings prior to the class meeting. There is a significant amount of reading, so you need to plan to make sure that it gets done in a timely fashion. As discussion leaders, you will be expected to provide discussion questions or guidance on the Alta Vista Forum by Friday afternoon prior to the Tuesday during which you will lead the discussion. (Information on the AVF will be provided in class.) Click here to link to the Alta Vista Forum directly: http://www.oberlin.edu/~www/aca/dispatch.cgi
As mentioned above, students are expected to keep up with the reading and to come to class prepared. All students will serve as discussion leaders for at least two classes (the total depending on the number of students in the course).
Feb. 17: Theorizing Women's Role in the Nation: Sashi and Sarah
Feb. 24: Women's Legal and Economic Integration into the Nation: Lauren and Mari
March 3: Rethinking "Civilization and Barbarism" from a Feminist Perspective: Matt, Priya
March 10: Gender, Race and Nation (Sab): Allana and Libby
March 17: Gender, Race and Nation (Birds Without a Nest): Michele and Mari
March 31: Science and Women: Positivism, Gender and the Nation: Lauren and Libby
April 7: Modernity and Prostitution: Kayla, Lisa, and Sarah
April 14: Mapping the New Revolutionary Community, Mexico: Matt and Allana
April 21: Gender and Dictatorship: Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo: Kayla, Sashi, Lisa
April 28: Refashioning Women's Role in the Post-Dictatorial Era: Michele and Priya
In addition, you are required to complete three projects over the course of the semester. In the normal course of events, these will be 5-7 page papers on topics that will either be assigned or decided upon collectively. But you are also encouraged to think of other ways to approach your assignments. I am quite willing to entertain proposals for projects that are prepared as art works, music, drama, video, or in any other medium. These will need to be cleared by me when the project is first assigned. You are also permitted (and encouraged) to do up to two of the three projects as joint work with a maximum of three people. One project will need to be an individual project. In the case of joint projects, you will need to clear this with me prior to beginning your project. If you do more than one joint project, the second project must be with different collaborators than your first project.
These projects are due on the day assigned in the syllabus. Assignments turned in late without prior authorization will be marked down one grade-step for each day that it is late. For example, a paper that is due on February 23 but turned in on February 26, will be marked down two grade-steps (e.g., from a B+ to a B-).
Please note that you must use computers responsibly. Computers, particularly those on a network, are always crashing. You must be responsible for saving to disk frequently so that when the computer crashes, you have only lost the last paragraph. You must also save copies of your papers (or your computer files) until the end of the course in case there is any problem verifying that you did turn in your work. Finally, note that I will not accept your last project beyond the last day of the reading period unless you have an official incomplete. There are no exceptions to this.
Your final grade will be determined by the three projects, each of which will make up 25% of the grade. The final quarter of your grade will be determined by your participation in class, including your role as discussion leader as well as your attendance. Again, I expect all students to participate in the discussion. I am interested in seeing that each of you plays an active role in the class and that you engage intelligently in the discussions.
I am available to discuss any aspect of your grades throughout the semester. If for any reason you feel that you are inhibited from participating in the class discussions due to any particular dynamic that has been created, the actions of particular students, or my own participation, please raise the issue in class, with other students, or directly with me. You can do that in person or via my email, if you find it easier to converse through cyberspace.
BOOKS RECOMMENDED FOR PURCHASE
Sonia Alvarez, Engendering Democracy in Brazil: Women’s Movements in Transition Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 1990.
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London and New York: Verso), 1991.
Silvia Arrom, the Women of Mexico City, 1790-1857 (Stanford: Stanford University Press), 1985.
Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 1993.
Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga, "Sab" and "Autobiography" (Austin: University of Texas Press), 1993. [1841, 1839].
Donna Guy, Sex and Danger in Buenos Aires: Prostitution, Family and Nation in Argentina (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press), 1991.
Clorinda Matto de Turner, Birds Without a Nest (Austin: University of Texas Press), 1996 .
Nancy Leys Stephan, "The Hour of Eugenics": Race, Gender and Nation in Argentina (Ithaca: Cornell University Press), 1991.
Feb. 10: Theorizing the Nation
Reading: Benedict Anderson, The Imagined Community, rev. ed. (London and New York: Verso), 1991. Preface, Chapters 1-6 (to pg. 111).
Article set from Geoff Eley and Ronald Grigor Suny, Becoming National (NY: Oxford), 1996: Ernest Renan, "What is a Nation?"; Etienne Balibar, "The Nation Form: History and Ideology;" Prasenjit Duara, "Historicising National Identity or Who Imagines What and When," pp. 42-55; 132-149; 151-177.
For a very interesting discussion in 1996 of Anderson's Imagined Communities at the National Humanities Center (he was supposed to be the featured speaker but couldn't get there!), see: http://www.nhc.rtp.nc.us:8080/sawyer/octmeet.htm The discussion specifically begins with a discussion of his lack of attention to gender and recommends further readings in the Becoming National collection.
Feb. 17: Theorizing Women’s Role in the Nation
Reading: Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 1993.
Sarah Radcliffe and Sallie Westwood, "Gender and National Identities: Masculinities, Feminities and Power," in Remaking the Nation. Place, Identity and Politics in Latin America (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), pp. 134-159.
For an interview with Partha Chatterjee: http://www.umich.edu/~iinet/journal/vol2no3/twohats.html
Feb. 24: Women’s Legal and Economic Integration into the Nation
Reading: Silvia Marina Arrom, The Women of Mexico City, 1790-1857 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985), Chapters 1-4 (skimming Chapter 3), pp. 1-205.
Steve J. Stern, The Secret History of Gender: Women, Men and Power in Late Colonial Mexico (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press), 1995: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=25671851617106
FIRST PROJECT DUE IN CLASS: MARCH 3
March 3: Rethinking "Civilization and Barbarism" from a Feminist Perspective: Reconsidering Sarmiento
Reading: Elizabeth Garrels, "Sarmiento and the Question of Woman: From 1839 to Facundo," in Tulio Halperín Donghi, Iván Jaksić, Gwen Kirkpatrick, and Francine Masiello, eds., Sarmiento: Author of a Nation (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994), pp. 272-293.
Francine Masiello, "Introduction," and "Between Civilization and Barbarism: Gendered Struggles in the Nineteenth Century," in Between Civilization & Barbarism: Women, Nation, and Literary Culture in Modern Argentina (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), pp. 1-51.
José Marmol, author of Amalia
March 10: Gender, Race, and Nation: A 19th Century Novelist (1)
Reading: Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga, Sab and Autobiography (Austin: University of Texas Press), 1993. Read the "Introduction" and "Sab."
March 17: Gender, Race, and Nation: A 19th Century Novelist (2)
Reading: Clorinda Matto de Turner, Birds without a Nest (Austin: University of Texas Press), 1996.
March 24: Spring Break
March 31: Science and Women: Positivism, Gender, and the Nation
Reading: Nancy Leys Stephan, "The Hour of Eugenics": Race, Gender and Nation in Latin America (Ithaca: Cornell University Press), 1991.
Review of Asuncion Lavrin, Women, Feminism, and Social Change in Argentina,Chile, and Uruguay, 1890-1940 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press), 1995: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=15598846623666
SECOND PROJECT DUE IN CLASS: APRIL 7
April 7: Modernity and Prostitution
Reading: Donna Guy, Sex and Danger in Buenos Aires: Prostitution, Family, and Nation in Argentina (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press), 1991.
April 14: Mapping the New Revolutionary Community: Mexico and Frieda Kahlo
Reading: Florencia E. Mallon, "The Conflictual Construction of Community: Gender, Ethnicity, and Hegemony," in Peasant and Nation: The Making of Postcolonial Mexico and Peru (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), pp. 63-88.
Links to Frieda Kahlo pages: http://www.cascade.net/klinks.html
Frieda Kahlo: "Self-Portrait as Tehuana", 1943
April 21: Gender and Dictatorship: Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo
Reading: Marguerite Guzman Bouvard, Revolutionizing Motherhood: The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources), 1994.
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo: http://www.best.com/~arielf/vanished/madres.html
Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (English): http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/arg/
Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo: http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/arg/
HIJOS: Sons and Daughters of the Disappeared: http://www.hijos.org/
Review of Matilde Mellibovsky, Circle of Love Over Death: The Story of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press), 1997: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=10775885852171
April 28: Refashioning Women’s Role in the Post-Dictatorial Era
Reading: Sonia Alvarez, Engendering Democracy in Brazil: Women’s Movements in Transition Politics (Princeton: Princeton U. Press), 1990.
Women's Net: http://www.igc.org/igc/womensnet/index.html
Review of Lois M. Smith and Alfred Padula, Sex and Revolution: Women in Socialist Cuba (New York: Oxford University Press), 1996: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=21721849827241
May 5: Conclusion: Summing Up
FINAL PROJECT DUE BY NOON, MAY 9: NO EXTENSIONS WITHOUT AN OFFICIAL INCOMPLETE.