Latin America & Caribbean Anthropology 2021

This was the homepage of the January 2021 anthropology course using the second edition of The Anthropology of Latin America and the Caribbean by Harry Sanabria. The course tackled this enormous range of material by concentrating on processes and themes across the Americas. The course outline corresponded to the chapters in the Sanabria textbook, and we blogged our way through. Here is the complete playlist of recorded YouTube lectures.

For the 2021-2022 academic year I am not scheduled to teach an anthropology course on Latin America. I will be teaching a new first-year seminar course called Upstate Latinx using a book titled Latina/o Studies. Hopefully there will be some thematic overlap.

Unit 1: Origins of Latin America & the Caribbean

1. Anthropology, Latin America, and the Caribbean

2. Before the Europeans

3. Conquest, Colonialism, and Resistance

Unit 2: Colonial Legacies, Nationalities, Identities

4. Independence and Nation-Building

5. Cultural Politics of Race and Ethnicity

6. Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction

7. Religion and Everyday Life

Unit 3: Today in Latin America & the Caribbean

8. Food, Cuisine, and Cultural Expression

9. Striving For Health and Coping With Illness

10. Violence, Memory, and Justice

11. Neoliberalism, NAFTA, and Immigration

12. More Connections: Popular Culture, Tourism, and Digital Cultures

13. Colorism, COVID, Climate

Sanabria, Latin America & Caribbean

After using the first edition of the Sanabria textbook for previous courses, I was able to try out the second edition in 2020. In general, I think Sanabria did smart work with his update. He actually shortened(!) the textbook, cutting away many of the too-esoteric references and “debates” that were mostly within anthropology. Sanabria’s inclusion of many examples in the United States fits with the approach to teach on the Americas rather than attempting to draw culture boundaries.

However, there are three things that seem to be missing from the textbook:

  1. Colorism. Somewhat strangely, there is no discussion of colorism in the chapter on Race and Ethnicity. Colorism has been a huge issue across the Americas, and although some of our best insights come from Latin American and Caribbean examples, colorism is a topic that needs more attention in the United States as well.
  2. Climate Crisis. Although every so often Sanabria mentions climate change, the textbook really needs a whole chapter on environmental issues in the Americas.
  3. Coronavirus. Admittedly this is something Sanabria could not have anticipated. He does include material on Zika and Ebola.

I tried to tackle these three themes in my final class on Colorism, COVID, Climate.

Reflecting on the Americas

This webpage is part of a series of posts about teaching anthropology of Latin America and the Caribbean. The series includes:

These posts are all cataloged in the Latin America index tag for the site, which also includes related blog-posts.


Living Anthropologically means documenting history, interconnection, and power during a time of global transformation. We need to care for others as we attempt to build a world together. This blog is a personal project of Jason Antrosio, author of Fast, Easy, and In Cash: Artisan Hardship and Hope in the Global Economy. For updates, follow on Twitter, watch on YouTube, or subscribe to e-mail list.

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