Latin America & Caribbean Anthropology 2021

This was the homepage of the 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:

Unit 1: Origins of Latin America & the Caribbean

Anthropology, Latin America, and the Caribbean

Before the Europeans

Conquest, Colonialism, and Resistance

Unit 2: Colonial Legacies, Nationalities, Identities

Independence and Nation-Building

Cultural Politics of Race and Ethnicity

Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction

Religion and Everyday Life

Unit 3: Today in Latin America & the Caribbean

Food, Cuisine, and Cultural Expression

Striving For Health and Coping With Illness

Violence, Memory, and Justice

Neoliberalism, NAFTA, and Immigration

More Connections: Popular Culture, Tourism, and Digital Cultures

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 were 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.


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.

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