Debates in Latin American Social Theory

Midterm Review

I. Entry Engagement

Propose a question on “Maroon Logics” for Pedro Lebrón Ortiz. (Re: Presentation: “An Indestructible Life: Reflections on Marronage”)

I. Review

In five groups, discuss the following key points from our sources and class discussions.

Euro Modernity: Enter the West

.Conquest (war against the natives) and Imperialism (turning lands into territories) (Lenape/ Zavala Guillén)

.Indigenous genocide and displacement (Lenape)

.Cultural erasure

.Ecological catastrophe

.How to return/regenerate cohabitate in ancestral lands? How to recuperate and center on ancestral knowledge and ways of being in the present? (Lenape/Gumbs)

The Slave Trade

.Labor shortage (mining and agriculture) due to indigenous genocide and displacement.

. European powers decide to capture Africans to supply a forced workforce in the Americas. Race as a modern phenomenon/construct emerges (Mbembe)

.Indigenous and African people become the other to whiteness (Mbembe/ Girmay)

.Slavery changes from an institution based mainly on the subjugation of prisoners to the subjugation of racialized people. (Mbembe)

The Subject of Race

.The noun Black is conceived of through two distinct perspectives/discourses:

(1) less than human (those who are not us [European men]); objects; brute workforce; those without culture, language, civilization, beauty; those we don’t need to document in the official archive. (Mbembe/ Zavala Guillén/ Lebrón Ortiz)

(2)Africans and Afro-descendants in cultural and socio-political solidarity. How to return/regenerate ancestral cultures/languages/ecosystems? How to recuperate and center on ancestral knowledge and ways of being in the present? (Mbembe/ Lebrón Ortiz/ Diegues and Gil/ Girmay/ Brown)

Black Resistance and Rebellion

.Marronage: self-emancipation; fleeing from the plantation; waging war on colonial authorities or creating remote settlements without confrontation (Zavala Guillén/ Lebrón Ortiz/ Diegues and Gil/ Brown/ Girmay)

.Analectical marronage:  It is an affirmation of the humanity, knowledge, and value of African people. Made manifest in the exteriority of Euromodernity. (Lebrón Ortiz/ Diegues and Gil/ Girmay)

.Communities of in-betweenness: hybrid cultural spaces (Black, indigenous, marginalized/radical criollos); negotiations with colonial authorities (freedom and political power at the price of being co-opted) (Zavala Guillén/ Diegues and Gil)

The Past is the Present is the Future

Anti-blackness and nationhood: the possibilities of national belonging are fractured because of racism (micro and macro aggressions), state-sanctioned violence, and socio-cultural erasure (Girmay/ Brown)

*the issue is NOT the color of anybody’s skin but race as a structure of power (Mbembe/Girmay)

Learning from Maroon Communities: survival skills, creativity, resourcefulness, drive towards freedom and worlds otherwise, cut the dependency on the state and coloniality at large (Lebrón Ortiz/ Girmay/  Brown)

Maroon communities and ecological thought/practices:  relating not just between humans but between all living organisms. Recognizing the duty to take care of life, the whole of life on the planet. (Lebrón Ortiz/ Girmay)

III. Midterm Workshop: In Pairs


1. Think about these questions:

What project are you inclined to do?

What question are you planning to choose?

Where are you at in the process? What steps do you need to take to complete the project?

2. Share your plans with a partner

3. Report on the plans you heard.