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COMPLIT 253: Losing My Mind: Madness, Race, and Gender in Latin America (ILAC 253, ILAC 353)

What does it mean to lose our minds? Is the mind even ours to lose? How do race, gender, and social status inform our understandings and experiences of insanity? In this bilingual course we will explore figurations of madness, mental illnesses, and other kinds of crises of the self in Latin American cultural objects, from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. We will examine testimonies of religious experiences, novels, medical treatises, short stories, intimate diaries, and visual materials on disorderly states of mind and fragmented identities produced in territories that are today Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Perú, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic, among others. In our examination of these objects and their historical contexts, we will discuss how colonial and state authorities have used psychiatric labels to control and regulate the lives of Afro-descendants and women in Latin American territories. We will also examine the ways in which men and women of color navigated through these labels in order to evade punishment, engage in creative processes, or simply live their lives. Readings will be in Spanish and English (when translated from Portuguese). Advanced knowledge of Spanish is required.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5
Instructors: Fraga, I. (PI)
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