Peruvian social thinker José Carlos Mariátegui called for the invention of a Latin American Marxism that would serve as “neither blueprint nor copy” (ni calco ni copia) of its European forbearers. Rather than studying the reception of Marxist theory in Latin America, this course will examine the ways in which leftist thinkers and artists produced new theories and forms in an attempt to respond to the historic specificity of the social processes and political movements around them. Beginning with the evolution of Marx’s own thought on the potential for socialist revolution in Latin America, we will read and analyze social theory, narrative, film and ethnography in order to grasp the disjunctive and overlapping historical temporalities and social forms that characterize the articulation of capitalism in Latin America, as well as the unique political movements and theories that responded to it. In so doing, we will address questions such as the role of Spanish colonialism in the birth of the global capitalism; the co-existence and transformation of pre-capitalist and capitalist societies; the question of the nation as ideology and as political tool; the relationship between economic underdevelopment and political insurrection; and the dynamics of exploitation and political organization contemporarily. Authors to be studied include Marx, Martí, Mariátegui, Zavaleta Mercado, García Linera and Svampa, among others.
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