Instructor: Professor Sonya Lipsett-Rivera

Course description: In 1925, Mexican philosopher and Secretary of Education, José Vasconselos published La Raza Cósmica in which he proposed a model for a “fifth” race—one in which race became obsolete because all the races had mixed so thoroughly. Why did an elite Mexican usher in the twentieth century with a utopian proposal for racial harmony? The answer can be found in the tensions arising for the clash between indigenous peoples and Spanish colonists as well as the African slave and freed persons who were the ingredients to this racial stew.

This class will start with a brief overview of the Aztec predecessors as well as the colonial period but will concentrate on the formation of nation and the revolutionary period in the twentieth century. We will follow the social tension up to and including the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre, the Zapatista uprising and the influence of drug trafficking.

The class is lecture based but we will discuss images, films, film clips as well as the readings. The course will be organized with both thematic and background lectures.


Two one and a half lectures