Amy J. Reed-Sandoval
What is Latin American Philosophy? A 2011 episode of Philosophy Talk offered the following tentative answers to this question: (1) Latin American Philosophy features “contemporary echoes of Indigenous philosophical ideas dating even from Pre-Columbian times”; (2) its social and political philosophy reflects Latin America’s long struggle against European and American (US) tyranny, and bears a strong activist component; (3) it sometimes (but, importantly, does not always) feature a controversial “universalist strand” of metaphysics and epistemology that borrows from European and Anglo-American philosophical ideas; (4) it grapples with the question of what, if anything, constitutes “Latin American identity”; and (5) it strives to develop a clear Latin American (and non-Anglo/European) philosophical perspective.
This course offers a survey of thinkers who have attempted, in very different ways, to respond to these philosophical challenges. Starting with ancient Aztec poems and ending with modern-day Liberation Philosophy, we will explore, discuss, and critically evaluate philosophical contributions to some of the most pressing questions—political, epistemological and metaphysical—to have emerged from the Latin American context. By the end of the course, you should have much to say in response to the question of just what, if anything, characterizes Latin American Philosophy. You will have also contributed to the growing literature on this subject by producing an innovative paper on one of our central course themes.
Required Texts: 1. Gloria Anzaldúa. 1987. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (Third Edition). San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books 2. Leonardo Boff and Clodovis Boff. 1986. Introducing Liberation Theology. Great Britain: Burns & Oates/Search Press Ltd 3. Rigoberta Menchú. 1984. I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala. London: Verso 4. José Vasconcelos. 1979 (first Spanish edition published 1925). The Cosmic Race/La raza cósmica. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press 5. Peter Wade. 1997. Race and Ethnicity in Latin America. London: Pluto Press
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading