2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

Re-Interpreting Liberation: Third World Movements and Migration


Fall 2011, Winter 2012 and Spring 2012 quarters

Therese Saliba international feminism, Middle East studies, English , Alice Nelson (F,W) Spanish language, Latin American studies , Savvina Chowdhury feminist economics
Fields of Study
cultural studies, economics, gender and women's studies, history and literature
Preparatory for studies or careers in
education, international studies, community advocacy and foreign service.

For centuries, shouts of liberation have echoed through the streets, from Kolkata, India, to Caracas, Venezuela. Today, new movements are afoot, inviting us to re-visit the question, "What does independence mean in the cultural, historical, political and economic context of the global South?" Third World liberation movements that arose in the aftermath of World War II did so not only as organized resistance to colonial forms of oppression and domination, but also as attempts to reconceptualize an alternative, anti-imperial and anti-racist world view. While gaining some measure of political independence, nations such as India, Egypt, Algeria, Mexico and Nicaragua found that they remained enmeshed in neo-colonial relations of exploitation vis-à-vis the former colonial masters. Their post-colonial experience with nation-building bears witness to the actuality that political liberation remains inseparable from economic independence.

Through the disciplinary lenses of literature, cultural studies, political economy and feminist theory, this program will explore how various ideas of liberation (sometimes complementary, sometimes contradictory) have emerged and changed over time, in the contexts of Latin America, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. We will explore religious, national, gender, ethnic and cultural identities that shape narratives of liberation through the discourses of colonialism, neocolonialism, religious traditions and other mythic constructions of the past. We will examine how deep structural inequalities have produced the occupation and partitioning of land, and migrations, both forced and "chosen."

With emphasis on a variety of texts, we will examine the ways in which authors revisit their histories of European and U.S. colonialism and imperialism, question the ways stories have been written, and seek to tell another story, re-interpreting liberation. In fall, we will explore several historical models of liberation and critique dominant representations of Third World nations. We will focus especially on India's path to independence, the Algerian and Cuban revolutions, Egypt/Arab Nationalism, the Chilean Road to Socialism, and connect resistance in Chile under Pinochet to Lebanon in the 1980s. In winter, we will move forward chronologically, and our cases will include: Iran and Nicaragua in the late 1970s and 1980s (with emphasis on theologies of liberation and the Iran-Contra affair), the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, the indigenous, post-nationalist resistance movements in Chiapas and India, the state-led Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, the Green Movement in Iran today, and opposition to U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We will look at feminist involvement in each of these contexts, as well as the role of U.S. foreign and economic policy in suppressing liberatory movements.

In spring quarter, we will focus on migration as a legacy of colonial relations, now reconstituted through neoliberal structural adjustment, combined with heightened militarization and corporate control. We will examine the day-to-day realities of dislocation through the literature of various diasporas, and the quest for community, sovereignty and economic security in the post 9-11 era.

One aspect of this program includes participation in the campus Spring Symposium, "The Occupy Movement: Uprisings at Home and Abroad" to be held Thursday evenings 6-9pm.

Academic Website
Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
Fall $100/Winter $50/Spring $20 for field trips and supplies.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
March 15th, 2012 Signature required for spring enrollment.
March 6th, 2012 Fee reduced.
November 22nd, 2011 This program will accept new winter enrollment, with signature.
September 12th, 2011 A fee has been added for a field trip.