This course revolves around the short, creative life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, one of the most prominent figures in art history, as a window to the cultural and political revolution that shaped Mexico's identity in the twentieth century and continues to influence Latinos today. Through Frida's life and artwork, we see how two international influences in Mexico's cultural and political life—Soviet politics and French surrealism—merged with national agendas that sought to redefine Mexico's identity through the integration of their indigenous heritage. The result was a time of booming creativity in the arts, radical expansion of educational and political agendas, as well as a redefinition of women's identity, sexuality, and the Mexican family. We trace her romantic and artistic relationship with Diego Rivera and explore her impact on the intensely creative social circle that included composer Carlos Chávez, photographers Lola Álvarez Bravo and Manual Álvarez Bravo as well as Tina Modotiti. Finally, the course includes a visit to the Fogg Museum for local students to see some of the Mexican muralist art work on display, and also a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the painting by Frida Kahlo, Dos mujeres. (Salvadora y Herminia).
This seminar explores the culture and politics of American imperialism from the late 19th century to the present, with particular attention to race and gender. This writing and discussion-intensive course encourages students to examine how formal and informal imperial relations developed, and to analyze how American empire functioned on the ground for those who imposed it and those who resisted, appropriated, or accommodated it. The course focuses especially on American relations with Asia and Latin America, and topics include immigration, military occupation, gendered and racialized cultural engagement, international adoption, humanitarianism, and international development. Assigned readings bring together scholarship from American Studies, Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, and American History.
While some claim that global feminism is made possible by a shared common condition among women, others argue that power differentials make such claims nonsensical. What does transnational feminism mean for politics today? Can it be democratic? How have historical figures attempted to think and act on a world stage? This course offers a broad overview of transnational feminism through one genealogy of its appearances in theoretical, social movement, and institutional forms. This is a junior tutorial.
Feminism shapes the world we live in today. Debates about women's and sexual rights define almost every public debate today -- from sexual harassment, to electoral politics, to development, public health, and human rights. But when, and where, did ideas of women's equal rights and liberation emerge? This course digs into the deep history of feminism from a global perspective. It traces the intimate relationship between feminism, colonialism, and racism in case studies from America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, from the eighteenth century until today. We will immerse ourselves in rare materials on transnational and global feminism in the Schlesinger Library here at Harvard. Over the course of the semester, you will build a toolkit of critical thinking and writing skills by engaging diverse primary sources, including political writings of women of color and colonized women, short stories, posters, movies, and human rights reports. You will come away from the course having a deeper understanding of ideas of equality and justice that define politics today. Readings will highlight marginalized authors, women writers, especially women of color authors, from previously enslaved women in the US South to indigenous people to colonized women in India and Africa. Reading assignments will focus on primary historical sources and encompass diverse genres, from political thought and speeches to fantasy fiction to posters. Students will build critical skills through assignments that build source analysis skills over the course of the semester, including an annotation of visual materials (a poster or cartoon), short primary source analysis papers using materials from Schlesinger Library, and a final film analysis paper.