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Course Information

Instructor Info:Margaret Cerullo
Office Extension x5514
TA Info:Adam Quinn
Term: 2013F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 106
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 106

Today, newspapers speak of a decided tilt to the left in Latin America (Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Uruguay, for example, all have presidents who affirm socialism). This movement is accompanied, or propelled by, indigenous coalitions, that are challenging even governments firmly in the US orbit (Columbia and Mexico). This was not the case twenty years ago, when, to everyone's astonishment, the Zapatistas rose in revolt in Chiapas. Surfacing the same day that NAFTA went into effect-January 1, 1994, they announced a different vision of Mexico's future. The actions and writings of the Zapatistas constitute an extraordinary case study in which many preoccupations converge: the economic, the political, indigenous rights, women's rights, civil society, cultural memory, and writing that is poetic and political. Focusing on the Zapatista revolt enables us to consider an example of "local" resistance to "global" designs, the ongoing challenge to neoliberal economics and to limited conceptions of "democracy" that condemn populations to invisibility, their cultural memory to oblivion, and their needs and knowledge to subaltern status.

Please note that search tools for a transdisciplinary approach to Latin American and Latino studies are the following: HAPI, or Hispanic American Periodicals Index, and HLAS, Handbook of Latin American Studies; MLA—Modern Language Association—International Bibliography;  as well as J-Stor and Project Muse.


****Besides these databases, other sources critical for studying Zapatismo are:

  1. a blog by the Oakland-based Zapatista Support Committee that posts up-to-date news from Chiapas:
  1. El kilombo Intergalactico Great and up to date source. Most recent communiqués (Summer 2013) translated.

At El Kilombo Intergaláctico, we are dedicated to bringing together people from student, migrant, low-income, and people of color communities to tackle the challenges we face in Durham, NC.

  1. Mexico Solidarity Network ongoing programs in Chiapas and elsewhere in                       Mexico; often publishes weekly news analyses from Mexico:;   
  1. Subcomandante Marcos’s ZNet page, with translations from Feb. 2003 to Feb 2013
  1. Irlandesa’s library, with translations of many communiqués in 2005 and 2006

Spanish language sources (some with English translations):

  1. Enlace Zapatista: [some English translations]
  1. mirada colectiva, desde Chiapas para el mundo

has all communiqués up to 2005 by date

Sources for Mexican and contemporary Latin America are:

NACLA Report on the Americas (North American Congress on Latin America)

The Narco News Bulletin: ""

the irc-americas program website and publications: ""   Activism and politics in LA

John Ross’s Blind Man’s Buff archives: " [his columns were also published in counterpunch:;

for those who read Spanish:


Newspapers: La Jornada from Mexico: ""  and Pagina 12 from Argentina:



Course Objectives:

That you have a new thought or idea, that you are willing to have your preconceptions challenged

That you encounter analytical frameworks that help you make sense of the world we live in

That you learn to see the world from below and de-center your own position

That you understand what neoliberalism is about, as a cultural as well as a political economic project; and a form of subjectivity

That we think together about the distinctiveness of the Zapatistas and why they have been so inspirational and had so much resonance both inside and outside Mexico

That you learn something about the history of colonial racism and the significance of indigenous movements in Latin America

That you become engaged with Mexican and Latin American realities and learn to challenge US media and official depictions of what happens "down there."

That you seriously engage different perspectives on radical social change



Evaluation Criteria:

1. Attendance: more than 4 classes missed will result in NO EVAL, unless there are extraordinary circumstances

2. Completion of two short papers, and one long research paper. Meeting all deadlines for the stages of writing the latter (abstract, bibliogrpahy, and first draft) is critical to writing a good paper

3. 8/24 reading/film responses

4. Viewing all films