Ethnographies of State in Latin America

LAS 4935
SECTION 1111, CLASS # 14518
LAS 6938
SECTION 1144, CLASS # 26654

Days: Tuesdays
Times: 1:55 – 4:55 pm
Location: Grinter Hall 376


There are abundant references to the state in the social sciences, but the state is often reified, taken for granted, and seldom carefully investigated. The concept of the state often contains unexamined assumptions and is rather opaque. This course will explore theoretical, methodological and empirical questions about the state through a Latin American and ethnographic lens: What is the state? Where is it located? Who is the state? How are public decisions made? What are the effects of the state over populations? How do people, and more specifically colonized/racialized populations, experience and understand the state? How does the state operate in the margins of a national territory such as in borders and frontiers? To what degree are some Latin American states “failed states”? What is corruption and what is the “normal” functioning of the state? The ethnographic approach will allow us to “see” state power as embodied in particular individuals and institutions, while also paying attention to the importance of ideas and discourses.

Carmen Martinez Novo small   Professor
   Dr. Carmen Martínez Novo
   Center for Latin American Studies
   Phone: 352-273-4716

Research Interests
Race and ethnicity, Political anthropology, Indigenous politics and rights, Political ecology, Anthropology of the state and elites, “study up” and collaborative methodologies.

Geographic Expertise
Ecuador, Andes, Amazon, Mexico