History | Arabs and Jews in Latin America
F300 | 28350 | Najar
Latin America history, in large part, has been understood through the
experiences of three different groups: Europeans, Africans, and
Indigenous peoples. Yet, modern Latin America has attracted many
different immigrant groups that have contributed to their societies,
but little is known about them. In this course we will look closely
at two immigrants groups: Jews and Arabs.
The course will begin with an overview of key concepts such as
diaspora, minority, ethnicity, religion, and race from North and
South American perspectives. We will discuss the concept of "ethnic"
or "minority" history and how this is different from other types of
historical study. We then hope to explore certain aspects of the Arab
and Jewish immigrant experience and determine the extent to which
they were shaped by these various social environments. Among the
comparative questions we will be asking are: How have the cultures of
each region helped to determine whether Arabness and Jewishness is
expressed in primarily ethnic, racial, nationalistic or religious
By the end of the class, we should have a good sense of why Arabs and
Jews immigrated to Latin America and their contributions to the
region's history. But most important we should have a significant
sense of how anti-immigration laws, national and cultural
assimilation, and economic prosperity have contributed to the
formation of individual and group identity(ies).
The goals for this course include: 1) to develop your ability to form
educated opinions on issues relevant to the past, but also to the
present. 2) to develop and/or build your writing skills in order to
cohesively express your opinions clearly and effectively affirm your
viewpoint. 3) to provide you with an understanding of significant
events, themes, and debates in Latin American immigration history.