Darién Davis

Professor of History

 Spring 2016: Mondays 2:00 - 3:30 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:45 am - 12:00 pm, or by appointment
 Axinn Center at Starr Library 335

Professor Darién J. Davis teaches courses in Latin American cultural and social history, and on diaspora and immigration. His major areas of research are Brazilian social and cultural history, African and Latino' diasporas in the Atlantic world and transnational cultural formation and resistance.  He is the author of numerous articles on human rights, patriotism, immigration, and transnationalism. His latest book manuscript is entitled White Face, Black Mask: Africaneity and the Early Social History of Brazilian Popular Music (2009).

He is also the editor of three scholarly volumes dedicated to Diaspora studies: Slavery and Beyond:  The African Impact on Latin America and the Caribbean (1995),  Beyond Slavery: The Multi-faceted Legacy of Africans in Latin America and the Caribbean (2006), Companion to US Latino Literatures (2007).  He is currently working on a manuscript on Jewish refugees to Brazil during World War II.

website:  http://dariendavis.wordpress.com/



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE1444 - Writing Immigrant Lives      

Writing Immigrant Lives
In this seminar we will study, analyze, and write immigrant stories and histories from Latin America and the colonial and post-colonial Caribbean. How do we write the history of a family member, living or deceased? How is history different from biography? We will analyze diverse written, oral, and visual texts about transnational experiences including works by Julia Alvarez, Derek Walcott, Tânia Cypriano, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Rodriguez, Ruben Blades, and others. Ultimately, with the aid of primary sources, oral history, genealogy, law enforcement records, as well as other, less conventional resources, we will reconstruct and write the transnational lives of immigrants in our families and communities. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW HIS

Fall 2015

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HIST0106 - Colonial Latin America      

Colonial Latin America
In this course we will examine the formation of Latin American societies from 1492 to 1800, with emphasis on the contact of indigenous, European, and African civilizations; the conditions that facilitated European conquest; life in the colonial societies; and the political, economic, and philosophical changes that led to the independence movements of the 19th century. Pre-1800. 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. (formerly HIST 0285) AAL HIS SOC

Fall 2013, Fall 2016

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HIST0107 - Modern Latin America      

Modern Latin America
This survey course will trace the philosophical, economic, political, and cultural developments of Latin America from independence to the present day. Particular emphasis will be placed on the formation of nation-states; issues of development, including agricultural production and industrialization; national and cultural symbols; and social relations within Latin American societies. The aim of the course is to provide a broad background of major themes and issues in Latin American societies which include Mexico, Central America, and South America. 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. (formerly HIST 0286) AAL HIS SOC

Spring 2014

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HIST0287 - Modern Caribbean      

Modern Caribbean
In this course we will study the modern history of the Caribbean focusing on Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Jamaica from 1789 to the present day. We will pay close attention to the independence movement, abolition, construction of national cultures, and the impact of Europeans and Africans and other civilizations on each nation, as well as to the connections among these major islands in the 19th and 20th century and to the other islands and mainland nations. We will discuss diverse revolutionary political and cultural movements, issues of poverty and development, and issues of migration. AAL HIS

Spring 2013, Spring 2016

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HIST0288 - Modern Brazil      

Modern Brazil
Brazil is the Portuguese-speaking power of Latin America. In this course we will study the history of modern Brazil from independence to the present day, and discuss the contemporary developments that have transformed Brazil into an international force today. We will pay close attention to the construction of national institutions and culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. We will examine the major political, economic, and cultural movements that defined Brazilian history during the empire, the first republic, the Vargas era, and the military dictatorship. We will conclude with a look at Brazil's representative democracy from the 1980s to the present. (formerly HIST 0211) 3 hr. lect. AAL HIS

Fall 2012, Fall 2013

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HIST0300 - African Diasporas      

African Diasporas in the Modern World
In this course we will study the diversities and commonalities of African diaspora communities from a global perspective using prisms of nationhood, gender, and color throughout the Americas and Western Europe. With the help of diverse texts in multiple languages, we will study four themes: the invisibility/visibility of “black-ness” in the formulation of nationhood; cultural production [particularly music], resistance and accommodation in places as diverse as Paris and Lima; relationships to police, authority, and the justice system through court cases in places such as New York and Rio de Janeiro; and challenges of transnational movements from pan-Africanism to U.N. conferences against racism. Students will consult and compare texts in multiple languages and IGS majors will be encouraged to write one of the papers in Spanish, French or Portuguese and focus on comparisons using sources in one these languages. 3 hrs. lect. AAL CMP HIS SOC

Fall 2015

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HIST0304 - Writing Transnational Lives      

Writing Transnational Lives
How do we write the history of a transnational family, immigrant or exile group? How is biography different from history? In this seminar we will answer these questions by consulting thinkers such as Arendt, Bourdieu, and Gramsci. As case studies we will study examples such as Jewish and Lebanese immigrants, Latin American exiles, and Americans abroad, among others. With the aid of primary and secondary sources, oral history, and genealogy, students will be encouraged to write transnational biographies and histories of their choosing. We will create diverse types of biographies including family trees and obituaries. Students will choose a final research project in consultation with the professor. 3 hrs. lect./disc. CMP HIS SOC

Fall 2016

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HIST0323 - Latin@s: A Comparative History      

Latin@s: A Comparative History
In this course we will study the formation of diverse Latin@ communities from a comparative perspective. We will discuss the racial, national, linguistic, and religious diversity within Latin@ communities in the United States, and gain perspectives from the experience of Latin@s in countries such as Great Britain, France, Spain, and Canada. What are the relationships among citizens, legal immigrants, and the undocumented? How do law enforcement, immigration policy and language shape the Latin@ experience? We will answer these questions by looking at Mexican, Brazilian, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and other case studies. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CMP HIS

Spring 2016

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HIST0427 - Diaspora & Trans-nationalism      

Diaspora and Trans-nationalism
In this course we will explore the global flow of people across national boundaries in the modern era. During the first part of the course we will examine the major theoretical frameworks of transnational migration and diasporas by reading the works of writers such as Hannah Arendt, Edward Said, and W. E. B. Dubois. We will focus on the social and cultural processes that pose challenges to the traditional hegemony of the nation-state, and examine the political and economic relations of diaspora communities to homeland. In the second half of the course we will study how organic intellectuals, performers, and other artists from all across the Atlantic world agitated to transform the social dynamics within the political, linguistic, and geographical boundaries of their new home while re-imagining new relations with the place they once called home. Students will choose a research topic on a diaspora community of their interest and be required to make direct contact with the communities we study. 3 hrs. sem. (formerly HIST 0413) AAL CMP HIS

Spring 2014

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HIST0428 - Blame it On Bossa Nova      

Blame It On Bossa Nova: The History of a Transnational Phenomenon
What is bossa nova and what impact did it have on the world? In this course we will examine the history of this complex international phenomenon and its connection to social and political trends of the 1950s and 1960s. We will study the national and transnational impact of bossa nova and the post-World War II development of the bossa nova aesthetic and ethos in Latin America, Europe (particularly France), and the United States. Our study of bossa nova will also help us discuss broader philosophical questions such as how we define who owns a cultural product, why we consume cultural products from abroad, and whether we can truly understand other cultures in translation? CMP HIS

Spring 2013

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HIST0500 - Special Research Projects      

Special research projects during the junior year may be used to fulfill the research seminar requirements in some cases. Approval of department chair and project advisor is required.

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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HIST0700 - Senior Independent Study      

The History Senior Thesis is required of all majors. It is written over two terms, with the final grade applying to both terms. The project is generally begun in the fall and completed during winter or spring. Approval is required to begin the thesis in winter or spring, and such students must still attend the Thesis Writer's Workshops that take place in fall and winter.

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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INTD0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Approval Required

Winter 2013

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Department of History

Axinn Center at Starr Library
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753