Darién Davis

Professor of History and Department Chair

 work(802) 443-3167
 Fall 2019: Tuesday & Thursday 2:00-4:00 PM, Monday 2:00-3:30 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]

FYSE 1444 - 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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HIST 0106 - 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 and interaction of indigenous, European, and African civilizations. We will study three major themes: the transfer of Spanish and Portuguese Catholic society compared to their British and French counterparts; the development of the distinct Ibero-American notions of justice, status, race and gender; and the ways in which Protestants, Jews, pirates, and other groups resisted Iberian authority. Finally, we will see how these developments eventually led to independence movements of the early nineteenth century. Pre-1800. 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. (formerly HIST 0285) AAL AMR HIS SOC

Fall 2016, Fall 2017

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HIST 0107 - 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 AMR HIS SOC

Spring 2018

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HIST 0117 - Diasporas in History      

Diasporas in History
Disruptions, disasters, and dreams have led to migrations and diasporas for millennia. In this course we explore the global flow of people across political boundaries throughout history. We will use specific case studies from (but not limited to) the African, Jewish, Latin American, and Asian diasporas to challenge the idea of the unified nation-state, meanings of race and assimilation, and ideas of belonging to more than one place. We will analyze how nationalists divide “natives” and “migrants” and utilize Adichie’s idea of “the danger of the single story” to study intersectional alliances within and across diaspora groups. 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. CMP HIS SOC

Fall 2018

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HIST 0287 - 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 AMR HIS

Spring 2016

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HIST 0288 / BLST 0288 - 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. The class will pay close attention to the construction of national institutions, racial and national ideologies, and the celebration of national culture. We will also study Brazil’s impact on the world, from its export of cultural products in cinema, music, and literature in translation, to soccer. It will be important to study the communities of Brazilians in diverse places such as Miami, New York, London, and Paris. We will utilize various writing, oral, and digital methods to examine the major political, economic, and cultural movements that defined Brazilian history from the creation of the empire in the 1820s to the political and cultural tensions of the current regime 3 hr. lect. AAL AMR HIS

Spring 2017, Spring 2020

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HIST 0289 - History of Cuba & Puerto Rico      

History of Cuba and Puerto Rico: 1868-Present
The year 1868 marked the start of the independence movement of Cuba and Puerto Rico. By the beginning of the twentieth century Cuba had secured independence while Puerto Rico had become an American colony. In this class we will examine the similarities and differences in the political, socioeconomic, and cultural development of these two island nations from the founding of the independence movement to hurricane Maria. We will pay attention to the development of the concept of nationhood, the role of intellectuals and artists in creating community, and how each nation navigated its relationship to the US government, its migrant communities, and other Caribbean states. 3 hrs. lect. AAL AMR HIS SOC

Spring 2019

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HIST 0300 - 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 SAF SOC

Fall 2015

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HIST 0304 - 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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HIST 0323 - 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 AMR CMP HIS

Spring 2016

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HIST 0433 - Latin America in the 1960s      

Latin America in the 1960s: A Digital History Course
Latin America was at the center of the Cold War in the 1960s. U.S. intervention and military repression contrasted with Marxist and other utopian visions for peace and social justice. This seminar will explore these tensions by examining critical political, economic, and cultural watersheds of the era. We will study the influence of personalities such as Franz Fanon, Che Guevara, Elena Poniatowska and movements that challenged the status quo of the post World War II era. We will explore the tensions between nationalism and transnationalism, as well as the dissonance between class and racial utopian ideals and migration and exile. The class will work on digital projects and exercises that allow us to recreate the past and analyze specific case studies. We will immerse ourselves in the new revolutionary and the countercultural aesthetics in art, film, and music in movements such as tropicália, black consciousness, and liberation theology. We will also uncover the links with the historical dynamics in the United States and Europe. 3 hrs. sem. AAL AMR CMP HIS SOC

Spring 2017, Fall 2019

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HIST 0500 - Special Research Projects      

Special research projects may only be taken during the Junior or Senior year, preferable after taking HIST 0600. Approval of department chair and project advisor is required.

Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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HIST 0600 - History Research Seminar      

Writing History
In this course students discuss historical methods and writing strategies to create convincing historical narratives. With the approval and guidance of the professor, students complete a 20-25-page research paper based on primary and secondary sources. Students take this course in the fall of their junior year or with permission in the spring. If students are away for the entire junior year, they can take the course in the fall of their senior year. 3 hr. sem.

Fall 2017

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HIST 0700 - Senior Independent Study      

Senior Independent Study
The optional History Senior Thesis is written over two terms, with the final grade applying to both terms. Approval is required. Students submit thesis proposals in the spring before the year that they choose to write their thesis. Students generally begin their thesis in the fall and complete it during winter or spring. Approval is required to begin the thesis in winter or spring. All students must attend the Thesis Writer's Workshops in fall and winter semesters and work with a faculty advisor to complete a 55-70 page paper. Please see detailed guidelines under history requirements.

Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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Department of History

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


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