Women and Urban Struggles in Latin America

Course Number
GSWS 5050 640
Course Code
Course Key
Veillette, Anne-Marie
Primary Program
Course Description
In Latin American, 80% of the population lives in a city. As many of these cities enter the worldwide competition for attracting networks and capitals—and to join the select club of the so-called global cities—many city residents become progressively dispossessed and excluded to the peripheries, where urban services are rarely adequate. Power relations of class, race, and gender play an essential role in how dispossession is orchestrated in the city and experienced by its residents.
This course focuses on how women, specifically, find ways to “endure” in the cities of Latin America, exploring different cases of urban struggles led by women. Across the region, many have been pointing out the extraordinary leadership of women in a wide variety of political struggles, going from occupying public places to denouncing the disappearance of loved ones to the community organizers who help build necessary infrastructure in their neighborhoods. Women are also at the forefront of environmental and ecological transformations, leading initiatives to green their city through urban agriculture, reforestation, recycling, and compost projects. Addressed through a holistic approach to caring, these initiatives are embedded in broader struggles for housing, security, and wellness, specifically in the urban peripheries. The contingency of these projects is, at their core, multifaceted: they are typically part of women’s implication in popular education, artivism, and human rights defense. During this course, we will explore and analyze how the specific urban contexts of Latin America affect women and their political subjectivities and how, through their struggles, they play an essential role in re-shaping their cities.