Latin American Studies

Winter 2019/20

Winter 2019

LAST100 Introduction to Latin American Studies Sections

An overview of the culture and society of Latin America from ancient to contemporary times and from Argentina to Mexico.

Instructor(s): BEASLEY-MURRAY, JONATHAN
The Idea of Latin America Why do we distinguish Latin America as a region? What are the historical processes that led a vast and varied area to be treated as one, unified portion of the globe? And what is the cultural and political significance of such thinking? In this course we will treat Latin America as a discourse, an idea whose origins and permutations are deeply embedded in history. We will explore the question of how the idea of Latin America emerged, and how unique cultural, environmental and political configurations fuelled its growing acceptance. The course will be divided into four units: 1) an introduction; 2) Environment; 3) Language; and 4) The World. The introduction will present the idea of Latin America and the debates that sustain it. In Unit Two, we will ask how environmental imaginaries were seized upon to argue that the region be considered a unified whole, complete with unique...
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LAST201 Popular Culture in Latin America Sections

The culture of everyday life, both rural and urban: issues of identity, popular memory, resistance, negotiation, as expressed through ritual, crafts, the body, social movements, films, music, and literature.

Popular Culture in Latin America There is no doubt that popular culture has played a crucial role in shaping Latin American and Hispanic Caribbean societies. This course aims precisely to explore various manifestations of popular culture that contributed to build national identities in contemporary Latin America: cinema, soap operas/telenovelas, best sellers and comic books, visual arts and graffiti, the radio, theatre/performance arts, social media, sports, fashion, religion, and social movements. The objective is not only to better understand these sociocultural practices, but also to reflect on their connections with fundamental concepts, such as race/ethnicity, gender, cultural politics, hybridity/transculturation, and globalization. Therefore, we will combine primary readings with critical and theoretical texts on the relevance and challenges of popular culture, problematizing the conventional dichotomy between “low (or mass) culture” and “high culture.” Selected case studies: Fashion icons and artists, such as Frida Kahlo. Football and the FIFA World Cup/Baseball as a cultural marker in Cuba,...
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LAST303 Indigenous Peoples of Latin America Sections

Ethnohistory and contemporary cultures of the indigenous peoples of Mexico, Middle America, and South America. Different cultural areas or regions may be selected to illustrate the course's principal themes.

Indigenous Peoples, Globalization, and Labour in Latin America Alfonso Cuarón’s Academy Award-winning film Roma (2018) won critical acclaim but was widely censured by scholars and activists for its portrayal of an indigenous live-in maid in a Mexico City household. Our course takes this critique of Roma’s representation of indigenous domestic workers as a point of departure in order to consider how indigenous peoples throughout Latin America have been affected by processes of globalization, particularly as participants in the labour force. Together, we will discuss indigenous strategies to navigate the global economy and seek autonomy and self-determination in an increasingly globalized world. In addition to critical readings from anthropology, geography, economics, political science, and cultural studies, we will consider works of short fiction and films throughout the semester. Discussions will be in English. Texts: Texts will be provided in a course pack. Readings include scholarly works by Michael Kearney, Robin Maria Delugan, David Harvey,...
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