Latin American Studies

Winter 2018/19

Winter 2018

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.

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 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, such as Frida Kahlo and Carmen Miranda Football and the FIFA World Cup Graffiti in Medellín (and other cities) and muralism Like Water...
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