Latin America: History, Politics and Cultures
Full course description
What we call America is a continent that Europe only came to know existed a little more than 500 years ago. The idea of a "Latin" America is even more recent. This course expects to offer students different perspectives to think about Latin American societies and provide students with an overview of key Latin American social issues and theories.
We will begin by reflecting on "the idea of Latin America" from the standpoint of decolonial theory. We will look at the continent before the arrival of Europeans and learn about the history of conquest and colonization. The look at Latin American history will also focus on the process of organizing the newly independent states during the XIX century and the challenges associated with building a national identity. The tasks will then focus on more recent events such as the military regimes and state violence of the second half of the XX century, the struggles for constructing a public memory, the problem of narcotraffic, the US-Latin American relations, and the presence and struggles of Latinos in the US. The course will finish with tasks around the topics of Gender, Race, and Ethnicity, finalizing with a discussion of what alternatives to mainstream development paradigms Latin America has to offer. Transversal topics will be social inequality, marginalized groups' social struggles, and the alternative politics of women, blacks, and indigenous social movements.
At the end of this course, students should:
- Be familiar with events and debates about the history, politics, and cultures of Latin America and explain the continuities and breaks with colonial times.
- Identify and critically reflect on some of the most pressing social issues faced by Latin American societies and how they differentially affect specific groups.
- Explain and reflect on Latin America's relations with other regions of the world.
- Apply Latin American theoretical perspectives to deconstruct essentialized or stereotypical images of the region.
SSC1029 Sociological Perspectives, COR1003 Contemporary World History.
- Mignolo, Walter D. The Idea of Latin America. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.
- Selected articles and book chapters.