HIST-LIT 90FX: Imagining Latin America





Professor: Jennifer Alpert

W - 12:45 pm to 2:45 pm

“Latin America” refers to a geographical region, a culture, a form of racialization, a mode of being, and even a concept. How have these different characterizations imagined Latin America and its diaspora, and what kinds of myths and discourses emerged as a result? How have these imaginaries constructed Latin America as a homogeneous, cohesive whole, and to what effect? What do these representations erase, especially considering the heterogeneous cultural and linguistic traditions in the region? Throughout the semester, we will analyze a broad range of media, popular culture artifacts, and historical sources from the 20th and 21st centuries that include films, comics, photographs, music, and speeches to interrogate how Latin America and its people conceive of themselves and how others have imagined the region. We will pay particular attention to Latin America’s history as a group of colonized nations to understand the prevalence of anti-blackness, anti-indigeneity, and other forms of social exclusion. In the process, students will develop a portable methodology to analyze and historicize media and popular culture, including sources as varied as Disney’s Encanto, HBO’s TV show Gordita Chronicles, Bad Bunny songs, and Carmen Miranda performances alongside texts by Ailton Krenak, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Walter Mignolo among others. While the course will be conducted in English, Spanish language materials will be available for students who wish to fulfill History & Literature’s language requirement.