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(Re) Imagining Latin America

Semester and Year FA 2017
Course Number IDSEM-UG1470
Section 001
Instructor Alejandro Velasco
Days TR
Time 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC, GLOBAL


Open to sophomores only.


In Bolivia, where non-indigenous elites long ruled exclusively, an indigenous president now leads a socialist revolution; in Argentina, where governments once massacred youth by the thousands, citizens now fill the streets to demand accountability; in Guatemala, where Catholicism long reigned supreme, evangelicals now find rapt audiences. Throughout the region, the once unthinkable is becoming normative, and everywhere pundits wonder: are these the stirrings of a new Latin America or the rumblings of old ghosts in different form? This course has two aims: on one hand to decipher how Latin America has conventionally been imagined, by introducing students to major themes in the region’s study like mestizaje and machismo, authoritarianism and revolution, dependency and industrialization; on the other hand to question how valid these imaginaries remain against the backdrop of contemporary examples of social, political, and economic transformation in Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, and elsewhere. Readings draw widely from academic articles in history, anthropology, and political science, excerpts from memoirs and contemporary journalism, and samplings of music and visual arts, generating thematic student papers asking: is it time to re-imagine Latin America in this new century, and if so, how? Authors include Simón Bolívar, Gabriela Mistral, Gabriel García Márquez, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Hermano Vianna, Javier Auyero, and Mariano Azuela.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)