Carnegie Mellon University

Latin America Language and Culture

Course Number: 82-343

This course is part of the post-intermediate, 300-level program that forms the introduction to the major or minor in Hispanic Studies. Students may begin with any one of the three courses at this level or they may be taken concurrently. This course will explore Latin American culture and language, focusing on issues of cultural identity. Tracing the historical thread of the construction of Latin American cultural identity we will distinguish 6 periods organized around crisis when the topic of Who we are? becomes a central debate (Larrain 1996). These periods include: the conquest and colonization, the independence and constitution of nation-states, the inter war period and the depression, the 1970s and the military dictatorships and the present globalization stage. These phases in the development of a Latin American cultural identity represent the existence of certain dominant discourses and controversies that are important in understanding Latin American culture (Larrain 1996). The idea is to explore how Latin America imagines itself and constructs a narrative about its origins and development. There are three main questions we will be exploring throughout the course: Where does the discussion about Latin America emerge from?; How does Latin America think of itself?; What does Latin America want to be?. These questions will be explored historically through readings of philosophical and political texts that deal with Latin American identity as well as with literary texts, films and music that represent practices that enact this/ese identity/ies. The course will be taught in Spanish.

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Units: 9
Prerequisite(s): 82242 or 82244