Courses developed: 

Spanish 327S: The Culture of Cities in Latin America

Approved for AY 2021-22

During the twentieth century, countries across Latin America transformed from predominantly rural societies into among the most urbanized in the world. This course examines the particular ways in which artists, filmmakers, and writers not only captured this drastic transformation in their work, but also participated in it actively through their creative practices and political commitments. After an introduction to the foundations of the Latin American city in the pre-Hispanic and colonial eras, we will explore the aspirations and realities of the modern metropolis up to the present day through a series of focused studies of cities across the region. We will examine, among other topics, the interest taken by artists and writers in Mexico City’s water supply, the influence of eugenics on the development of Buenos Aires, the role of indigenous religious belief in working-class settlements in Peru, and writing and visual art from the early days of the HIV epidemic in São Paulo. The course will conclude with a look at artistic responses to COVID-19 in different Latin American cities, a situation which, as we will see, highlights the issues of ecology, public health, gender, and race examined throughout the course. The seminar is to be collaborative setting in which students bring their own personal, scholarly, and professional interests to the table in seminar discussions, group presentations, blog posts, and a final paper. Readings, assignments, and discussions are in Spanish.

Guest lectureships:

Courses taught: