LALS 109 Introduction to Latino Cultures
This course examines the expressive practices and cultural productions of Latinos in the United States. Lectures, readings, and discussions will explore Latinx cultural history, folklore, popular and public culture, and visual and material culture. Among the topics covered are: the role of narrative in Latinx cultural identity; the culture of everyday life; handmade commercial and street graphics; the oral tradition (corridos/ballads, proverbs, tales); Latinos in cinema and theater; Latinx amateur sport history and fandom; and Latinx interventions in new media like podcasts. Latinx culture is at a crossroads of Latin American and American (U.S.) cultures. Thus, our lectures, readings, discussions, and assignments encourage us to look at Latinx culture not simply as another U.S. minority culture worthy of study, but rather as one that has been, is, and promises to remain central to the American experience, broadly defined. While this course focuses on Latinx texts, issues, and examples, the concepts, theories, and terminology used in this course are relevant and translatable to the study of other cultures. Required texts are: When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago and Heroes, Lovers, and Others: The Story of Latinos in Hollywood by Clara Rodriguez. Other assigned readings will be available on Blackboard and Daley Library electronic reserves.
LALS 391 Seminar: Cinema and the Border
American identity and history has long been articulated through its relationship to the western frontier and southern border. Since the early twentieth century, hundreds of films have taken place in and been made about the border region that have served as a powerful means of visualizing and performing American values and history, often justifying or erasing the contradictions at the core of its historical narrative. In this course, we examine films in relation to the many iterations of the frontier myth at the heart of U.S. history and to what historian Greg Grandin claims is the “end of the myth” in recent years. We will be thinking about them cross-temporally as primary texts (about the time in which they were made) and as interpretations, desires, or anxieties about the past, present, and future. We will trace the evolution of the frontier myth and the history of the border through cinema and think about how film aesthetics, genres, and themes have shifted over time to challenge that myth and envision new pasts and futures.
CRN 43241 | Mon 3:00 – 5:30 PM | Prof. Jennifer Boles (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LALS courses you may want to consider for the Fall 2020
LALS 491: Topics in Latin American Studies
Disasters, Catastrophes, Plagues—An Inquiry into Corona Virus 19 and Related Matters
Given that today’s pandemic will probably continue to control us as we enter the fall semester, this course will be a very hands-on inquiry into our current condition. At the same time we will try to arrive at some overarching theory about the power of disasters, catastrophes, and plagues to alter social and economic life. At the beginning of the course we will divide students into small working groups focused on different dimensions of COVID-19. Working groups will be determined by the interests of the students.
Even as these working groups do their work and share their information with the rest of us, we will be examining historical, philosophical, economic, and literary texts to deepen our analyses of the meanings of catastrophe. For instance, we will examine other diseases such as Zika and malaria in Latin America, and how they have often functioned in racial and economic terms. The function of disease at the moment of colonizing the Americas was simply another instance of this. Other texts will include Barbara Tuchman’s classic work A Distant Mirror; the economist Walter Scheidel’s amazing text The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century; and Albert Camus’ classic meditation on existentialist philosophy The Plague.
In sum, the course will be a transnational examination of both Latinx populations in the United States as well as Latin American peoples. We will frame these real world, contemporary concerns in the larger context of history, economics, and philosophy (and possibly other disciplines). Our goal will be to understand not only COVID-19 but the “nature” of catastrophe itself.
Professor Ralph Cintrón | email@example.com | Wednesday 6:30 – 9:00 PM
CRNs: 32584 undergrad & 32585 grad