Study Abroad and Exchanges

Modules

Modules

LAS1010 : An Introduction to Latin America

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

In consonance with the overall aim of the degree offered in the School of Modern Languages, the general aim of this module is to introduce students to the geography, politics, and key social and historical issues that allow a complex understanding of contemporary Latin America. Other aims are to provide a multidisciplinary overview and understanding of post coloniality in Latin America, to provide context and initial knowledge of issues to be taught in other SPLAS modules, and finally to familiarize students with a wide range of sources and research resources on Latin America.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module follows a diachronic approach, bringing a historical perspective to contemporary issues.
With a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops, Semester 1 provides a historical framework to understand the place that what we now call Latin America has in the world. The relevance of the “the coloniality of power” is introduced through the study of the nation building processes as they happened in a selection of countries. The importance of race relations and cultural tensions in these processes is dealt with throughout the module. The semester ends with a fourth block on the relationship between this socio-historical background and the contemporary cultural production.

Semester 2 presents a closer look at the political ideas and ideological trends that inspired political and social movements throughout the 20th century. The tense relationship between Latin America and the US is also explored in its economic, social and political implications between 1950 and 1980. Finally current attempts to overcome major development challenges are studied.

Semester One: Territory, History and Culture

-       Characteristics of the territory and first peoples. The contributions of ethno history and anthropology
-       The encounter with the West. Spanish and Portugal Colonial expansion to the Americas
-       Nation building processes and the idea of race in Latin America after Independence
-       Latin American cultural production: Dealing with tradition and modernity. Cinema, music and literature.


Semester Two: Ideology, politics and contemporary challenges.

-       The short Twentieth Century: The emergence of “The People” in ideology and politics.
-       From 1950 to 1980: Times of Hope and unrest
-       Military dictatorships and The National Security Doctrine. What Truth Commissions revealed.
-       In search of stability and development: Neo Liberal State reforms for the XXI Century.
-       Political changes and new challenges for Latin America.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion181:0081:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching62:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyProject work140:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study431:0043:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Each topic is dealt with a combination of lectures, assigned readings and guided seminar small group discussions that are shared with the larger seminar groups. Readings combine both primary sources and scholarly articles that allow students to go further in their understanding of a particular set of issues. The essay in semester 1 will invite students to look into the different areas of study contributed by the different lecturers, allowing them a closer look into their diverse expertise.
The portfolio will develop initial research skills allowing students to identify and critically comment on relevant sources (in English and Spanish) on a topic or country case study of their interest. The PC examination will help in consolidating the wide range of information offered in semester 2.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination401M25PC examination in English. Week 12.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1M25Portfolio of chosen topic using sources in English and Spanish. 1000 word commentary written in Spanish.
Essay2M502000 word essay in English.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The topic for the portfolio will be chosen at the beginning of semester 1, with plenty of opportunities for planning and discussion during regular office hours and surgery hours. The portfolio allows me to assess students’ criteria for selecting sources, their ability to process and comment on information to discuss one topic of their interest, their criteria to identify and critically examine primary and secondary sources. The PC examination for which students prepare working on a questionnaire that is developed on BB throughout the semester 1, allows consolidating a large amount of information, to establish comparisons and identify differences between countries.
Each lecturer in semester 2 will formulate two essay questions for students to choose from. Students will choose one question out of a set of eight to work on their essay. The relevant lecturer will first mark the essay.

SEMESTER ONE ONLY STUDY ABROAD: The coursework assessment needs an earlier submission date but otherwise remains unchanged.

Reading Lists

Timetable