Undergraduate Courses in Area of Specialization
Core Curriculum and Generalist Undergraduate Courses
Visual Culture in Pre-Columbian and Colonial Mexico
This course focuses on the production of social difference in visual media of pre-Columbian and colonial Mexico. We will learn how Mexican societies conceptualized the world, and in particular how they understood writing, painting, and spatiality. We will then inquire into how Mexican understandings and practices of knowledge production interacted with those of the Christian West. We will explore how social groups from diverse and even radically different origins articulate, demarcate, trace, and negotiate their place and the places of others in the world. Toward that end, we will analyze post-conquest texts, including paintings (pinturas de castas), official reports and maps (relaciones geográficas), Renaissance literature, and history (Bernardino Sahagún’s Historia general).
A modern invention, cinema became a transformational medium through which to reimagine the world, human beings, and even perception. In the Spanish-speaking world, where the state financed cinematic productions until the 1990’s, film played a crucial role in projecting national identities. Currently, in the era of globalization, cinema has become privatized and is increasingly funded by transnational actors.
This course focuses on Spanish and/or Latin American cinematic productions involving transnational collaborations with global partners. Through the viewing of transnational films, such as Motorcycle Diaries, Biutiful, La zona, and many others, we will inquire into the interrelation between transnational collaborations and cultural representations of Hispanic culture.
In addition to employing basic films studies concepts to analyze film, we will be asking how contemporary filmmakers construct and negotiate their visions of “Hispanic” culture within the parameters of globalization. We will ask the following set of guiding questions, borrowed from Luisela Alvaray’s incisive analyses: “How are local-global relations conditioning the outcome [of transnational collaborations]? In what ways is the global flow of commodities affecting the global flow of ideas? Can we still talk of national cinemas?”