Consumer Culture in Latin America: Literature, Arts, and Spectacle


The purpose of the course is discussing some cultural and aesthetics experience related to consumerism in Latin America. Since the end of the nineteenth century, the act of consuming is a complex practice in which cultural habits, education, social class, taste, and income are interrelated. Poverty and wealth are overlapped in Latin American countries and the consumer habits are special points of view of inequalities and complexities. This course will discuss the culture of consumerism in a historical perspective focusing on art,

The course focuses on consumer culture in Modern Latin America throughout literature, essays, visual texts, films and new cultural experiences as “poor tourism”. The course discusses the problem of peripheral countries in the globalized economy and how culture offers a place of reflection and interchange of new experience. It also offers a genealogy of the relationship between culture and consume in modern practices as fin-de-siècle travel writing and chronicles and nodal moments during the twentieth century. In the frame of the new consumer culture studies, we will study works and practices where consumerism is a political issue. Students will be introduced to theoretical writing on consumerism in different contexts (fin-de-siècle, the Sixties, contemporary times). This course will provide students with an accurate understanding of some of the topics of modern Latin American culture related to the market, aesthetics and politics including topics as elite culture vs. popular culture, practices of resistance, representation of the violence, cities as spectacles and new phenomena as “poor tourism” and landfill art. The class will be conducted in Spanish.

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