This course surveys the cultural production of Latin America and Spain from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century. Students will acquire the knowledge needed for the study of the cultural manifestations of the Hispanic world in the context of modernity. In the first part of the semester we will study the Enlightenment as ideology and practice, taking into account its influence on the cultural, political, and economic development of modernity. We will consider the unmaking of imperial relations between the Old and the New World, the rise of the modern economic system, and the socio-environmental consequences of globalization. During the following sections of the course we will examine how modernization and nation-building processes often hinged on different ways of imagining, representing, and organizing nature. By analyzing literary, philosophical, and historiographic texts, film narratives, and infrastructure projects, we will attempt to grasp an understanding of how the political, social, and economic realms are constantly in the process of producing (and of being produced by) the materiality of nature. The goal of this class is not to present a solid and periodized narrative of causally interrelated events and sources, but to provide representative examples of these political, economic, and ecological transitions through both area-specific and wide ranging cultural and political artifacts. Over the course of the semester students will give a 15-minute presentation, write one midterm essay, and one final paper in which they will engage with topics and materials pertaining to the syllabus. Class discussion, assignments, and most primary materials are in Spanish.
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