Course lecturer: Dr. Arij Ouweneel
Tel./mail 020-5253246 /
Period: 8 January – 1 February 2018
Time: Monday 13:00 – 16:00 hours and Thursday 13:00 – 16:00 hours Course load: 6 EC

BA 3. Latin American Visual Culture

This course explores ‘the production of the visual’. Latin America has known diverse and rich traditions in visual culture, for example in architecture, art and youth culture, the analysis of which can shed fresh light on historical movements, political ideologies, forms of protest, and more specifically on the semiotics of the visuals used and produced.

Object of the analysis are non-moving and moving images from the pre-Hispanic past until the present. Consequently, this four-week block is structured following a historical time-line beginning with pre-Hispanic architecture and colonial urban design (Mexico, Guatemala). Photographs were important during the Mexican Revolution (1910) and the Dirty War in the Andes (1980s). The cultural mnemonics of violence, dictatorship and the Dirty War in the Southern Cone (Chile, Argentina, 1990s-present) uses public spaces, buildings and still images, next to fiction and documentary movies. Students will become acquainted with them and conduct a small study comparing different expressions on one topic or case from Latin America. They work in small groups, investigating the meanings of the selected visual material and exploring the linkages between the images of the visual culture discussed as part of Latin American societies.

At the end of the course, the student is able to take basic steps towards producing a critical reflection upon still media objects with regards to its cultural and political analysis; apply basic methods of analysis to these media products based on a cultural theory; compare the different types of images and reflect on their encoding; collaborate in the organization of group work, and give constructive feedback on the work of fellow students; conduct a small investigation into media production and report on research activities following current scholarly standards.

Form of instruction
The course consists of seven meetings, a few assignments and a paper. It will contain formal lectures and group discussions, including presentations. Each students contributes individually to a group paper of considerable size; each discussing an individual topic (painting, photograph, architecture [buildings, public spaces], street art, and statues) of the more general case. The series of classes is as follows:





A theory of visual culture



The messages of Pre-Hispanic architecture



Colonial semiotics: building and painting power and resistance



Painting and photographing the Mexican Revolution



The art after the Dirty War in the Andes



Beyond torture and violence in Chile and Argentina



Student seminar on visual culture



Paper due

Course assessment and grading
The course load of 6 EC’s is based on a ratio of 28 hours of study per week (168 hours in all). These include the seven lectures of 3 hours each (21 hours), reading of literature (67 hours) and the presentation and writing of a chapter of the group paper of about 2500 words (80 hours).

Literature (provisional)
A reading list will be announced in due course. There will be 2-3 articles or book chapters per lecture, to amount to a total of about thirty academic articles/chapters.

Registration and Participation

UvA Students
Students registered at the University of Amsterdam can register for the CEDLA courses through SIS.

Students registered at other Dutch universities
BA students that are registered at another Dutch university can register as a guest student Spanish Language and Culture (‘bijvakstudent Spaanse Taal en Cultuur’) at the University of Amsterdam in Studielink.

MA students that are registered at another Dutch university can register through our digital registration form.

Persons who are interested in our courses, but are not registered as students at a university, may participate in some courses under certain provisions. Those interested, should provide the secretariat with some information on their background, their background knowledge and their special interest in taking the course. Non-students can register for the courses through our digital registration form

The cost of a CEDLA Bachelor course is €40.00 per credit, the Master courses cost €60.00 per credit. The amount due should be transferred to IBAN number NL51INGB0004990722, and made payable to Centrum voor studie en documentatie van Latijns Amerika, Amsterdam. Please make sure you also give your name and the title of the selected course with your payment transfer.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the CEDLA secretariat. We are open on weekdays from 9.00 to 17.00 hours.

Telephone: +31 20 525 3498

Pictures: -Dj Lu- Juegasiempre (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)