Course lecturer: Dr. Arij Ouweneel
Tel./e-mail: 020 525 3246 /
Period: 5 April – 24 May 2017
Time: Wednesday 13:00 - 16:00 uur
Course load: 6 EC
Max. participants: 25


In many Latin American countries, racism is an essential part of the daily experiences of people’s lives. For decades officially ignored and masked by discourses on “racial democracy,” the “melting pot,” or “racial harmony,” race and ethnicity-based social and economic inequalities have been documented all over the region.

Although mentioned as early as 1944 by the Chilean anthropologist Alejandro Lipschutz, the region’s pigmentocracy — where the region’s social hierarchies are ethnic or colorbased — is now being recognized and even codified. This course focuses on the “pigmentocratic” interaction as documented, represented or staged in visual culture. The academic objective of this course is to increase knowledge of how humans interact by identifying others as opposed to themselves using commonplaces and stereotypes — or ethnotypes. At the center we find the images people meet on a daily basis at the Internet, in the cinema and on television; and passing by murals of local street artists. With this history in the back of our minds, the study of ethnotypes not only still matters urgently theoretically, requiring a more humanities oriented approach to human interaction in fiction as well as in daily lives, but also practically, requiring the scripting of consciousness-raising role-playing simulations.

Role-playing experiments have consistently shown that people may change their attitudes in public behavior. Moreover, it is known that role-playing not only involves simulations at the playground but also creates simulations in the mind, which can be used later when the situation requires it. Set, stored, reset, and maintained by encoding, simulations are cognitive schemas or mental representations of a class of people, objects, or behavioral codes which can be used to describe knowledge about how to act and behave in certain situations. Cognitive schemas work within an experienced world of real or assumed agreement about the meanings of words, gestures and other signs. More than general cognitive schemas, role-playing involves the encoding of scripts. A script is a cognitive schema of an event. An interaction script provides an auto-image (of us) in a certain situation (time, place) and at the same time a hetero-image (of the other[s]) in that situation (time, place). The script’s rudiments of sequence, platform and characters can both be systematically investigated and used in encoding experiments. One of the most popular role-playing platforms today are massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). For that reason, the participants are required to design scripts of ethnotyping, based on literature and the analysis of moving images.

Headwords: cognitive cultural studies, game theory, history, Amerindians and mestizos, moving images

Picture: Szymon Kochański. Incógnito - Altiplano. Bolivia (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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