Latin American Visual Culture

Course lecturer: Dr. Arij Ouweneel
Period: 7 January - 31 January
Schedule: Monday at 13.00 - 16.00 and Friday at 12.30-15.00
Course load: 6 EC
Course ID: 137217136Y

This course explores “the production of the visual” from the perspective of the Cognitive Cultural Studies. 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: Maya architecture and the performances of their kings, spanish colonial art (Mexico, Guatemala), the pictorial art of the Mexican Revolution (1910), filmed shorts and street art of the afterlife of violence in the Andes (1980s) and the Southern Cone (Chile, Argentina, 1990s-present). Students will become acquainted with this type of cultural production and conduct a small study comparing different simulations encoded in their sources, based on a 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 local visual cultures discussed as a critical part of Latin American societies.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:
take basic steps towards producing a critical reflection upon still [paintings, street art, mural art, comics and sequential narrative, photographs] and moving media objects [YouTube, shorts, fiction & documentary film] with regards to its cultural and political analysis;
- apply basic methods of analysis to these media products based on a specific cognitive 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 and assessment
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 course load of 6 EC’s is based on a ratio of 28 hours of study per week (168 hours in all). These include:
- seven lectures of 3 hours each (21 hours)
- reading of literature (67 hours)
- the presentation and writing of a chapter of the group paper of about 2500 words (80 hours)

For the examination dates please consult the timetable on
Click here for the course description in the UvA Studiegids.

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

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

Picture: Timothy Neesam (CC BY-ND 2.0)