The Identity of the City in Latin America

Course lecturer: Dr. Christien Klaufus
Periode: 31 October - 19 December
Schedule: Wednesday at 13.00 - 17.00
Course load: 6 EC
Course ID: 137221036Y

Latin America is the New World, the continent of hope. Hope for a better life for the poor; hope for a more egalitarian society. People used to think that this hope was only found on the countryside, in the life of peasants and Indians. However, Latin America has urbanized at a very high pace over the last decades; more than three quarters of the population live in urban areas. Not surprisingly, the academic focus shifted to regarding cities as locations of alternative identity constructions and alternative futures.

In this course students explore the workings of identification with, and within cities, making use of human-geographical and cultural studies. Latin American cities are addressed by exploring citizens’ agency and identity constructions in the context of urban planning and socio-spatial policies. We start the course with an overview of Latin American urban studies and the history of urban development in Latin America. Then, our attention shifts to everyday experiences in the urban neighborhoods, contemporary social movements, socio-spatial segregation, memory politics, urban policies and urban governance. Towards the end we will address urban imaginaries in films and digital media.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:
- describe general urban development processes in Latin America;
- explain and use core concepts from the urban studies literature;
- apply knowledge about Latin American cities in broader development debates, for example with regard to social movements, livelihood strategies, social mobility, spatial segregation, violence, and urban spatial policies.

The reading list will be published two months in advance.

Form of instruction and assessment
This course consists of one session per week of four hours each, seven sessions in total. A session consists of a lecture and a working group seminar. Attending the sessions is a prerequisite: only students that have attended at least six of the seven sessions can pass the course.
For each session the student is expected to read and prepare the literature from the reading list in the course syllabus. The literature will be discussed in the working group sessions on the basis of written assignments. Students will be in charge of the discussion.

The course will be assessed by a two-hour exam (60%) and the working group assignments (40%).

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

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: Adam Cohn (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)