Course lecturers: Dr. Arij Ouweneel and Dr. Annelou Ypeij
MA 2. CULTURAL RESOURCES IN URBAN LATIN AMERICA: Identity, space and gender
The course is an introduction to the Cultural Resource Approach. The underlying premise of this approach can be found in Andeans and Their Use of Cultural Resources: Space, Gender, Rights & Identity, written by CEDLA researchers. Latin America is the New World, the continent of hope: a better life for the poor; a more egalitarian society.
This course examines how the Latin Americans use their cultural repertoires -information from next of kin, community members, migrants, films and other media; visual display, and further forms of communication- to create opportunities to participate in, or resist, the ways of life in the region. This cultural-resource perspective enables us to juxtapose urban traditions, rural traditions, and emerging global influences. The focus is on what people do. On a certain place and moment, this is the outcome of people’s actions, rooted in the resources in their surroundings, the old material world and the new world they create. Cultural resources are found “out there,” in the world, ready to use. In the course, these are discussed as any set of cultural elements within a specific sociocultural setting and conducive to the quest for social inclusion, enhanced self-esteem, status improvement, economic advancement, democratic inclusion, or a liberated identity. Agency is a key word here. Students will be challenged to explore the workings of identity formation and its roots, making use of the insights of cognitive cultural studies and anthropology. In the introductory part of the course the cultural-resources perspective is explained. Next, attention will be shifted toward the insights of cognitive cultural studies in discussing the predicament of new democratic thinking, urban violence and the sexual contract. Then, the focus will be on questions of tourism, ethnicity, gender, family and social mobility.
Form of instruction and assessment
This master course consists of a series of seven 3-hour class meetings. Grades will be based on the assignments and presentations in class (15%), a written takehome exam (50%) based on course literature, and a final paper based on additional literature (35%).
The list of required course literature includes the titles below. Literature for the paper consists of 250 pages of articles and book chapters, to be chosen in consultation with one of the lecturers. You are free to suggest a topic as long as it deals with the Cultural Resource Approach, entails some 3000 words, and based on these 250 pages.
- Arij Ouweneel (ed.), Andeans and Their Use of Cultural Resources: Space, Gender, Rights & Identity, Amsterdam: CEDLA Cuaderno, 2012 - Macarena Gómez-Barris, Where Memory Dwells. Culture and State Violence in Chile. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009
And a series of articles. The definitive list will be available shortly before the course.
Picture: Rafcha. Sunset in Tabatinga. Brazil (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)