After Civilization: TheTheory and Practice ofIntroducing Latin AmericanCulture Sophia McClennen
What’s Cultural Studies? An interdisciplinary methodThat has a critical perspective on:-the notion of the literary canon-the concept of absolute truth-systems of cultural value.It focuses on culture, especially popularculture, as a way to understand society.
How does this apply to a course on Latin American Culture? Introduction to Latin American Culture Revise our own notion of culture Be critical regarding dominant notions of culture and belief in Latin America at different times Be sensitive to power relations and how they affect the production of knowledge
“Destabilizing the concept of a true source of history allows classroom discussion of the perplexities involved in defining a culture.” (9)This course proposes “areas of inquiry”.We will engage critically with problems of representation,particularly in the media and in popular culture
“[…] in a course on foreigncivilization taught at a UnitedStates university, a criticalawareness of questions ofcultural hegemony seemsessential.” (7)
Sophia McClennen suggests thatwe should“foster international conciousnessinstead of perpetuating an exoticnotion of difference and aWestern-oriented notion of valueand culture.” (7)
Does this mean ‘facts’ don’t matter?“… understanding details and facts is importantbecause the information provides us with a moreinformed critical stance.” (11) Cultural literacy: to understand and appreciate the conditions of production and reception of culture (texts, films, music) in their contexts.
We need to understand thehistorical relations between cultures -between Spain and the populations of Latin America -between the indigenous culture and the Spanish culture -between Spanish speaking and English speaking peoples in the US -between the US and Latin America
“The study of civilization isalso the study of the acts of barbarity carried out in thename of civilization […]” (13)