SPLT 059 - (CC, LT) Farewell to Columbus: Rethinking the Latin American Heritage
Semester Hours: 3
Through a variety of documents –both written and visual— this course addresses Latin American cultures from pre-Columbian times to the coming of independence in the nineteenth century. The key themes will necessarily include exploration; military and spiritual conquest; the formation, consolidation, reform, and collapse of colonial institutions of government, and Church; the accompanying changes in the economy and labor; issues of race and class; and the role of indigenous peoples, women, and subaltern identities in society. The overarching goal of the course, however, is to offer a deeper appreciation of Latin American cultures by decolonizing our understanding of these individual themes. On the one hand, we will put into question the western myth of Columbus and other figures traditionally associated with discovery, conquest, and cultural formation. On the other, in place of the old myths, voice will be given to the historically marginalized sectors of society. In approaching this subject matter, we will reassess some classic western texts, but students will also be encouraged to rethink traditional conceptions of the Latin American past through a close reading of under-explored sources such as private letters, sermons, local legislation, travel accounts, business treaties, wills and testaments, and other indigenous written and non-written records. The course will pay equal emphasis on non-verbal documents, which had a paramount role both before and after the conquest, including carved stones, maps, clothing and textiles, and a wide range of artistic forms such as altarpieces, church interiors, portraits and paintings, monumental inscriptions, and public architecture.
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