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Module

LAS1010 : An Introduction to Latin America

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Patricia Oliart
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

In consonance with the overall aim of the degree offered in the School of Modern Languages, the general aim of this module is to introduce students to the geography, politics, and key social and historical issues that allow a complex understanding of contemporary Latin America. Other aims are to provide a multidisciplinary overview and understanding of post coloniality in Latin America, to provide context and initial knowledge of issues to be taught in other SPLAS modules, and finally to familiarize students with a wide range of sources and research resources on Latin America.

Outline Of Syllabus

This survey module follows a diachronic approach, bringing a historical perspective to contemporary issues.
It combines lectures, seminars, and independent study activities. The first half provides a historical framework to understand the place of Latin America in the world. The relevance of the colonization of Amerindian civilizations for the contemporary republics is studied through the independent nation building processes as they occurred in a selection of countries. The importance of race relations and cultural tensions in these processes is dealt with throughout the module. The semester ends with sessions dedicated to the relationship between this socio-historical background and the contemporary cultural production.

The second half of the module presents a closer look at the political ideas and ideological trends that inspired political and social movements throughout the 20th century. The tense relationship between Latin America and the US is explored in its economic, social and political implications between 1950 and 1980. The module ends with an exploration of current attempts to overcome major development challenges.

Semester 1:
-       Characteristics of the territory and first peoples. The contributions of ethnohistory and anthropology
-       The encounter with the West. Spanish and Portugal Colonial expansion to the Americas
-       Nation building processes and the idea of race in Latin America after Independence
-       Latin American cultural production: Dealing with tradition and modernity. Cinema, music, and literature.
Semester 2:
-       Ideology, politics, and contemporary challenges.
-       The short Twentieth Century: The emergence of “The People” in ideology and politics.
-       From 1950 to 1980: Times of Hope and unrest
-       Military dictatorships and The National Security Doctrine. What Truth Commissions revealed.
-       In search of stability and development: Neo Liberal State reforms for the XXI Century.
-       Political changes and new challenges for Latin America.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials94:0036:00Includes pre- and post- lecture reading.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities92:0018:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Present-in-Person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study198:0098:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This is a survey module with a diachronic approach. Historical circumstances are always brought to the present to make clear connections with their relevance to understand contemporary Latin America. Each topic is dealt with a combination of lectures, assigned readings and guided seminar small group discussions that are shared with the larger seminar groups. Readings combine both primary sources and scholarly articles that allow students to go further in their understanding of Latin American societies and cultures.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1002000 word essay in English.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Portfolio1MStudents present an 800-word comment on the relevance of at least 10 academic sources for a topic of their choice from * see beow
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The final essay will invite students to look independently into the different areas of study emerging from the lectures.

The formative assessment in semester 1 is a portfolio intended to develop initial research skills helping students to identify and critically comment on relevant sources (in English and Spanish) as training for the final essay in semester 2.

* (Continued from above) a list of set options.

Reading Lists

Timetable