History | Latin American Popular Culture
F200 | 29341 | McGraw

This course examines the role of the popular in the creation of
Latin American culture.  By reading histories of music, food,
cinema, dance, festivals and other cultural productions, the course
will evaluate how particular activities and values shaped everyday
experience and local life ways.  At the same time, we will
interrogate how elite and popular practices constructed new ideas of
national identity and of “the people.”

Far from being an unchanging facet of daily life, we will also
consider popular culture as a contested process for the enactment of
gender, racial, class, and cultural differences.  For this reason,
politics has never been far removed from popular cultural.  During
the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, state policies shifted
dramatically from trying to stamp out undesirable cultural practices
toward reshaping them for political purposes.  Thus, events such as
public festivities became tied to official interventions.  At the
same time, we will analyze how popular cultural expressions of
discontent could serve as moments of resistance to state projects of
cultural domination.  As we move closer to the present, we will
investigate how mass media have made popular culture more difficult
to control by both the state and its practitioners.  Finally,
throughout the course wwe will examine the dynamic of borrowing and
mixing cultural forms, no less true in the colonial era than in
today’s globalized world.  Meets the Social and Historical Studies