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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Spring 2008

SPN 378H • Honors Seminar

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

This course aims to understand Latin American twentieth century politics through the study of its cinema. The course will address three main topics: Social Revolutions, Cold War struggles, and the politics of Human Rights of the subaltern groups. In the first part, we will study Mexican and Cuban revolutions as portrait by Ismael Rodríguez' "La cucaracha" (1959), and Tomás Gutiérrez Alea's "Memorias del subdesarrollo" (1968). In this section, we will discuss the interpretations of social movements undertaken by these films, emphasizing ideological confrontations and the role of violent events in these historical processes. In the part dealing with the Cold War, we are going to analyze the films "Alsino y el cóndor" (1982) by Miguel Littin, the documentary "La hora de los hornos" by Octavio Getino and Fernando E. Solanas (1968), and "Rojo amanecer" by Jorge Fons (1989). The discussion on these films will focus on how gerrillas, Latin American governments and United States' interests, created an atmosphere of terror and the way this terror constitutes a filmic aesthetics. In the last part of the course we are going to address gender and ethnic violence in "La boca del lobo" by Francisco Lombardi (1988), "El norte" by Gregory Nava (1983), "Digna" by Felipe Cazals (2003), and "La batalla de las cruces" by Rafael Bonilla (2005). Indian victimization, migration, and femicides, as related to neo-liberal policies and globalization will be the content of our discussions in this part.

Grading Policy

Three partial papers (6 pages each) 60% Three partial exams 30% Participation 10%


Besides the films, the class will read selections from the following books: Arendt, Hanna. On Violence. New York: Harvest Books, 1970. Martin, Michael T. New Latin American Cinema. Volume One: Theories, Practices, and Transcontinental Articulations. detroit: Wayne Sate University, 1997. Ravelo, Patricia, Héctor Domínguez, ed. Entre las duras aristas de las armas. Mexico: CIESAS, 2006. Rotker, Susana. Ciudadanías del miedo. Caracas: Ed. Nueva sociedad, 2000.


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