LAS 381 • 22-DOCUMENTARY TRAD IN LAT AM
11:00 AM-2:00 PM
1:00 PM-5:00 PM
|DE CESARE, D|
US newsmagazine and television reportage often portrays Latin America one-dimensionally as a continent of inexplicable turmoil and poverty. Too rarely do we see evidence of the diversity or complex realities faced by our southern neighbors or consider how the US appears through the eyes of Latin American journalists, artists, witnesses or protagonists. This interdisciplinary course begins an exploration across that divide providing an entry into the themes of human rights and identity in Latin America. Each week through readings, lectures on still photography from Latin America and screenings of contemporary films, students will consider major themes in Latin American history through its own visual culture sometimes comparing these representations with those of foreign journalists or photographers who "parachute in" to cover stories. For journalism or film students who may be unfamiliar with Latin American history the course provides a gateway into that history and the history of US relations with Latin America. Emphasis on key themes, historical memory, the iconography of revolution, indigenous and mestizo identity, cultural survival, ritual and spiritual diversity, help sensitize students to the value of background knowledge of historical and cultural context when doing their own visual reportage or documentary work. Conversely exposure to visual self-representation by contemporary Latin American photographers and filmmakers offers students of Latin American Studies an emotional window into interior history to complement written political history with which they may already be familiar. In addition the course provides Latin Americanists an opportunity to attempt their own culturally sensitive photographic reporting on local Latino topics or an opportunity to test their appreciation of formal and technical criteria in visual arts by preparing a visual lecture critically examining the work of a Latin American photographer or filmmaker. Upon completion of this course all students will have a deepened understanding of the rich and varied documentary tradition that exists in Latin America and student journalists will appreciate the perils of approaching the region with naive ignorance of its history, intellectual traditions, and diverse cultural identities.