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Core Course

Centre of Latin American Studies

 

Research Methods and Frameworks

Referencing and Citational Practices (for all students)

Thursday, 15 October 2020, 11:00 - 12:00, online

Sarah Abel

This seminar provides an introduction to the practical and political aspects of referencing and citation in academic research. We will discuss the various functions of references, and the implications of who we choose to cite in our work, and how. The session also aims to offer practical tips and tools for organising notes and articles and for creating bibliographies, for instance using reference management softwares such as Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote.

In preparation for the seminar, students are asked to read the following:

Texts

 

Social Science Research (for all students who intend to use social science methods in their work)

Thursday, 29 October 2020, 11:00 - 12:00, online

Pedro Mendes Loureiro

This seminar will provide participants with an introductory understanding of what social science is, and why it matters. The discussion will hinge on the relationship between evidence, theory, analysis and finding, which is central to all rigorous and defensible research.

In practical terms, the session will be structured around how to do a literature review, which involves clarifying the interconnections between how to identify a problem, how to formulate a research question, how to gather data as evidence, how to situate your work in relation to the existing literature and how to make a diligent argument as a logical extension of evidence.

Please read the two articles listed below prior to the session. They are very influential contributions, one in Social Anthropology and one in Development Economics, which concern Latin America and Latin American Studies in different ways. Do not focus on the specifics of the arguments advanced in each article but rather reflect on their structure, trying to identify why and how they became influential (in case you do not find them personally convincing, think about why other people did). In particular, try to identify their logical structure, their connection to the previously existing literature, how they use theory, and how they connect the empirical material to their theoretical framework. Based on this, we will discuss how this relates to your own research projects.

Texts

‘El (remote) Campo’: Preparing for Fieldwork in Latin America (for all students)

Dr. Aiko Ikemura Amaral (London School of Economics and Political Science) A.Ikemura-Amaral@lse.ac.uk
Dr Alejandra Díaz de León (El Colegio de México) diazdeleon.cardenas@gmail.com

Workshop 1:
Friday, 20 November 2020, 2:00 - 4:00pm, online

Workshop 2: 
Friday, 27 November 2020, 2:00 - 4:00pm, online

This two-session workshop is intended to introduce and discuss issues emerging from fieldwork research in Latin America. The goal is to encourage students to reflect on their fieldwork preparation and research practices. In a (post) COVID-19-pandemic world, some methodological approaches have become restricted. Yet, this has allowed for an increased interest on digital and remote methods for data collection, new research questions and issues and a growing attention for online environments as actual field sites. While a lot has changed, fieldwork remains an important element of research and this workshop intends to address common themes associated with this experience, allowing students the space to talk about their expectations, try methods and raise questions. Another important objective is to reflect on ethical concerns, power asymmetries and extractivist approaches reproduced through fieldwork in the Global South.

The workshop will be divided into four main themes: fieldwork preparation, accessing 'the field', doing fieldwork and leaving ‘the field’. Prior to the first section, students will be required to produce a short description of their research project and to read two short texts. In the week between the sessions, students will be asked to perform a task where they will be able to put some of their skills into practice. Providing a basic tool kit for research in the context of a pandemic, and laying the groundwork for a debate on longer-standing themes surrounding fieldwork, this workshop hopes to provide a useful introduction for those aiming to go to ‘the field’ now and/or in a less convoluted future.

Requirements
Before the 1st of November, participants are required to send the convenors a paragraph no longer than 150 words in which they explain: their research topic, their research question (if they have one), and the methodology they are thinking of using. This will help us tailor the workshop to you.

Readings

  • Leurs, K., & Prabhakar, M. (2018). Doing Digital Migration Studies: Methodological Considerations for an Emerging Research Focus.
  • En R. Zapata-Barrero & E. Yalaz (Eds.), Qualitative Research in European Migration Studies (pp. 247–266). Springer International Publishing. 
  • Manning, J. (2016). Constructing a Postcolonial Feminist Ethnography, Journal of Organizational Ethnography, 5 (2) pp. 90-105
  • de Seta, Gabriele. (2018). Three Lies of Digital EthnographyAnthrodendum
     

Academic Writing for Postgraduate Research (for all students)

Joanna Page

Workshop 1: Improving Clarity and Fluency in Writing Style
Tuesday, 24 November 2020, 10:00-12:30, online

In this session we will work through a series of techniques that will help you to write more clearly, concisely, and effectively.

Workshop 2: Managing a Writing Project
Thursday, 26 November 2020, 10:00-12:30, online

By the end of this workshop, you should have a greater understanding of how to manage a writing project (such as an essay or a dissertation), from the initial planning stages through to submission.
 

Introduction to Film Theory and Analysis (for all students taking the Cinema module and any others interested)

Tuesday, 19 January 2021, 11:00 - 13:00 - location TBC

Joanna Page 

This seminar will explore why and how theories of film and visual culture can be helpful in our analysis of individual texts and broader movements. We will explore how film theory has historically borrowed from structuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism and postcolonial studies before looking how these and other ideas are taken up in a range of different contemporary approaches. As this seminar is also designed to give a useful broader context for studying Latin American cinema, in the second part we will discuss some important trends and movements elsewhere with which Latin American filmmakers have established a dialogue, such as Soviet montage, Italian neorealism and the French nouvelle vague. Although part of the seminar will be lecture-style, we will also analyse a number of sequences together.

The seminar will provide a useful introduction to approaches to film and visual culture for those who have not formally studied it at undergraduate level; for those who have, it should extend your understanding of different approaches that you may wish to explore in your own research.