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Optional Modules

Centre of Latin American Studies

Mural by Diego Rivera, Palacio Nacional, Mexico City

Latin American Film and Visual Arts

This module offers students the opportunity to analyse some of the most exciting films, photography and art to have emerged in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, Chile and Brazil in the 20th and 21st centuries. Many of the works studied address important contemporary issues such as globalization, questions of (post)modernity, the construction of gender and sexuality, questions of race and ethnicity, the representation of history, and the role of visual culture in society. Emphasis will be placed on studying films and other visual arts within the cultural and social contexts of their production, and in the light of current theories of visual culture.

Teaching takes the form of open-discussion seminars at which students are asked to present short papers. Students are also encouraged to attend lectures on Latin American cinema and visual arts given by the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages. We have extensive resources for the study of visual culture in Cambridge, including an archive of approximately 500 Latin American films (Catalogue available to computers within academic institutions).

Students will be expected already to have (or to be able to acquire rapidly during the course) good listening comprehension and reading knowledge of Spanish. Some of the films set for study are not available with subtitles and secondary reading is often in Spanish. We suggest you seek advice from a member of staff regarding language laboratory resources should you need help in improving your level of Spanish comprehension.

The module has a slightly different course structure depending on whether you take it from within the MPhil in Latin American Studies, or from within the MPhil in Screen and Media Cultures / MPhil in European Literature. If the former, then seminars will run for five weeks towards the beginning of Michaelmas Term and the first five weeks of Lent Term. If the latter, then the Michaelmas Term seminars are optional, as your designated course runs in the Lent Term (Jan-Mar). However, you are welcome to attend some or all of the Michaelmas Term seminars and indeed strongly encouraged to do so, especially if you have not previously studied Latin American film or visual culture.