This course considers the intersections of gender, race, and class in the production of popular culture as an introduction to, and a way to understand, Latin America, and as a vehicle for students to develop essential skills by examining a variety of sources and developing and supporting arguments in class and on paper. Beginning with introductory historical and theoretical frameworks, students examine a variety of contemporary forms of popular culture: popular religious symbols and rituals, secular festivals, music, dance, food, and sports. Students explore the tensions between elite and popular cultures; popular culture as a resistance or opposition; attempts by the state to manage popular culture as a symbol of national identity or a form of social control; the relation of popular culture to mass and commercial culture; and the migrations of cultural forms between Latin American countries and the rest of the world. The final project is a substantive paper based on independent research. Affiliate program: Latin American Studies.
Prerequisites: SSI2 enrollment requires completion of SSI1 seminar