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Culture Latin America



How do definitions of femininity change among indigenous women in the Andes? To what extent do digital technologies nurture social change in Cuba? What is the influence of African cultures on Brazilian film? Why are drug traffickers perceived as heroes or even as saints in Mexico and Venezuela? The Latin American region comprises an archipelago of complex hybrid identities that are based on millenarian indigenous traditions, Western notions of modernity, emerging local standards and transnational cultures. Experiences of imperialism, slavery, structural inequality and emancipation have given shape to the languages, practices and products that
nowadays constitute the cultural identities of Latin Americans.

Course objectives

This course explores culture within the Latin American region and builds on to ‘introduction to culture’ course. Central questions are:

  • What are the particular regional issues regarding the material and immaterial Latin American cultures?

  • What are the main regional concerns, both socially and academically, on the definition of cultural identities in Latin America?

  • What are the scholarly traditions and current debates of studying cultures in Latin America?

From a multidisciplinary perspective, the student will learn about the particularities of the cultural identities, everyday life and cultural products in Latin America and the Caribbean. These questions will be presented by staff members of the Department of Latin American Studies (LAS).


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

Lectures and tutorials.

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Assessment method

  • Tutorials (30%).

  • Midterm evaluation: draft final essay (30%). Deadline: October 21.

  • Final evaluation: essay (3000 words) on a topic selected under supervision (40%). Deadline: December 6.

Without exceptions, only texts handed before the deadline will be accepted.
Final results will be published by December 20.


Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

  • Gutmann, M. (Ed.) 2003. Perspectives on Las Américas. Blackwell.

  • Hall, S. (Ed.) 1997. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Sage.


Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.