nl en

Modernity in Latin America


Admission requirements

Be a registered student in the (Research) Master’s in Latin America Studies or in another Dutch university master programme. This course is open to students who have a good command of the Spanish language, or students with a passive command of the Spanish but a good command of Portuguese.


The course pays attention in the fascinations and frustrations that Latin Americans have with regard to the phenomenon of modernity and its respective discourses. Especially elites, over time, have carried out various projects of modernisation with the aim of introducing political, cultural and economic innovations from Europe and the United States, often with asymmetric and disappointing results in Latin America. Also, the course deals with the way in which the common population of Latin America is facing modernity from outside the region: while some of its elements are directly opposed, other aspects of that modernity are transformed into useful tools at the service of its own social and cultural needs.

The transferable skills in this course are: analytical thinking (analytical skills, abstraction, evidence); responsibility (ownership, self-discipline, responsible attitude concerning own project, recognize errors); commitment (dedication, motivation, proactive attitude, own initiative); self-regulation (independence, view on own goals, motives and abilities); oral communication (presentation, oral skills, listening); written communication (writing skills, reporting, structure, summarizing); critical thinking (ask questions, check assumptions); creative thinking (inventiveness, curiosity, out of the box thinking); intercultural skills (communication with different cultures)

Course objectives

  1. To be able to analyse the historical processes of Latin America in the framework of modernity.
  2. To be able to identify the specific fields in which modernity has operated in Latin America.
  3. To be able to identify the ideological components of the discourse on national identity in Latin America concerning the modernity.
  4. To be able to analyse the contradictions, paradoxes and challenges resulting from the process of modernisation in Latin America.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Lectures (100%), presentations of the students and essay.

Assessment method


The assessment consists of two parts:
A. An individual oral presentation of 10 minutes about an issue concerning modernity and identity. The aspects which are evaluated are: (a) clarity in the explanation (b) relevance of the chosen subject (c) use of academic/scientific language (d) proxemics (e) summarize skills (f) quality of the employed resources.

B. A paper of at least 6,000 and up to 6,500 words, related to the chosen theme of the presentation. The aspects that are assessed are: (a) coherence and clarity in writing (b) quality of the argumentation (c) level of the contents analysis (d) proper use of bibliographic resources (e) writing in academic language (f) lay-out


A. Presentation: 30% of the final mark.
B. Paper: 70% of the final mark.


Resit exam takes place if the mark of the essay is less than 6.0. Resit consists of a new improved version of the essay within a certain time.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • ANDERSON, B. (1993). Comunidades imaginadas. Reflexiones sobre el origen y la difusión del nacionalismo. México, D.F.: Fondo de Cultura Económica. Capítulo I, ‘Introducción’ (pp. 17-25); Capítulo II, ‘Las raíces culturales’ (pp. 26-62).

  • BABB, F.E. (2011). The Tourism Encounter. Fashioning Latin American Nations and Histories. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

  • BARABAS, A.M. (2000). ‘La construcción del indio como bárbaro: de la etnografía al indigenismo’, Alteridades, 10 (19), pp. 9-20.

  • BELLO, A. (2004). Etnicidad y ciudadanía en América Latina. La acción colectiva de los pueblos indígenas. Santiago de Chile: Naciones Unidas/CEPAL/GTZ.

  • COLMENARES, G. (2006). Las convenciones contra la cultura. Ensayo sobre historiografía hispanoamericana del siglo XIX. Santiago de Chile: DIBAM/Centro de Investigaciones Diego Barros Arana.

  • CORONIL, F. (2000). ‘Naturaleza del poscolonialismo: del eurocentrismo al globocentrismo’, in: E. Lander (comp.), La colonialidad del saber: eurocentrismo y ciencias sociales. Perspectivas latinoamericanas (pp. 87-111). Buenos Aires: CLACSO.

  • DOMINGUES, J.M. (2009). La modernidad contemporánea en América Latina. Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI Editores/CLACSO.

  • FRANCO, J. (1997). ‘La globalización y la crisis de lo popular’, Nueva Sociedad, 19, 62-73,

  • FREI, R. & ROVIRA KALTWASSER, C. (2008). ‘El populismo como experimento político: historia y teoría política de una ambivalencia’, Revista de Sociología, 22, 117-140

  • GIMÉNEZ, G. (2003). ‘La cultura como identidad y la identidad como cultura’, UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, México,

  • GÓMEZ GARCÍA, P. (2007). ‘El fetichismo de la identidad cultural. Por un enfoque más científico y crítico’, in: J.M. Rubio Ferreres et al. (eds.), Identidad, historia y sociedad, capítulo 2 (pp. 55-80). Granada: Editorial Universidad de Granada.

  • HERMET, G. (2003). ‘El populismo como concepto’, Revista de Ciencia Política, XXIII(1), 5-18,

  • HOBSBAWM, E. (2012). ‘Introducción: la invención de la tradición’, in: E. Hobsbawm & T. Ranger (eds.), La invención de la tradición (pp. 7-21). Barcelona: Crítica.

  • LACLAU, E. (2005). La razón populista. Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica.

  • LARRAÍN, J. (2000). Identity and Modernity in Latin America. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • LÓPEZ DE AYALA, M.C. (2004). ‘El análisis sociológico del consumo: una revisión histórica de sus desarrollos teóricos’, Sociológica, 5, 161-188.

  • MARTÍN BARBERO, J. (2001). De los medios a las mediaciones. Comunicación, cultura y hegemonía. III parte, capítulo I ‘Los procesos: de los nacionalismos a las transnacionales’ (pp. 164-202). México, D.F.: Ediciones G. Gili, 6ª edición.

  • RUBIO FERRERES, J.M. (2007). ‘Las identidades en la era de la globalización mediática’, in: J.M. Rubio Ferreres et al. (eds.), Identidad, historia y sociedad, capítulo 4 (pp. 107-134). Granada: Editorial Universidad de Granada.

  • SUBERCASEAUX, B. (2004). ‘Primera parte: apropiación cultural’, in: B. Subercaseaux, Historia de las ideas y de la cultura en Chile, tomo III (pp. 15-31). Santiago de Chile: Editorial Universitaria.

  • VICTORIANO SERRANO, F. (2010). ‘Estado, golpes de Estado y militarización en América Latina: una reflexión histórico-política’, Argumentos, 23(64), 175-193,


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on this website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


Mr. Dr. P.A. Isla Monsalve

Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats

Coordinator of Studies: Tim Sanders


Attendance to the classes is compulsory. The student is allowed to miss a maximum of two sessions. In the case of more absences, the lecturer may decide to impose supplementary assignments on the student.

This course consists of 13 classes of 2 hours each, distributed in 13 weeks.

In this course Brightspace is permanently used to provide: the programme of the course; study materials (literature and PowerPoint presentation of each session); methodological indications and instructions; control of plagiarism; specific information about each college, and forms of the written reports and the research proposal.