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Methods of Cultural Analysis and Critical Readings


Admission requirements

Masterstudents with proficiency level of Spanish (C1-C2). Students with a proficiency level of Portuguese and a passive level of Spanish (reading and understanding) are also very welcome. el avanzado de español (C1-C2). Los estudiantes con un nivel avanzado de portugués y un dominio pasivo (lectura y comprensión oral) del español serán admitidos. Nivel de licenciatura (BA/Bsc).


This course in methods of cultural analysis prepares master's students to formulate an individual research project within a Latin American context. Through a thematic and methodological orientation, the course offers the methods and techniques necessary for the formulation of a project within the cultural field.

On the one hand, students will be trained in the use of some of the basic tools of cultural analysis. How do we read something as complex as culture? We can read it in its various discursive expressions and, through them, begin to understand how certain social and political dynamics give it shape and meaning. The focus of student projects can range from political discourses, manifestos or schoolbooks, to graffiti, street-art, artivism, digital media or graphics as an object of analysis. Not to mention music, video-clips, rap or spoken word, dance, or the visual arts. Cinema and TV (and radio) novels are other formats that give us access to Latin American culture and let us not forget the archive - so rich and diverse - of Latin American literature in all its genres (short stories, novels, poetry, micro-stories or children's literature). Starting from our own cultural expressions also gives us the possibility of decolonising our knowledge of Latin American culture. This is something we will talk about in class when we discuss fieldwork and research techniques.

Some aspects of discourse analysis, theories of argumentation, close reading and distant reading help us to better analyse and understand a cultural expression within a specifically Latin American context. Through practical exercises, students rehearse how to approach certain cultural objects and how to contextualise them.

Parallel to these methodological approaches, the students will outline their own research, which will later form the basis of their fieldwork and thesis. Projects in other years have addressed, for example, feminist street-art in Mexico City, the armed conflict and children's literature in Colombia, artivism and digital media in Cuban civil society, the historical character of the enslaved woman in a current Puerto Rican novel, the space and character of the domestic worker in Brazilian cinema, post-dictatorial Argentinean cinema and the politics of memory, the cacerolazo and music as a form of protest in Chile, migration in four Peruvian stories, etc., etc., etc. Through the workshop format, students will work on the formulation of their own research project, its objectives, and questions, as well as on the selection of relevant literature and the preparation of the specifics of fieldwork.

Course Objectives

  1. To understand the methods and techniques necessary for the elaboration of a qualitative research project and cultural analysis.
  2. To acquire critical and analytical skills through critical reading and close readings of a wide range of texts (both written and visual).
  3. To obtain knowledge of a variety of critical approaches within the field of cultural analysis.
  4. To know how to define a specific object of research, formulate a question and present a state of the art.
  5. To Identify the specificity of the Latin American context as a region of interdisciplinary study and acquire knowledge of strategies and methodologies for fieldwork.
  6. To know how to design, present, and develop a coherent research project and outline the design of a plan for fieldwork.


My Timetable

Mode of Instruction


Assessment method


Final grade is calculated the following way:
Oral presentation 20%
Assignments 40%
Final proyect: 40%


Final paper

Inspection and feedback

Feedback-session to be programmed by lecturer

Reading list

In the first session programme and reading list will be provided.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats


Not applicable.