Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Visual Culture, Authority, and Identity in Colonial Latin America
Monday | Wednesday: 2:00 - 3:30pm
Indigenous cultures of Latin America endured profound and violent changes in the years immediately following Spanish invasion. Religious practices were suppressed, and those who engaged in such practices were persecuted. Socio-political systems were reconfigured, and sacred, historical, and ceremonial objects were destroyed. During the succeeding centuries of colonial rule, a new society centered on the Catholic Church emerged, which developed a distinct visual culture drawing upon a variety of sources. Some indigenous traditions endured while others disappeared and many evolved into new customs along with the integration of European practices. Members of colonial society sought to make sense of the new world and contend for social, economic, political, and religious positions through the production of cultural objects. This course will consider the ways in which visual culture functioned as leveraging tools, means to assert authority and/or identity, ways to maintain the status quo, and forms of resistance. We will examine a variety of objects from Mexico and Peru related to religious practice, domestic life, and the political realm with emphasis on understanding the roles various participants played in their production and reception. As the second course in the Reading and Composition series, this class aims to hone thinking, reading, and writing skills through the completion of short and long essays, rewriting, and peer review. The course will culminate with the completion of a 10–12 page research paper and annotated bibliography.