Prior to tutorials, students have been sending their tutor questions based on the key themes which arise from the set e-readings and the online lectures. Discussion of these in the tutorials will be fashioned by students and the teaching team into a possible bank of test questions. Themes so far are:
- The double-edged nature of the naming and categorisation of Latin America, its countries and peoples – it allows us to talk around a set of common descriptive terms, but also feeds into prevalent stereotypes;
- “First contact” and the kinds of hybrid, syncretic, creolised processes set in train by Iberian colonisation in the areas of religion, culture and social relations;
- The long colonial period and the development of a sense of “American-ness” and unique socio-cultural stratifications;
- The causes of the Independence movements and the difficult task of building nations after the formation of states;
- The rise of the USA and its interventions in Latin America.
- The way the Catholic Church in Latin America has been at times both politically progressive (Liberation Theology), but also ultra-conservative and often quietist under dictatorships. Key areas of social contestation between church, modernising states and civil society are: abortion, contraception, divorce, non-normative sexualities, and changing family structures.
- Popular music is primarily for listening to, for performing, for dancing to. Nevertheless, we can bring a critical focus to its study: popular music as social history – popular culture as a ‘window’ onto history, especially ‘history from below’.
- Mexico 1994 – a watershed year: political assassination, national bankruptcy, the establishment of a free trade agreement with the USA and Canada (NAFTA), and the Chiapas uprising. In many ways it marked the symbolic end of the ideals of the Mexican Revolution, in spite of the Leftist uprising. The Mexican political elites of any ideological stripe no longer have the public’s confidence. They have failed to move with the times at the same moment that the drug lords have infiltrated just about every level of Mexican society. Where to now?