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Writing Nature into the Latin American Nation

Module Code: HP312
Module Name: Writing Nature into the Latin American Nation
Module Coordinator: Dr Michela Coletta
Not Running 2019-20
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

This module explores a range of cultural articulations of Spanish American social, political and racial identities following Latin American independence with a focus on how shifting representations of the natural environment were woven into identity discourses. Since colonial times Latin America was constructed as ‘nature’, implying a lack of ‘culture’ which needed to be introduced through European civilisation. How have Latin Americans responded to and reformulated such representations after independence as they were striving to build new national and regional imaginaries? How was the ‘naturaleza americana’ revisited in these attempts to utter the Latin American nation? What do these imaginations tell us about the way in which nature keeps shaping our ideas about Latin America? With a wide geographic focus and using a variety of literary and artistic genres — the identity essay, the novel, poetry and the visual arts —, we will consider how writers, artists and intellectuals reimagined and reconstructed their national and regional identities by looking at how ideas about nature shaped a number of concerns including: race, ethnicity and class; gender and sexuality; landscape and nation-building; modernisation and development.

Essential Reading:

  • Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Facundo: civilización y barbarie, Cátedra, 2006 (selected chapters - book available online)
  • Ezequiel Martínez Estrada, Radiografía de la pampa, FCE, 1991 / Losada, 1995 (selected chapters - material provided by tutor)
  • Nation and nature in the Latin America visual arts (material provided by tutor)
  • Nation and nature in Latin American poetry (material provided by tutor)
  • Juan Carlos Galeano, Cuentos amazónicos, Tierra Nueva, 2014 (material provided by tutor)


1 x 4000-4500-word essay