Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture in Translation: Latin American Outlaws: Pirates, Maroons, Bandits, Guerrilleros, and Narcos [CRN 77173]

Discipline: Spanish
Instructor: Esch
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1040
End: 1200
Field Work: Day 1 - Tuesday, 1 November | Brazil
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

Outlaws and rebels are ingrained in popular imagery about Latin America but rarely do we gain a deeper understanding of their political and cultural meaning. From colonial outlaws such as pirates and rebellious runaway slaves (maroons), to nineteenth century bandits, and more recently guerrilla fighters and drug traffickers, violent non-state or semi-state actors have impacted Latin American history. Present in Cuba, Brazil, the Andean region, Central America, and Mexico, these figures have appeared in novels, movies, and songs or have written autobiographical texts about their experiences. Using English translations of a wide-range of Latin American cultural expressions and genres from different periods, this course enables students to acquire broad knowledge of Latin American cultures by studying the region from the perspective of outlaws, outsiders, and rebels. The last part of the course will focus on the representation of Latin American outlaws in US film and TV and engage students to question the stereotypes perpetuated in many of these shows.

The course is taught in English but students minoring or majoring in Spanish are highly encouraged to take the course.

Field Work

Country: Brazil
Day: 1 - Tuesday, 1 November

We will visit a Maroon village, a village of descendants of former escaped slaves. These settlements are called quilombos in Brazil, based on the Kimbundu word kilombo for ‘camp’. They were usually in remote areas and often survived decades of attack and persecution during colonial times. Modern day quilombolas also save many challenges, among others, struggle for land rights. Possible locations: Barra, Bananal e Riacho das Pedras; Parateca e Pau D'Arco; Rio das Rãs; Mangal e Barro Vermehrung (quilombo communities in Bahia, distance from Salvador unclear); time permitting, also visit the Blocos Afro, Black power samba reggae organizations in Salvador da Bahia, such as Ilê Aiyê or Olodum, talk with the activists/musicians. Learning objectives:

  1. See how the history of slavery relates to the present
  2. Meet Black activists and learn about their struggles in Brazil
  3. Grasp similarities and differences to the current situation in the US
  4. Be humbled, be empowered.
  5. Use impressions of this day for an extensive creative writing piece, 5-7 pages (option 1) or a comparative research essay (option 2) or visual work on slavery and Black resistance in the Americas (option 3).