Arts of Urgency: Latin American Film and Literature

Fall 2019
Winter 2020
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 46
16 Credits per quarter
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In this program, students will explore the historical and cultural contexts of Latin American film, animation, and literature, beginning with Third Cinema in the 1960s and continuing into the present. This has been a time of Third World liberation movements and authoritarian repression of those movements, First World aggression and the rise of neoliberalism, struggles for democracy, and ongoing persistence of movements for social transformation.  Many artists have participated actively in these urgent struggles, strategically intervening to foster progressive change in their own countries and beyond.

In our study, we will ask how can artists center the voices of historically-marginalized peoples? How can they represent horror, suffering, or collective trauma without beautifying it, or re-traumatizing the people who experienced it? How might artistic forms activate and enliven social memory?  What artistic or rhetorical strategies, including humor, work effectively to inspire social change, criticism and resilience? What are the particular challenges of making effective political art, especially in times of urgency?

As we learn about the genres and representational strategies that Latin American artists, authors, and filmmakers have developed, students will build skills in close reading of literature and film, writing, critical thinking, and analysis of social and political themes. These include visual and written storytelling skills and basic analog animation techniques. Students will reflect on their own histories and urgent concerns, offering their own creative responses through writing and animation.

In fall quarter, we will focus on Third Cinema, including the flourishing of Cuban cinema after the 1959 Revolution, and the rise and fall of the democratically elected socialist government of Chile’s  Unidad Popular  as reflected in the films of Patricio Guzmán, among additional cases. In winter, we will continue to track artistic and cultural production in the contexts of neoliberalism and democratization, and questions of social memory and transformation throughout Latin America.  Both quarters, we will explore diverse voices and aesthetic strategies, engaging a broad range of literature, experimental animation, and film from across the region.


Fall 2019 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16): 10135
So (16): 10136
Jr (16): 10319
Sr (16): 10320
Winter 2020 Registration

Incoming students must be willing to spend up to 8 additional hours in the first two weeks of the quarter to gain basic animation skills and knowledge of Latin American cinema commensurate with ongoing students. 

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16): 20050
So - Sr (16): 20051

Academic details

Preparatory For

Animation, History, literature, cross cultural studies, media arts & studies, and education

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

Fall- $325 for Overnight field trip, entrance fees, and art supplies. 

Winter- $50 for entrance fees and art supplies.


In Person or Remote
In Person (F)
In Person (W)
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 D1105 - Lecture


Date Revision
2019-11-26 Winter fee reduced to $50 (from $325)
2019-11-12 Winter admit conditions updated
2019-05-31 Open to AL and reduced to 25% FY from 50%
2019-04-23 Fees updated