Thursday, May 2, 2013

Culture and Zombies and Art, Oh My!

It’s no surprise that a Spanish course would explore a topic like zombies considering this year’s Symposium Against Indifference theme of Latin America and the Carribean, but Dr. Lina Aguirre’s Spanish 312 students won’t be studying the history or folklore of zombies in Haiti. 

Students will, however, watch a series of films, including comedy/horror film Juan de los Muertos (Juan of the Dead), in which zombies, claimed by the Cuban government to be dissidents, terrorize citizens of Cuba.  The film explores the Cuban culture and politics and demonstrates the role of the Cuban film industry in “expressing or communicating issues in its own way,” said Aguirre, allowing students to explore the message of the film as well as how those messages are communicated.  Amid stereotypes that “Latin Americans are suffering…that Latin America is [plagued by] violence the film shows that Latin Americans can and want to have fun,” said Aguirre. 

Dr. Lina Aguirre
Students will explore Latin American civilization through contemporary culture, especially by becoming immersed in its visual products such as paintings, textiles, film and even advertising.  During the course, for example, students will study the relationship between “pre-Columbian civilization and Mayan spirituality and modern tourism and independence.  Tying classic civilization with contemporary issues lets students learn history to understand now.” 

In addition to immersion in the classroom, students in the course will participate directly in several Symposium Against Indifference events:  a multi-sensory literary reading, a screening of Juan de los Muertos, and a talk conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Bell (OSU) about the role of spirituality in contemporary Mayan communities in Guatemala. (Please note that these Symposium events are planned but are subject to final confirmation. Click here for additional information about the upcoming Symposium Against Indifference.)

Fall 2013 is an opportune time for students to take the course because it allows them to more fully participate in a campus-wide conversation about Latin America.  For the multi-sensory reading, for example, students have the opportunity to collaborate with art students to bring Latin American texts to life through readings and art.  These opportunities are especially exciting to Dr. Aguirre.  “The course exposes students to a new world…and helps them understand how to think about the region.  The outside opportunities [presented by the Symposium] make this a great time to study Latin American Civilization!”

Latin American Civilization, Span 312, meets Core credit for social science.  
Register for this course.
Additional course info: Span 312 is offered in the fall of 2013 and in alternate years.  Spanish 310 required, unless the course is waived through special permission.  The course is taught in Spanish.

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