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Language and Power in Latin America
HIST 373
Spring 2022 not offered
Crosslisting: LAST 373

What is a perfect language? Societies across the globe, in different times and places, have sought to answer this question. In the process they have posited a diversity of theories about the relationships among language, individual and group identity, social harmony, religious devotion, and political power. This seminar investigates the ways in which Latin American societies, from the colonial period until the present, grappled with the problem of language and its ability to shape their communities. From indigenous polities, to the imperial monarchies that conquered and colonized the Americas, to the nation-states that emerged in the 19th century, all have had to confront the realities of a diverse and profoundly multilingual region.

The course will be organized around representative case studies. It will draw from a variety of fields (e.g., linguistics, philosophy, history, anthropology, and history of science) to consider how language served as either a resource or an obstacle to be surmounted in the creation of ideal religious, political, and intellectual communities in Latin America. Significant themes include the role of language in conquest and colonization, the development of cultural institutions to regulate and standardize language usage, the prevalence of bilingualism in many regions, the proliferation of literacy campaigns as a hallmark of the revolutionary governments of the mid-20th century, and the emergence of indigenous peoples as social and political actors in contemporary Latin America.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS HIST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (HIST-MN)(HIST)(LAST)

Last Updated on JUL-19-2024
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