ARTH 4160/6160 Topics in Colonial Encounters
(also LATA 4160/6160, VISST 4160)
Topic for spring 2018: Art and Identity in Colonial Latin America
The colonial period in Latin America (circa 1521-1820s) witnessed the formation of one of the most diverse societies in the world. Labor regimes, religious activities, marriage alliances, and commercial contacts engendered by the Spanish colonial enterprise brought Spaniards, Africans, and Indigenous peoples into dynamic contact. This cross-fertilization of cultures resulted in the construction of new cultural categories and colonial identities whose reverberations continue to be felt into the present day. This seminar explores the role that visual culture played in the articulation of identity in Latin America. For the purposes of this seminar, “identity” can be loosely defined as the overlapping allegiances to which one ascribes, whether racial, cultural, gendered, religious, or community-based. The visual culture of colonial Latin America can reveal multitudes on the construction of self and community across temporal and geographical contexts. We will explore a variety of colonial Latin American objects and images, including paintings, textiles, and material culture. Our discussions of images will be guided by readings on hybridity, coloniality, cross-cultural exchange, and the early modern Atlantic world.