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Theoretical Approaches to Modernities in Latin America


Admission requirements

For research master students and have a good active knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese.


In this core course on Modernity, the student is introduced to contemporary critical thinking from Latin America. For a long time in history the idea of modernity has been a utopian ideal and was in that way related to a state or elite led process, with multiple, ambiguous, expected and unintended results. There is not one single model of modernity, and even less of modernization; we will study the diversity of its forms and its social inclusions and exclusions in the region. By reflecting on the suggested linear project of development and progress, this course will focus on the debates on modernity in the humanities and social sciences, particularly those produced on and from the Latin American region since the 19th until the 21st century and with emphasis on the most recent debates.
We will study theoretical approaches to social, cultural and political practices of the region. And we will study especially those Latin American critical essays that are fundamental for the field and that over the years have been intertwined with certain thematic axes as important concerns: questions of the national and the continental, the rural and the urban, tradition versus modernity, memory and identity, subjects and citizenships and the role of intellectuals and institutions in the formation of discourse. Approaches on colonialism, nation building, postcolonialism, neoliberalism and globalisation will get related with the Latin American reflection on Modernity

Course objectives

  • Knowledge and insight in the main Latin American theories on Modernity in social studies and cultural studies.

  • The ability to analyse and engage in the international academic debate on Latin America and Modernity.

  • A thorough knowledge and understanding of the interdisciplinary aspects of Latin American studies.

  • A thorough knowledge and understanding of central research questions and debates in the field of Latin American studies.

  • Build an argument that leads to its conclusion in a clear, coherent, and verifiable manner

  • Reflect on theoretical, social and ethical aspects in the debate on Latin American modernity

  • The ability to give persuasive oral presentations;

  • To write a well-founded written report of the state of the art in their research field of Latin American modernities.



Mode of instruction

lecture and tutorial

Course Load

10 EC = 280 hours in total.

  • Hours in class: 28 hours

  • Hours of reading mandatory bibliography: 80 hours

  • Hours of making assignments and preparing classes: 80 hours

  • Hours for writing paper (including reading and investigation): 92 hours

Assessment method

This course will be assessed as follows:
During the semester of the material studied in in class will be tested by various assignments in which the students will be asked to show their knowledge and understanding of the different perspectives within the theoretical debate about Latin American modernities.

  • Two written assignments (40%)

  • Presentatión (20%)

  • Final essay (40%)

The resit can only be taken if the final grade of the course is lower than a 6. The resit consists of and improved version of the final essay (100%).

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • providing study materials

Reading list

To be announced.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in Engels and Nederlands

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher:
Dr. G. Inzaurralde

Administrations Office: van Wijkplaats.


Not applicable