Monthly Archives: September 2015

Week Four

There is something very special about a well written letter or speech. It makes you get goose pumps, sends shivers down your spine and more importantly it inspires you. All three of these documents did that for me.

First the Bolívar, the Letter from Jamaica, a letter speaking of the hardships and the mountains they had to climb to achieve the goal of independence. Second Martí, “Our America” an anti-american piece driven towards calling Latin Americans to unify. Lastly, the famous President Chávez delivering a riveting speech summoning a new project to light.

I found all three written narratives very intriguing but I thoroughly enjoyed José Martí’s the most. I can understand why this piece is important to the Latin American identity. His use of literary devices made his letter and his character much more alluring. This piece is full of endless metaphors, “Whatever is left of that sleepy hometown in America must awaken” (24). I find this a great call for action, almost a war cry. Martí’s words created a beautiful picture of independence and unity. As well, that he is rather negative towards westernization of Cuba and Latin America and considerably anti-american.

On page twenty-six and twenty-seven of “Our Americas” he speaks of education and the importance of educating the masses about this history, “simply knowing the factors without blindfolds or circumlocutions is enough.” I find that in this paragraph he speaks great truth about history, “solving the problem after knowing its elements is easier than solving it without knowing them.” This can be used for any part of history, but especially for the Latin Americas regarding the European colonization. I strongly believe that education is the key to success, peace and prosperity in our world. If we are all taught about the impacts and devastation this has had we are more likely to be able to solve problems in the future using this knowledge. This history should not be put in a trunk and hidden away until after the next tragedy. This is why there should be classes such as Latin American Studies, where we look at the results of colonization and begin a new pattern.

I really enjoyed this weeks readings and videos, analyzing a speech from an important leader makes the events that much more real. The authors of the pieces paint the true picture, with all the colours that are needed to portray the pain. The perceptions of these leaders are very important as I would assume they are the same as the masses.

Week Three: “The Colonial Experience”

I found Week Threes lecture and articles very interesting, as they are lead from last weeks ” The Meeting Of Two Worlds” topic of the very beginning of the colonial quest.

“Who Are We?” seemed to be a question that was asked during the video lecture, three words that could be simple but seem to be quite the opposite for many Latin American indigenous people at this time. The purity of the native people changed immensely as a result of colonialism. Black slaves from Africa were brought to work in the sugar cane fields and there began many inter racial relationships as a result  of the different groups mixing.

I was very intrigued by the Casta Paintings, in Susan Dean Smiths Casta Paintings, there was two pictures of mixed families. Examining the paintings further, they seemed to be like any other couple painting except both parents were of different races. But I also noticed that both parents wore their own cultural identities. At first, the boxes seemed simple to analyze as they were simply eight boxed families of different pure or mixed families. If the boxes were there to contain a social group and tries to give everyone a place… Then why would they be all in one painting? In the video lecture the point of “the lines are forever blurred” because they are crossed and all touching. The negative side of the mixing of families is that the native identity was/is threatened to be dissolved.

As well as the paintings the statistics that were giving to us on the video lecture shocked me. Resulting from the beginning of colonization in Latin America its population decreased greatly from the 1500’s at nearly 100 million to in 1600 nearly 20 million. That is 1/5 of the population dying in around 100 years, that is absolutely devastating. Having that much of a decrease would affect as aspects of life for the people, including a huge loss of culture as a disease would first wipe out the elders, who carry the most history.


Week Two: ” The Meeting Of Two Worlds”

The voyage of Christopher Columbus is very important to us today. It continues to be a very controversial subject as he was the first explorer to have lasting impacts on the America’s and their societies. We first learnt that Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas and then we are informed about the impacts that this had on indigenous groups in the America’s. It is important to keep in mind the death that followed him but also that we are here today as a result of him beginning this relationship.

His journey sparked the true beginning of trade, exportation, and colonization in the Americas. He is known for the beginning of the slave trade but he would have liked his accomplishments to be known for the spread of Christian Religion.

Going into this weeks readings, I had a perspective on Columbus formed. I formed this perspective as what I had been taught and heard about is the lasting harm he had on this society. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading his accounts in his personal journal. To me, reading his journal made him feel more human, less of the cold blooded murderer that I thought him out to be. I was very intrigued by his descriptions of his voyage to the Americas, the scenes he painted for us readers was very interesting. It is hard to imagine the difficulty of the voyage was for all these men, this seemed to be an accurate description of the journey by boat.

While reading this journal, it stood out very blatantly that Columbus completely had all faith that he was doing something good for himself, his country, and these people.  He saw them as objects and not as fellow human beings.

Guaman Poma de Ayala extracts from The First New Chronicle and Good Government was focus primarily on the greed, shed of blood, and the spread of christianity. These men were driven by gold and the riches that awaited them, this led to large conflict and as a result the Indians were murdered and some spaniards died as well.

It is difficult to not feel resentment and have a negative view towards these men, who showed no compassion but reading these two different texts was extremely informative and made these series of events in fact, more real. This was an important part of history and every side of this story should be analyzed.

Week 2- Student Videos

The videos gave me helpful ideas in order for me to make an affective video! As I watched the videos it was obvious which ones intrigued me and which ones bored me.

The best videos were informative, capturing and the information was layer out clearly. Week Eleven’s video “The Terror” was very well done as the students spoke clearly and slowly, giving us listeners time to process the information. There were pictures and videos which helped the speakers display a sense of image to us. As well as Week Eight’s video “Independence Narratives, Past and Present” where, the students made a video seeming like a talk show. I found this entertaining and I will remember the information they displayed because of it.

On the other hand, there were videos that either had nothing going on or too many pictures and videos. The videos such as Week Five “Caudillos Versus The Nation”  and Week Twelve ” Speaking Truth To Power” had no visuals, this got rather boring and it was hard to concentrate on the two students . Giving us nothing to connect to and there for could not absorb what we just learnt.




Hi everyone,

My name is Amy Main, I am from Penticton B.C. but I was born here in Vancouver. I have travelled in many parts of Latin America and have spent a lot of time in Chile, which is why Latin American studies sparked my interest. I am looking forward to learning about Latin America. I hope that I can come out of this class with knowledge regarding a different culture and history.