Posted by: | February 17, 2009 | Comments Off on Reflections

My reflections of the first half of the semester:

I feel like whenever I write reflections I never know how to begin. I guess I will start by writing about what my expectations were like before taking this class or how I felt in the beginning… Well I was very excited to take this class and hoped that it would link together some of the experiences I had in Peru last year with some relevant or interesting topics that I would learn in the classroom. Actually so far we’ve talked quite a bit about Peru in the classroom, which I find interesting.
Looking back at my initial post about popular culture in Latin America, I seem to have come to the conclusion that there is no single definition. There are many types of popular culture in Latin America and that they all have roots in various places. For instance in the Rowe and Shelling article we learnt how “Carnival has its origins in the Saturanlia and Bacchanalia of Ancient Greece and Rome” (I’m not sure if this is true, but nevertheless) we are presented with the fact that older European cultures have transcended certain aspects of their culture into parts of Brazil’s culture through colonization. There were a few other examples roots of popular culture that come from various place, for instance another one was Portuguese colonizers that brought popular theatre performances called “dancas dramaticas” to Brazil. It sounds like these are very much one way exchanges, but they weren’t. For every part that was introduced in Latin America, it has been reappropriated by those living in the communities. I’m sure that the dancas dramaticas that originally stem from Medieval Portugal are not preformed in the entirely same manner in Brazil, but rather they are a transformation of added, changed and reconstructed dimensions that reflect parts of the indigenous or whichever community’s identity living within these places. Other roots or influences on popular culture that we’ve touched on include colonization, urbanization, neo-liberalization, and the mixing (mestizaje) of different groups. All in all there I have realized that popular culture is influenced through interactions of all sorts.
Thinking about what separates popular culture from “regular” culture or “high” culture, is that it is accessible. It is generally visible or a prevalent aspect in the everyday lives of most individuals in Latin America. Since most individuals in Latin America aren’t part of the elite and mostly encompass the growing middle class or the lower class, in my interpretation, there may be a stronger sense of popular culture is these communities.
The People ultimately have a lot to do with popular culture. The spread, the evolution, the interactions of popular culture depends on people. A tricky question is, who are these people? The fact that there are many types of people, with their own cultures and ways of life, demonstrate popular culture is just as diverse or multifaceted as the people in it encompasses. Learning about popular culture, I have discovered, is quite complex because nothing is quite straight forward. One thing that is continuously reinforced in life, in the readings, and in the classroom is that It is necessary to think critically and that things take time to understand and there many never be a answer…

This ends my reflection on the first half of the semester and I hope the next half we can start to look deeper at some of the questions and the comments that I have and the other students in the classroom. Perhaps we can figure out if and how we (students in the classroom) are influenced by or actively influence popular culture in Latin America.


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