My name is Emily Townsend. I’m a Geography (Environment and Sustainability) fourth year undergraduate student. I was born in Nicaragua, but I’m originally half American and half Ecuadorian. I grew up living in different places, so I cannot necessarily say there is one place I call home. However, If I did have to call on place home, it would be Ecuador. This is the one place I, and my family, always return to no matter where we are. When we were asked to write down three words that describe Latin America to us, I wrote down: family, conversation, and emotion. To me, these three words reflect the feelings that arise every time I go back “home” – to Latin America. I’m taking this class as an elective because I want to learn more about the historical and the contemporary issues of Ecuador and of its surrounding countries. I’m curious to better understand how the literature and the people (of the past and of this course) create imaginaries about such a complex “thing” like Latin America. Can imaginaries of a place help us define a place? I think defining a place is a dangerous and impossible task, but as humans we inevitably attempt to define the undefinable. However, I also believe that definitions (or attempts at definitions) can be good starting points to construct and deconstruct imaginaries and to redefine our definitions of places, and its peoples and cultures. This occurs through dialogue – an important aspect that I’m excited that this course will tackle and that I think is essential to learning.
I’m looking forward to discussing this “thing” we call Latin America with you!