Week One

Hi! My name is Madeleine Deis and I am a second year arts student from Vancouver.. I still haven’t figured out what I’m doing with my degree yet but I’m hoping to figure that out soon!

I know very little about Latin America and its history so the subject matter in these videos is all very new to me.

The first video I watched was “Caudillos”  which was an interesting but brief history of three Caudillos in Latin American in the 19th century. I found it fascinating how the idea of the dictator was just an accepted way of governing a country. It seems like the caudillos created order, in a way, and helped Latin America become what it is today. To me, the word “dictator” is a negative one, but the way in which the students in this video portrayed these men, made it seem like they were extremely positive influences on the countries they were governing; the line that someone said,”The disconnect between the government and its people left many gaps which the caudillos intervened to try and fill” was particularly interesting. I felt like the content in this video was a little bit lacking. I wish that the students went into a little more depth about the time that these caudillos were in power, as this topic is very interesting and I think it requires a little more explanation in order to understand this way of thinking.

The next video that I would like to talk about is “Casta Paintings”, and, here we go again, I had no clue about the depth and purpose of these paintings, or that this idea of social class was ever represented to this degree in the form of paintings.  The notion that a darker skin tone was associated with a lower class, and a lighter skin tone was associated with higher class is a theme that is presented throughout history. To know that Latin America is not exempt is not surprising. My question though, is why? What or who started this idea about skin tone, and why has it continued through history for so long. And why is it still around today? I really liked how at the end of the video, she mentioned that the idea of racial hierarchy is still presented prevalently in the media, advertising and whatnot today, as it is an important ongoing issue.

“The Meeting of Two Worlds II” was a brief, yet descriptive and informative video about early colonialism in Latin America. I enjoyed the way that this video was made and the way that the information was presented to the audience. It was different to the way that the other two videos were made and I appreciated that. I didn’t watch the other parts to this subject, so I felt like I only grasped a little bit of the story of colonization in this area of the world.

A video that I found a little confusing and difficult to keep up with was “Independence in Latin America”. I thought that the subject matter was interesting, however I thought that the information was kind of disjointed and hard to follow. It would have been better if the audience had some kind of visual aid, or even subtitles to follow along with what they were saying in the video. I did like, how most of the students were Latino themselves and could share a first hand experience of what Latin American Independence meant personally for them.

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