Monthly Archives: September 2016

Week 4: The Colonial Experience

The “Lieutenant Nun” reading was an interesting diary to read, written about adventures before, after and while experiencing the newly colonized world of Latin America. I really appreciated reading an excerpt from a woman, as I imagine female memoirs are hard to come by from that period… And in history in general… And actually, now that I’m thinking about it- probably the only and/or biggest reason why this one is so well documented, is because Catalina de Erauso identified for most of her life, as a man. Lol… Damn.

It’s really inspiring to read about a bad-ass warrior woman in the 1600’s who went against everything that was expected of a Spanish woman, and expected of her by the Church. She not only identified as a soldier, but she fought & defended herself violently and repeatedly, and proved to be just as successful as the male soldiers alongside her. She also traveled all over the world, disassociated from religion, and worked doing different jobs besides military. All of these qualities challenged female stereotypes of that time period… And even challenges some of the stereotypes women face today.

That being said, I am honestly finding it difficult to make the connection between this reading and Latin American Studies. Of course, a lot of Catalina de Erauso’s adventure takes part in the recently colonized Latin America- But I don’t find the writing paints any clear picture about Latin America during that time… And while it is fun to follow along on Catalina de Erauso’s adventure- She is a Spanish solider- Not Latin American. Anyway… I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s class to hear & discuss the importance of this piece! 🙂



Week 2: The Meeting of 2 Worlds

It depresses me to read Christopher Columbus’ journals.
These journals demonstrate a true sense of entitlement coming from Columbus and his crew, and it’s this entitlement that begins a violent era of colonization.
Columbus’ journal’s express a true lack of empathy towards a group of people who possessed a culture, physical appearance and language, different than his own.
I noticed a theme in Columbus’ diaries where after spending only a day or a couple of day’s with a new group of indigenous people, he jumped immediately to farfetched conclusions about them.
EX: – If a group had weapons, they were intelligent. If they did not have weapons, they were not intelligent.
– He noted that the people were unintelligent because they were very pleased when they received gifts. (That makes literally no sense!!)

Also, Christopher Columbus had an unbelievably narrow mind about religion. Because the indigenous people he came across were not Spanish-Christian, he decided that they had no religion at all. Columbus had no capacity to understand that perhaps there was more than one way to be “religious.”

It’s interesting to read these diaries in 2016 when we have a deeper understanding of the world. We know that the indigenous peoples of the America’s had (and still have!) a profound connection to the natural world. The way indigenous cultures live in the natural world is extremely advanced. Some indigenous cultures in Latin America are able to name and understand the medicinal purpose of hundreds of different plant species. Some cultures are able to identify every animal and insect around them, through tracking them, some can even identify different animals based on the odor of its urine. Some cultures are able to navigate through oceans and on land, simply by observing the stars.
It is clear that Columbus did not value these qualities, as he made no effort to spend time with the indigenous people, and did not care about learning anything from them. In fact, he just made assumptions about them, decided that his way was always better, and took advantage of them. It is clear that Columbus’ priorities in 1492 were to collect gold and spices, force his religion onto others and impress Spanish royalty. Taking advantage, humiliating, and abusing a group of human beings did not seem to bother him very much.

Week 1: Where is Latin America?

After reading Chapter 1 of Alex Dawson’s Latin America since Independence, he talks a lot about bias and stereotypes about Latin America. The discussion question I came up with for this section was: What are our own bias and assumptions about Latin America, in regards to a) gender? b) politics? c) culture? d) religion?

It is important to acknowledge these bias’ and to try and keep them in mind for the duration of this course. I think it is important not only in a course, but also in life, to keep an open mind when discussing an area that you have little to no knowledge of. Collectively, we should recognize that the perspectives or depictions we are often exposed to in Canada about Latin America are dramatized, generalizations or simply incorrect. By forgetting what we’ve been told or what we think we know, we will be able to have a wider and more accurate understanding of Latin America.

What’s up LAST100?

Hey guys,

My name is Rachel. I have just started my first semester at UBC. I am from Ontario originally, and am very excited to live on this side of the country now.

Besides going to school, I work with non-profits & non-profit fundraising, am a long-distance runner, love surfing and hiking, dancing & chillin’ at Vancouver beaches.

My interest in LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES springs from having worked with NGO’s that work in Latin America, my best friend and roommate is from Manta, Ecuador… I love Latin American artists & authors (!!Junot Diaz!!), Latin America in pop culture (Narcos, anyone?), and most of all, having traveled for 4 months last year all over Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

I feel like it is important to have a deeper understanding of a culture that positively influences my life, on the daily.

Catch you in the Swing building!