Week Five: Caudillos Versus the Nation State

I would like to focus this week’s blog post on the Slaughter-house reading because the passage itself was so compelling. To start off, I wanted to mention a detail that stuck out for me. It was the 50 bullocks who were meant to be killed were actually for the the upperclass instead of the the starving locals. This can relate to how caudillos can be perceived as dictators in a way especially with the church ruling alongside. They used force of arms or violence, seemed to have strict rules like displaying allegiance to Rosas in public and prevalent class division and inequality. Whoever choose to speak against those in power like the man were given inhumane consequences and their deaths were shrugged away as if it were nothing.

Esteban Echeverria was able to write this story in the uttermost elaborate and intricate way showing so much detail. I was able to picture each moment so vividly and understand all that was happening. Relating this to the questions (#5 and #6), I believe the author was trying to direct our sympathies towards an everyday man who was tired of the “government”. In my opinion, this would be your average Joe. It was depicted that even death didn’t scare someone compared to what was going on. He was courageous to openly  protest regardless of the awaiting outcome. This specific tale may have been chosen to show the gory truth of Argentina under Rosas because of how triggering it is. A literary tale can teach history due to the fact that it can be an interpretation of a specific event. Rather than being straightforward and listing detail, it goes further in depth. You are more interested in the concept since it is portrayed in this light with elements like imagery or metaphors or even symbolism.

Moving on, I wanted to touch upon the portrayal of black or mixed women in the Slaughterhouse reading. They were described in degrading ways referenced to their looks, their actions or ways of communication. It was kind of alarming but not shocking. There was so much anti-blackness in colonial times so of course it would carry on. Yet, the story mentioned it on multiple occasions not just one line here or there. I like to relate things in the past to our present to see if there is any correlation . I find this example relates to what a black women has to endure in daily life with harmful stereotypes, colourist remarks, racism as well as sexism.

Discussion Question:

How did Echeverria’s reading change any pre-existing notions you had or teach you something new?

Would you prefer literary tales a way to teach history rather than textbooks or what we typically use? Why or why not?

How prevalent is anti-blackness in Latin America today?

Week Four: Independence Narratives, Past and Present

The lecture “Independence Narratives, Past and Present” was very informative and thought provoking. For this week’s blog, I would like to focus on to focus on two discussion questions.

Politicians seem to reference the past during speeches, campaigns, etc because it shows how much or little the country has progressed. When you look back at history, you are aware of any blunders or accomplishments. People are taught a  timeline going into detail of every recorded moment vital or minor in schools. History is an asset for the present due to the fact it tends to repeat itself. You turn back to so often in order to understand what’s going on in the moment or how something came to be or how it went wrong. It can answer any hard hitting questions. Moving on, there were very influential individuals who really created change and are honoured. On the other hand, they could’ve been horrible. Referencing back to them invokes feelings and a sense of familiarity whether it be positive or negative. Someone can manipulate the past to benefit them in the future.

I believe Bolivar is optimistic in his letter taking in consideration the overall message, language and political agenda. He is clearly slandering the Spanish by referring to them as the “evil stepmother”, “Three centuries ago, the atrocities committed by the Spanish” and “because the destiny of America has been irrevocably decided; the tie that bound her to Spain has been severed”. This is just in the the first few paragraphs. It showcases how passionate Bolivar was and had a clear idea of the enemy. He goes on talking about a unified Latin America, how the government would be, etc. Never once in the letter did I feel that this man felt defeated.  The language was empowering and consistent. He seemed to be trying to convince who ever he was writing in a well thought-out way.

Mentioning the American Revolution in the lecture was a bit surprising, I thought they were completely unrelated. Nonetheless, the two historical events were so close by geographically and time periods.  There is a correlation between the following. Again as I stated above history does repeat itself. Even around the world, it seemed to be a chain reaction because so many colonies were fighting against their empire in the years to come.

Discussion Question:

  1. Why do you think history is important when focusing on the present/future?
  2. What were some crucial quotes from the Simon Bolivar Letter? Why did you pick them?




Week 3: The Colonial Experience

Casta Paintings are something I’ve never heard of/seen before but I can say I’m very intrigued. In a social justice class in high school, we touched upon caste systems around the world. I noticed it was typically based on religion, social groups, jobs but rarely race. We went into detail about the racial system in Brazil. I am familiar with the terms used in the paintings but not the concept.

There were three individuals, a woman, man and child in each painting alongside numbers labelling them with a description of their race. A picture really depicts a larger idea. With the different outfits, objects and background scenery, a viewer can get an overall gist of what they’re really looking at. The various careers they seemed to have were a shoemaker, musician, seller and what looks like a don/general.

A common trend seems to be the higher up and more “European blood” relationships were showcased as richer based on their clothing and the objects around the paintings. They obviously were employed in more respectable jobs. When you went down the board looking at relationships with Native and African descents, their clothing was not as appealing and you can see they do more manual/labour work. If a European man was with a women of another background, he still seems well off but a Spanish women in a similar situation was lower on the canvas.

To me, I find this discriminatory and dividing between the races. As mentioned in the lecture, this was the root of an identity crisis. The whole idea of painting all possible bloodlines is excessive and unnecessary. My mind instantly gravitated towards racial whitening or “blanqueamineto” where following generations were trying to get “rid” of any black or indigenous heritage. The photo I attached below was shown in my class a lot. I believe the context behind it was a grandmother who had a mixed child feeling joyful that her daughter married a European man and had a child who basically looks white. I know that specific tradition was popular in areas after colonialism especially in the early 1900’s.

OP-ED: Miscegenation in Brazil as a state policy to whiten its population | AFROPUNK

History tends to repeat itself in multiple ways. Looking closer at the Casta Paintings, I can see that being of/closer to European descent was more beneficial and desired. Issues seen today with the beauty standard, colorism and even racism can stem from something like this. I know a lot of other countries who were colonized have a common ground. I’ve heard about it during ethnic cleansings as well.

Discussion Question:

How were Casta Paintings harmful for the following generations post colonialism? What are some long or short term effects?


Week Two: The Meeting of Two Worlds

For a large part of my life, Christopher Columbus was depicted as an “accidental hero” and the man who in some way “started it all.” I remember many teachers would describe how he set out on a voyage to the Silk Road in Asia, took the wrong route and ended up in the Americas. I don’t recall hearing that the island was in the Caribbean or even Latin America, it was implied as somewhere in North America. Some would tell students that’s why the Indigenous population was referred to as “Indians” connecting it to the actual country or that Columbus believed he reached the Indian Ocean. There was never a consistent story because people really weren’t aware. Referring back to the video, Professor. Beasley-Murray states that Colombus’ story is an allegory, whose true object is missing or displaced. I think this nicely explains why I was taught several versions of the same concept. History in a way is subjective based on whomever you speak to. I never formed much of an opinion about Columbus due to the fact I thought he was just another guy in a textbook.

However with some independent research and access to social media, you can view posts or articles explaining the mass murders and rapes, pillaging and cruelty during  colonial times. Even though his journal showcases his curiosity and loyalty to the Crown to find new land, you can read very vividly the treatment towards the native people. On October 14, the journal states.”One old man climbed into the boat, and the others, men and women, kept shouting, ‘Come and see the men who have come from Heaven; bring them food and drink.’  Many men and women came, each bringing something and giving thanks to God, throwing themselves on the ground and raising their hands in the air.” The conquistadors were met with kindness/hospitality but Columbus writes the same day, “These people have little knowledge of fighting, as Your Majesties will see from the seven I have had captured to take away with us so as to teach them our language and return them, unless Your Majesties’ orders are that they all be taken to Spain or held captive on the island itself, for with fifty men one could keep the whole population in subjection and make them do whatever one wanted.”  He later mentions valuable resources such as gold, this was also a reoccurring topic seen in the Guaman Poma reading.

In this particular reading, Candia once back in Spain, heavily discussed gold and silver especially the fact that the people wore clothes, shoes, hand and head pieces made of the sort. This pushed a large wave of Spaniards to the New World with hopes of returning with riches. When in Peru, certain individuals started off with a fairly decent greeting to be friends but led up to a conversation about how Inca Atagualpa should “adore the cross and believe in the Gospel of God and not worship anything.” which the leader responded by standing with his faith and throwing the Bible to the ground. This was enough of a reason for the Spanish to attack and murder the majority. The reasoning behind it was the following stated: ” Here, knights, these heathen Indians are against our faith!” and “Out, knights, against these infidels who are against our Christianity, and for our Emperor and King let us have at them!”. In Colombus’ journal, he mentioned religion multiple times. For example, “And Your Majesties, in my opinion, should not allow any foreigner to do business or gain a foothold here, but only Catholic Christians, for that is the beginning and end of the whole enterprise; it should be for the growth and glory of the Christian faith, and you should allow no one but good Christians to come here.”

This led to me thinking about how religion was used throughout history as a way to justify colonialism, genocide and more. It is a bit surprising that people can use words of someone they believe in to commit heinous crimes . Forced conversions and assimilation play a vast role in establishing dominance and rule as well. Multiple empires were able to reach as much “glory” as they did on account of religious manipulation. Looking at our modern day world, this could be an explanation for cultural extinction and languages dying.

Discussion Question:

  1. Can you recall how Columbus was portrayed during your early education?
  2. How can/was religion used to justify colonialism and are there any modern day examples of this?


Week One: Student Videos

Simran Dhaliwal

The first video I chose to watch was “The War on Drugs” by Dianne Keyes and Michelle Nzioki. . The students incorporated many visuals including photos of individuals, places and objects mentioned. It was helpful for the  viewer. On top of this, the voice-over changed tone and emotions a lot. The information was interesting but kind of brief. I felt like it could’ve been explained more thoroughly. It was a good pace and not stretched out longer then it should be.I admired how the students found someone who grew up in Colombia and were able to interview them. That was a special add on that allowed authenticity and a first hand account.

The second video I chose to watch was “The Legacy of US Interventionism in Latin America.” The students placed each case in chronological order allowing me to see how much of an impact America has had throughout history. The voice over was slower than the first video.Although I never missed out on anything, it was hard to pay attention. The video itself was informative and very specific. I liked how the creators chimed in with their own opinions from time to time. Some particular quotes that stuck out were ” North America thrives because Latin America doesn’t ” and “America treated Latin countries as institutions that would further their economic interests.” This clip left me asking questions and drove me to do some research on my own.

The third video I chose to watch was “Independence Narratives, Past and Present.” This video was definitely entertaining and made me laugh. I was more focused on the background, the props and  flags/lands on their faces rather than the information. I had to rewatch it to get a feel of what the students were talking about. It was simple to follow but lacked a lot of context that explained the topic in depth. It just scratched along the surface.I loved the microphone spoons though!!

The fourth video I watched was “The Terror”. Honestly, I would say this was my favourite video. The students used video clips instead of pictures. You feel a greater connection and understanding. The beginning reeled the viewer in and really caught my attention. The students read out the narration of someone who witnessed the massacre. The account was chilling and very gory. I was invested in this video and wished there was more. It was interactive. There was a story-telling vibe. Overall, I would say this was the most enjoyable content-wise.

After completing this blog post and watching some videos, I have an idea of what to do for my final project.

Hello World! (Introduction)


My name is Simran and I’m very excited to be apart of LAST 1OO. I am a first year student who is planning to major in Speech Sciences with a minor in  Health and Society. Not very sure yet:) I’m from the Lower Mainland. I absolutely love watching documentaries, traveling, reading and trying new foods. I would recommend watching Daughters of Destiny on Netflix and reading The Pearl that Broke its Shell by Nadia Hashimi.  If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be Dubai because I enjoyed my time there so much. I enjoy water sports ( kayaking, paddle boarding, boating  and swimming).  I was looking for a fourth class the day of course selection and was browsing through the options. I stumbled upon this class and it quickly caught my attention. Although I don’t know much about Latin America’s history, I am fond of Spanish shows and music. I like learning about different cultures, so this was a great way to be exposed to something I’m not familiar with. By the end of this course, I would like to have a better understanding and be able to say I learnt something new. I look forward to meeting everyone and hope you have a great semester.