Blog Post 7 – Module Overview

Overall I have really liked this module. I enjoyed learning about different topics through the novels and films we studied in class. The module has taught me to look at subjects more in depth before attempting to come to a final conclusion which is a key skill that I will be able to take forward to help with critical analysis in my assignments. I have also learnt about terms such as ethnocentrism and identity which have changed my perspective on how I look at the world.

Blog Post 6 – Ethnocentrism

We have learnt a variety of terminologies on this module however the one which stood out the most for me was ethnocentrism. Not only was this term important for our targeted writing projects but it also made me reflect on the opinions I have.

I often find myself questioning why different cultures around the world eat certain foods. I now realise that this questioning had come from a place of judgement and ethnocentrism. For example, I used to find it very strange that people in France ate snails or why people in Peru ate guinea pigs. Learning about ethnocentrism has allowed me to put my views into perspective and realise that it is wrong to judge another culture based on my own. In learning about this term I have also noticed that people hold ethnocentric views about my own country’s culture. For example, when they question why some Scottish people enjoy eating haggis. Ethnocentric views are everywhere and it is essential that through education we make sure that the judgement happens less frequently.

Blog Post 5 – Identity

For my final assignment I decided to work on the question about Black Diasporic Identity in Hija del Camino. When researching the theme of identity in the novel it allowed me to reflect on my own identity.

One key point I discovered when researching for my essay is that identity can be greatly impacted not only through how we see ourselves but how we are perceived by the people around us. I decided to take a step back and think about all the different roles I take on everyday and how this impacts who I am as a person.

Firstly, in terms of my family life. I am a daughter, an older sister, an auntie, a granddaughter and the list goes on. I believe that all these roles impact my identity in one way or another. For example as an older sister I feel that I need to be a role model for my younger siblings, therefore allowing me to take on various responsibilities. However family identity doesn’t just lie in the hands of each individual family member. As a collective group, a family has their own traditions and habits which differ from other families around the world. This changes the way in which we celebrate certain holidays or how we react to different events.

Although there are many roles and characteristics I could discuss when thinking about my identity I want to finish by thinking about friendships. It is undeniable that throughout your life you will lose touch with certain friends and meet new people. In my twenty years on this planet I would personally consider it wrong to think that my identity has not changed depending on the friends I have had during different periods of my childhood and now as a young adult. When we have friends, we want to fit in. Therefore we will change small things like the clothes we wear or the music we listen to in order to feel that we are part of a collective identity.

All the choices we make and the different things we do change who we are as individuals and how others around us view who we are.

Blog Post 4 – North Carolina Latin American Film Festival

For my blog post this week I decided I would write little reviews on all the movies I have watched during the North Carolina Latin American Film Festival. After browsing the selection of screenings available I picked a few films from different countries in Latin America. This gave me the opportunity to learn about the people, history, culture and much more.

Mugan Boe: El Llanto de la Abuelas 

This short film was shown before the movie Stateless.¬†It is an animation of the spanish invasion of the “new world”. I enjoyed the film because it didn’t attempt to hide the truth, it showed the bloodshed and the fear caused by the invasion. I believe the message of the short film is to remind people to not forget the suffering experienced by the indigenous people.

Stateless (2020)

I enjoyed this political documentary about the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The action takes place after the Dominican Republic stripped Haitian’s and Dominican Republican’s of Haitian descent of their citizenship. It follows the story of Rosa Iris and her fight for social justice. The documentary deals with themes of racism, genocide, citizenship and identity. I think that the overall message is to never give up fighting for what you believe in.

La Casa de Mama Icha (2020)

Another documentary style production however instead of focussing on political themes like Stateless it instead tells a more nostalgic and emotional story. Mama Icha returns to Colombia after living in the USA for years and it shows the challenges she faces with the decision of moving back. The documentary raises questions of what it means to call somewhere or something a ‘home’ and in turn allows the audience to question it themselves.

Blog Post 3 – Indigenous People in Latin America

As part of the seminar preparation for week 4 I researched the different issues facing indigenous communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. One of the issues I concentrated on was deforestation and the loss of indigenous land. I looked on the webpage Servindi for articles relating to this struggle in Peru. The first article which grabbed my attention was one which was published on the 30th September 2021. The article highlights the struggle of the Shipibo people who have many communities losing their land to large companies. After reading this article I reflected on the key issues and themes. I find it very shocking that many communities are still losing their land to multinational companies and disappointing that it is not reported on as much that it should be.

Blog Post 2 – A ‘White’ Curriculum?

Through working on the seminar preparation work for week 3 I started reflecting on the idea of decolonising the curriculum and the question of whether the curriculum is ‘white’? After reflecting on this, I have to agree that there are certain perspectives and parts of history which are excluded from the curriculum.

High School

I can think of a variety of different aspects of my high school education which can be considered as a ‘white’ curriculum. For example, in English class, I cannot recall reading a text which was not written by a white male or female author. This lack of diversity could therefore be considered as a racial bias towards white authors. Another aspect of my high school education came to light after reading a text set during the preparation work for SPAU9AE week 1. After reading ‘Why I am no longer talking to white people about race’ I realised that the topics covered in history class in relation to race were primarily to do with the fight against racism in the USA. We learnt about Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat and Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech – both considered monumental moments from two very important figures in the fight against racism – but what my school failed to teach about was the fight against racism in my own country of the United Kingdom itself. Through reading a chapter of Eddo-Lodge’s book I discovered a history of racism against minority racial and ethnic groups in cities across the UK, all dating back centuries to the start of colonialism and The British Empire. I feel let down to have not discovered this information earlier in my education.

University 

At University I feel that my eyes have been widened to the issues surrounding racism and discrimination. Throughout the lectures, films and texts for Spanish and Latin American studies I have discovered a range of different perspectives through a more diverse reading list and the process of critical analysis. However, I do believe that I come from a place of privilege and that I need to do more research and reading myself to fully widen my eyes to the suffering still experienced today by many due to the effects of colonialism. First on my list is to finish reading Reni Eddo-Lodge’s novel.

Blog Post 1

As a third year Spanish and Latin American Studies student I didn’t have the opportunity to select my modules. Despite this, I am excited to be taking SPAU9AE. I found the module overview to be interesting and I am looking forward to starting the course. The prep materials for week one were very eye-opening, I read the first chapter of Eddo-Lodge’s “Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race.” and discovered lots of new information which I did not know before. After reading this chapter it is clear that not enough is done to make people aware about racism and discrimination in the United Kingdom. I am also very interested in learning about the history of colonialism and how this impacts different societies’ perception of ethnic groups. My hopes for this module is that it will enrich my knowledge of the history of suffering that minority groups have had to endure and how this history still impacts their lives today.