Argentina: History and Culture
office of international programs
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The history of Argentina is one of contrast and paradox. It began as an inhospitable region on the fringes of the Spanish Empire, turned into one of the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan countries in the world by the late 19th century, and became the scenario of the largest populist movement in Latin America under the sway of Juan D. Perón and Evita Perón. In spite of its economic decline for most of the 20th century, Argentina retained a privileged place as a cultural and artistic center. This introductory course is aimed at offering a comprehensive overview of the historical and cultural trajectory of the country. Topics will include the crisis of the Spanish colonial rule; the rise of rural caudillos; the nation-state building process and the country’s consolidation as one of the major breadbaskets of the world in the late 19th century; the birth of Buenos Aires as a great cosmopolitan city; the emergence of Peronism; the avant-garde movements of the 1960s; the politics of military rule and human rights protests in the 1970s; and the transition to democracy. Students will have the opportunity to delve into Argentina’s past and present, as well as its culture from different perspectives: politics, gender and race relations, literature, film, urban history and the development of social as well as cultural movements.