FT 07-B Looking South, Going Bananas: Representations of Latin America in Film and Literature
Gilberto Gómez, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
What do people mean when they use the expression banana republic (but are not referring to the clothing store)? Or Latin lover? What really is meant when folks speak of south of the border? Or going down Mexico way? In fact, how do you visualize Latin America? What images do you associate with that region and its people? This tutorial engages the study of tropical tropes (or themes) that permeate European and American representations of what came to be known as Latin America, ranging form the comic (“Esteban Colberto,” of Comedy Central; Woody Allen’s film Bananas) to the serious (Shakespeare’s The Tempest) to cartoons and fiction, serious or not. From the moment the New World was first encountered by Europeans in 1492, the continent (and its creatures) has been seen as both a paradise and its opposite – and everything in between. To say the least, these representations are a bit exaggerated, as we will see. No knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese is required for this tutorial, although those interested in furthering their knowledge of either of those languages will find occasion to do so.