South American Narratives of Dictatorship and Exile

Module code: SP2071

This module introduces and explores the social and political shifts that led to the establishment of dictatorships in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay in the 1970s and 80s, and examines the impact of these events at both individual and social levels through creative responses to them. To this end, we will look at short stories, a novel, poems, essays and journalistic writings, and a film, all of which explore and examine life under authoritarian rule, forms of resistance to it, and the challenges involved in the experience of exile.

Through successful participation in this module, you will be enabled to develop a critical awareness of the texts and films studied that is informed by a sound understanding of the historical, social and political backgrounds in response to which these texts were created. You will also have the opportunity to develop the skills and approaches required to critically analyse different genres of cultural expression – such as, for example, the short story, the contemporary novel, and film – and to express this knowledge in oral presentations and written assignments, using appropriately academic language.

Topics covered

  • The sociocultural and political contexts surrounding these authoritarian regimes
  • The mechanisms by which authoritarian regimes function and sustain themselves
  • The impact of dictatorship and exile on the individual and on society
  • The use of literature and film as vehicles for creative responses to these experiences
  • Issues of memory and trauma, and their depiction
  • Issues of truth versus fiction
  • The artistic response as both a form of resistance and a therapeutic endeavour

Learning

  • 10 hours of lectures
  • 10 hours of seminars
  • 130 hours of guided independent study

Assessment Methods

  • Group presentation (20%)
  • Essay (80%)