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Unit information: Images and Text: Hybrid Media and Power in Latin America in 2020/21

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Unit name Images and Text: Hybrid Media and Power in Latin America
Unit code HISP30086
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. King
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit offers an in-depth look at the use of mixed-media texts to map out and intervene into regimes of power in Latin America. Through discussion of a range of texts produced in both Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking parts of the region, it will explore combinations of images and texts in a number of media, from graphic novels through photographic artist’s books to novellas and short stories. The focus will be how relations between text and image, whether through blurring the distinction between the two in comic-book design or reinforcing that distinction in literary fiction, reflect political tensions in the region.

The main topics for debate will be: the use of textual strategies from the post-Conquest period of the 16th century in the contemporary graphic novel; the relationship between literature and the mass-media cultures of the 20th and 21st centuries; the role of images in narratives of memory constructed during the post-dictatorship period; and the interaction between online and offline worlds in digital media cultures. The unit will also mix criticism and practice, culminating in the production of a portfolio combining an essay with a critical image-text, whether in the form of a comic or photographic artist’s book.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the history of image-texts in Latin America and their implication in regimes of power in the region;
  2. formulate independent judgements at a high level of complexity, both orally and in writing;
  3. integrate theoretical and critical scholarship from the relevant fields of study into their thinking;
  4. implement sophisticated visual and textual analytical skills and an ability to use a broad range of terminology correctly;
  5. collaborate effectively in groups.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation

Assessment Details

1 x group presentation (25%). Testing ILOs 1-5.

1 x 4000-word written portfolio (75%). Testing ILOs 1-4.

Reading and References

Set Primary Texts:

Operaci'ón Bolívar (2006) by Edgar Clement (Graphic Novel)

Desterro (2014) by Ícaro Lira et al. (Artist’s Book)

La invenci'ón de Morel (1940) by Adolfo Bioy Casares (Novella)

M'ã'e Judia, 1964 (2014) by Moacyr Scliar (Short Story)

Z'é Ningué'm (2015) by Alberto Serrano and the wider Tito na Rua project. (Graffiti project/ Graphic Novel)

Set Critical Reading:

W.J. T. Mitchell, Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1994)

Jens Andermann, The Optic of the State: Visuality and Power in Argentina and Brazil. Pittsburgh, Pa: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007.

Marcy E. Schwartz and Mary Beth Tierney-Tello, '‘Introduction,’ Photography and Writing in Latin America: Double Exposures, edited by Marcy E. Schwartz and Mary Beth Tierney-Te'llo (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006), 1-18.

Andreas Huyssen, ‘Of mice and mimesis: reading Spiegelman with Adorno’, New German Critique 81 (2000), 65–68.'

Nick Sousanis, Unflattening (London: Harvard University Press, 2015)