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Unit information: Latin American Digital and Visual Cultures: Identity and Resistance in 2020/21

Unit name Latin American Digital and Visual Cultures: Identity and Resistance
Unit code HISP30092
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Randall
Open unit status Not open




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


In response to the frequent conception of the internet as an Anglophone arena, this unit will address various contemporary digital and visual texts produced by Latin American or Latino/a artists. These are united by their explorations of the experiences of migrants, paid domestic and cleaning workers, and other individuals who live and work in precarious circumstances. Consequently, many of the texts and films studied allow us to examine notions of ‘immaterial’ or ‘invisible’ labour as a result of their use of internet-based practice and digital tropes. These tropes include the depiction of cyborgs and the digital divide, which raise questions about the ‘utopian’ potential of ‘cyberspace’.

The unit includes a focus on digital texts produced in collaboration with (or inspired by) domestic workers in Latin America. It reflects on the extent to which online documentaries, films and social media platforms provide the opportunity to voice the concerns of those who have historically been marginalised. Students will analyse the use of different types of media (intermediality) in digital culture, as well as the opportunities that the internet provides for the circulation of Latin American cultural productions that may not be otherwise accessible

Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding, appropriate to Level H of Latin American digital texts that explore subaltern identities and notions of labour;
  2. Respond critically and analytically to the issues and debates raised by the texts, images, testimonies and documentaries studied;
  3. Exhert a firm grasp of theoretical and critical scholarship in the relevant fields of study;
  4. Formulate independent judgements and engage with ideas at a high level of complexity;
  5. Illustrate sophisticated skills of digital analysis and an appreciation of how modern linguists can contribute to studies of digital production;
  6. Develop oral presentation skills and the ability to work together 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 1-6

1 x 4000-word essay (75%) testing ILOs 1-5

Reading and References

Digital Texts

  • Alex Rivera’s Cybracero Systems website (and his related film Sleep Dealer, Mexico 2008)
  • Los Cybrids’ online murals (photographs available on
  • Lola Arias’ online installation Mucamas/Maids (Argentina, 2011)
  • Daniel Ortiz’ online photo galleries Empleadas domésticas and Habitaciones de servicio (Peru)
  • Gabriel Mascaro’s online documentary Doméstica/Housemaids (Brazil, 2012) (with subtitles in English)
  • Digital testimonies from the Facebook group Euempregadadoméstica (created by Preta Rara, Brazil 2016 – these will be made available in translation)

Critical Reading

  • Claire Taylor and Thea Pitman, Latin American Identity in Online Cultural Production (Routledge, 2013)
  • Claire Taylor and Thea Pitman, Latin American Cyberculture and Cyberliterature (Liverpool Uni Press, 2007)
  • Claire Taylor and Niamh Thornton. 2017. ‘Modern Languages and the Digital: The Shape of the Discipline’. Modern Languages Open. DOI:
  • Patrik Svensson and David Theo Goldberg, eds., Between Humanities and the Digital (MIT Press, 2015)
  • Sarah Pink, Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practice (Sage, 2015)