Skip to main content

Unit information: Images and Text: Hybrid Media and Power in Latin America in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

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 have:

  1. Demonstrated an advanced knowledge of the history of image-texts in Latin America and their implication in regimes of power in the region.
  2. Responded critically and analytically to the issues/debates raised by the texts studied.
  3. Demonstrated a firm grasp of theoretical and critical scholarship in the relevant fields of study, as appropriate to level H.
  4. Formulated independent judgements and engage with ideas at a high level of complexity.
  5. Demonstrated sophisticated visual and textual analytical skills and an ability to use a broad range of terminology correctly.
  6. Presented independent judgements orally and in writing in an appropriate style and at a high level of complexity and demonstrate ability to work effectively in groups.

Teaching details

1 x 2 hour seminar per week, including plenary presentation, class discussions and small group work.

Assessment Details

1 x Group presentation (15-20 minutes), testing ILOs 4-6 and individual 1,000-word write up (30%: 15% group mark for presentation, 15% for individual write-up) testing ILOs 1-6;

1 x portfolio combining a 4000-word essay and a critical image-text (70%) testing ILOs 1-6.

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)