Popular Culture in Argentina

Universidad de Belgrano

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Popular Culture in Argentina

  • Host University

    Universidad de Belgrano

  • Location

    Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Area of Study

    Latin American Studies, Popular Culture

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    PALAS  442- Popular Culture in Argentina

    Program  in  Argentine  and  Latin  American  Studies

    Course Description

    This course will examine Latin American Culture and History through the lens of popular culture. The focus will be on cultural identitity, Nation Building , and social and political conflicts and class struggle. We will examine issues such as democracy, myths, public festivals, religion, sports, music, food, fashion, print media, television and film, paying particular attention to the art and politics that havve influenced (and continue to influence) the lives of ordinaty people in Argentina. We will discuss how popular culture contributes to a multi-faceted and continuously evolving sense of national identity. We will cover a wide range of topics from the myths of Eva Perón and Che Guevara to soccer and Maradona´s "hand of God"; fromm Tango to Rock and Roll. We will explore popular iconography related to figures such as the singer Gilda and the popular folk saint Gauchito Gil, as well as issues relating to politics and the media (movies, comics and TV shows). Course materials will include Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig, Santa Evita by Tomás Eloy Martínez, shorts stories by Cortázar, Perlongher and Borges, comics such as Héctor Oesterheld The Eternaut, Quino´s Mafalda and Maitena Burundarena´s famous comic strip Maitena, Women on the Edge, videos, songs and excerpts from movies and TV shows.

    Course Requirements

    Following UB policies, students need a minimum of 75% of attendance to be in good standing for the final exam. Sliding the ID card is the only way to track attendance. Students are expected to do close readings, participate significantly in class and do one oral presentation.

    Requirements also include a mid term and final in-class exams. The exams will have essay format and students will be allowed to use class material in order to answer exam questions.

    Any student caught plagiarizing will be given a "no credit" for all courses taken during the semester.

    Evaluation and Grading

    Class participation: 20%

    Mid-Term Exam: 30%

    Oral Presentation (1): 20%

    Final Exam: 30%

    *SAMPLE* Course Schedule

    Week 1

    Course presentation.  Characteristics, expectations and goals for the class.

    Introduction to some critical and theoretical issues on Popular Culture.

    Raymond Williams, The Analysis of Culture

    Benedict Anderson, Introduction, in Imagined Communities.

    Renato Rosaldo Prologue in Garcia Canclini´s Hybrid Cultures.

    García Canclini, Hybrid Cultures (15-29)

    A blast of images: audiovisual presentation. 

    Class debate.

    Week 2

    Music: Tango and the formation of a modern national identity. Bodies, gender and class conflicts

    Reading: Savigliano, Marta. Tango and the Political Economy of Passion (Scenes One, Two, Three: 30-73)

    The characters of Tango: analysis of tango lyrics.

    Audiovisual: Carlos Gardel Cuesta Abajo (1934)

    Week 3

    Exiles and tango. From the uprooted immigrant to the political exile. Reshaping national identity.

    Analysis of classical tango lyrics.

    Audiovisual: Fernando Pino Solanas, The Exile of Gardel (1985)

    Week 4

    The displacement of traditional tango. The new youth and argentine rock: from the 1960´s to 1990´s.

    The fall of Argentina: the crisis of 2001 and new forms of popular music (cumbia villera and rap)

    Eloísa Martín, "Cumbia Villera and the end of the culture of work in Argentina of the 90´s". In Semán, Pablo Youth Identities and Argentine Popular Music. (59-82)

    Pablo Vila, "Cumbia and Latin American Migration in Buenos Aires." In Semán, Pablo Youth Identities and Argentine Popular Music. (83-100)

    Week 5

    Bodies of a Nation, bodies of the world: Eva Perón and Che Guevara.

    Historical introduction to Peronismo and the Cuban Revolution.  Argentina and Latin America from the 1940´s to the 60´s. 

    Julio Cortázar. House Taken Over

    Week 6

    A body as a political battleground.  Whore, revolutionary, saint: Evita.

    Tomás Eloy Martínez, Santa Evita (chapters 1-3)

    Audiovisual: speeches by Eva Perón, images from La Tumba sin Paz.

    Week 7

    Versions of a myth.

    Jorge Luis Borges, El simulacro.

    Néstor Perlongher. "Evita lives".

    Audiovisual: Alan Parker, Evita.

    Week 8

    Che Guevara, from the Cuban Sierra Maestra to images on a T-Shirt

    Ernesto Guevara, The Bolivian Diary (excerpts)

    Audiovisual: Tristán Bauer, Che, un hombre nuevo (Che, a new man), 2010

    Week 9

    Review for Mid-term exam

    Week 10:

    Mid Term- Exam 

    "Fútbol" (Soccer) Neighborhood, local and international identities. Going political: Argentina and the World Cups. 


    Sergio Renán. La fiesta de todos (Everybody´s party) 1979

    Ezequiel Fernández Moores. La fiesta de todos, una historia paralela (2003)

    Week 11

    Fútbol: "Amando a Maradona" (Loving Maradona)


    Heroes. Documentary on World Cup México 86

    Heroes II. Documentary on World Cup Italy 90.

    Emir Kusturica, Maradona (2008)

    Week 12

    Popular folk saints: singer Gilda and "Gauchito" Gil.

    Audiovisual: fragments from the movie Gilda (2016)

    Comics 1: Utopias of resistance, Héctor Oesterheld The Ethernaut (fragments) 

    Week 13

    Comics 2: a political childhood, Quino´s Mafalda

    XXXX "Mafalda from Hearth to Plaza"

    XXXX "Mafalda, the ironic bemusement"

    Comics 3: Women on the edge. Maitena´s perspective on the feminine.

    Week 14

    Argentina´s "desaparecidos". A national tragedy on a gothic key. How much fear is fear?

    Audiovisual: Paco Cabezas The appeared  (2007)

    Review for Final Exam

    Remember: "Students holding a student visa will not be allowed to take the final exam until they clear the hold".

    Week 15


    Literary Sources

    Ernesto Guevara, The Bolivian Diary, Ocean Press: 2006

    Tomás Eloy Martínez. Santa Evita. Vintage: 1997

    Julio Cortázar. House Taken Over. (short story, 1948)

    Jorge Luis Borges, El simulacro. In Collected Fictions. Translated by Andrew         Hurley. New York, New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1998. 301-302:

    Néstor Perlongher. "Evita lives". In My deep dark pain is love.

    Audiovisual Sources

    Carlos Gardel, Cuesta Abajo (1934)

    Fernando Solanas, Tangos, the exile of Gardel (1985)

    Emir Kusturica, Maradona (2008)

    Sergio Renán. La fiesta de todos (Everybody´s party) 1979

    Ezequiel Fernández Moores. La fiesta de todos, una historia paralela (2003)

    Heroes. Documentary on World Cup México 86

    Heroes II. Documentary on World Cup Italy 90.

    Tristán Bauer, La tumba sin paz. 1997

    Alan Parker, Evita. 1996

    Tristán Bauer, Che Un hombre nuevo. 2010

    Theoretical and Critical Bibliography

    Luis Alberto Romero, A history of Argentina in the Twentieh Century. Penn State University Press: 2013.

    Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities, reflections on the origin and spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 1991

    García Canclini, Hybrid cultures. Strategies for entering and leaving modernity. Minessota. University of Minessota Press: 1989-2005

    Savigliano, Marta. Tango and the political economy of passion.(Institutional Structure of Feeling)

    Semán, Pablo and Vila, Pablo. Editors. Youth Identities and Argentine Popular Music. Palgrave MacMillan: 2012.

    Williams, Raymond. "The Analysis of Culture". In Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, a Reader. John Storey, editor. The University of Georgia Press: 1998.

    XXXX "Mafalda from Hearth to Plaza"

    XXXX "Mafalda, the ironic bemusement

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.