Colonization & Decolonization: Global and Latin American Perspectives

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Colonization & Decolonization: Global and Latin American Perspectives

  • Host University

    Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

  • Location

    Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, Chile

  • Area of Study

    History, Peace and Conflict Studies, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

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

    Course Description:

    The general purpose of this course is to give an introductory understand into current intellectual and theoretical contributions in terms of processes of colonization and decolonization, or alternatively, hegemonic and counter-hegemonic thought. The word colonialism has often had the connotation of a ‘past stage’ from which we have “moved beyond” in contemporary times. This perspective, however, stand in contrast to an increasing number of currents that re-appropriate the term for contemporary use, while being inspired by early postcolonial thought. Contemporary currents and theories of subaltern, counter-hegemonic and decolonial studies continuously propose that colonialism is not dead, but instead continuously emerge in new o ‘neo’ colonial, hegemonic and asymmetrical relationships in areas such as knowledge production, economic exploitation and political diaspora. These constructions are frequently found and most easily detectable in the global south. The course will begin by way of an introduction to Latin American colonialism in the past. We will ask how it operated and how it constructed its colonial/racial subjects through a general historical introduction as well as some specialized readings. Secondly, the course will approach some postcolonial thinkers of the 20th century to create a framework that will allow us to understand more contemporary 21st century currents of similar projections. As such, the course will move from some of the earliest ideas of the ‘postcolonial discourse’ as developed in the mid 20th century up until some recent contributions in the 21st century. Many of these areas, while often having been initiated from a specific discipline, do not limit themselves to any traditional university discipline of knowledge. As such, the course will be decidedly interdisciplinary and cross over between different disciplines such as history, sociology, psychology, economics and political theory.


    Course Objectives

    1. Students will receive a general introduction to the history and practices of Latin American Colonialism.

    2. Students will acquire a basic knowledge of key post-colonial thinkers of the 20th century.

    3. Students will become familiar with contemporary counter-hegemonic and de-colonial intellectual currents.


    Course Outline

    1. Latin American colonialism.

    2. Key post-colonial thinkers.

    3. Current counter-hegemonic and de-colonial intellectual and theoretical production.


    Expected Learning Outcome and student competences Upon successful completion of this course:

    1. Have a basic understanding of the history of Latin American colonialism.

    2. Understand the central ideas behind post-colonial criticism in the 20th century.

    3. Familiarize themselves with the critical perspectives of current strands of counterhegemonic and de-colonial thought.



    The methodological focus of this course will mix teacher and student presentations with group work as well as multiple discussions in class of material read and seen. The class material will be based on academic texts, which will be supplemented by some documentaries and u-tube material. Exams will be based on student presentations as well as student summaries of the text read. The students will have a range of choice with regard to what texts they will be required to present and summarize. The language of the course will be English.



    The assessment will consist of participation in class, oral presentations (individual or in groups) as well as short written summaries (individual) of the in-class texts. The written summaries must be chosen from different texts than the oral presentations. Each student will be required to do 3 oral presentations as well as 3 written summaries. Each oral presentation counts for 20% and each written summary accounts for 10% of the final grade

Course Disclaimer

Please note that there are no beginning level Spanish courses offered in this program.

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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


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