2017-2018 Catalog

SPAN 370 The Jungle in Modern Latin American Literature

In this course we will look at the jungle as a space where western civilizations desires and fears come into tension with the imagined "other" so that sometimes the jungle can be beautiful and desirable like the Garden of Eden and other times savage and dark like hell. Readings will include Latin American works of fiction (by Jose Eustasio Rivera Romulo Gallegos Horacio Quiroga and William Ospina) excerpts from the anthropological discourse of Wade Davis narcotraffic narratives testimonial literature (by Ingrid Betancourt and Clara Rojas) as well as environmental discourse and film in order to analyze the particular forces of history that intersect in each narrative. Topics to be discussed will include: exploitation and subjugation vs. autonomy and self determination; the search for ethnobotanical knowledge and the hallucinogenic journey; the playground and hidden operational spaces of drug traffickers; the imprisonment of the kidnapped victims from the guerrilla war against the state and paramilitary forces; the environmental movement and the concept of ecotourism. We will frame our analysis in contemporary critical theories relevant to the topics being discussed. Upon completion of this course students will be able to critically understand the value and complexity of the jungle in the geography and imagination of the Latin-American modern landscape and identity.


4 units


One 300-level course

Core Requirements Met

  • Regional Focus