Span 254

Intro to Cultural Analysis

Spring 2016

Professor Dara E. Goldman

Department of Spanish and Portuguese

University of Illinois



The course will be an introduction to the analysis of culture as a concept, practice, and form of representation--including a consideration of the debates that the idea of culture has provoked in different contexts. It will provide analytical and methodological tools to discuss a full range of cultural forms and to develop key skills in the analysis of culture.  Special emphasis will be placed on issues of representation  as well as on the notion of cultural difference(s). The theoretical and critical texts studied will represent diverse geographical and cultural locations, with special emphasis on materials that explore cultural issues in the context of Spain, Latin American and U.S. Latinos/as.


1. Offer a critical overview of the idea of culture and why it is so contested

2, Provide an introduction to key issues in cultural analysis

3. Critically examine everyday cultural practices and messages

4. To look at a wide variety of cultural forms from Spanish-speaking communities (i.e. literature, music, film, material culture, cultural practices, dance, visual arts, food)

5. Introduce transcultural contact and global dynamics

6. Promote understanding of how cultures change, resist change, and shape our understanding of the world