Saturday, October 02, 2004

Latin American Studies

Latin American Studies. This is an essay which gives teachers ideas for teaching about Latin America in the classroom. This includes covering social studies and history.

From the site:

Social studies textbooks and media often present an incomplete or biased portrait of the countries comprising Latin America. Newspapers and television news programs tend to focus on such spectacular events as earthquakes, terrorism, coups, and American foreign policy related to the region. "It is rare to find stories on the arts, humanities, or culture of Latin America" (Glab 1981).

The same is true of textbook representation. A recent survey of ten high school texts revealed that "with the exception of one textbook, little recognition was given to cultural characteristics" (Fleming 1982). Latin American history was presented primarily in the context of United States foreign policy. The point of view of Latin American countries was rarely considered. Textbooks often created or reinforced negative stereotypes of Latin America and its citizens.


Glab (1981) offers the following considerations for including more about Latin America in the curriculum:

--Foreign Policy. International controversies over the influence of other governments in the politics of Latin America need analysis and examination.

--Physical Proximity. Latin American countries are virtually next-door neighbors, "with close political, commercial, and cultural interactions with the United States extending over many years."

--The American Heritage. Latin American culture and the Spanish language are part of the American heritage, exerting early and continuing influence on what are now the states of Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona.

--Negative Stereotyping. It is well documented that Hispanic-Americans in general "suffer from explicit negative stereotyping."

1 comment:

SeƱor Inquisitivo said...

I agree with the article. The need to teach on Latin America is very important not only to broaden the views of students...but also to recognize that the region has been involved consistently since the US's founding and will continue to be. I feel that in many ways it is South America not Africa that is truly the forgotten continent.
I have a Latin American news blog that I started a few weeks ago for those interested...

Daniel of Latin America Today