HAA 290K - Explorations in Afro-Latin American Art





Thomas Cummins, Alejandro de la Fuente,

This seminar explores how visual artists and the visual arts have contributed to debates on race, citizenship, and nation in Latin America, from the colonial period to the present. We approach the history of art in Latin America primarily through the production of images of afro-decendants and works by artists of African descent.  We will offer a critical and historical analysis of  the racialized biases of the existing canon, as well as the need for new research strategies, new methods, and new sources. We also study the contributions of artists and intellectuals who claim connections to Afro-Diasporic cultural practices or participate in broader debates about race and inclusion in Latin American societies.


By combining approaches centered on authorship and on thematic influences and representations, the seminar explores different conceptualizations of Afro-Latin American Art and highlights the possibilities of this field within the art history of Latin America. We cover different geographic areas, different socio-cultural groups as well as different political conditions.  We will address various media, including painting, sculpture, architecture, printmaking, photography, video, and installation and study how this artistic production has evolved over time. The course follows a rough chronological order that becomes more media specific as we enter the end of the 19th-century and finishing in the 21st. For this seminar, a social historian of slavery and race and an art historian of colonial Latin America join forces to explore the contours of this field from multidisciplinary perspectives. Undergraduate students are welcome to join the seminar, previous consultation with the instructors.