UNIT 1 History and Culture

Resultado de imagen para history and culture

1.1. El Salvador History and Culture 

Central America, southernmost region of North America, lying between Mexico and South America and comprising Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Belize. (Geologists and physical geographers sometimes extend the northern boundary to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico.)

Definitions of Latin America vary. From a cultural perspective, Latin America generally includes those parts of the Americas where Spanish, French, or Portuguese prevail: Mexico, most of Central America, and South America. There is also an important Latin American cultural presence in the United States (such as in California, Florida, the Southwest, and cities such as New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Miami). There is also increasing attention to the relations between Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole. See further discussion of definitions at Latin America.

The richness of Latin American culture is the product of many influences, including:
Pre-Columbian cultures, whose importance is today particularly notable in countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.
European colonial culture, owing to the region's history of colonization by Spain, Portugal, and France. European influence is particularly marked in so-called high culture, such as literature, painting, and music. Moreover, this imperial history left an enduring mark of their influence in their languages, which are spoken throughout Central (including the Caribbean), South and North America (Mexico and many parts of the United States).

The culture of Africa brought by Africans who survived the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, which has influenced for instance dance, music, cuisine, and religion, especially in countries such as Dominican Republic, Brazil, Panama, Uruguay, Colombia, Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.
19th- and 20th-century immigration (e.g. from Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Eastern Europe) also transformed especially countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil (particular the southeast and southern regions), Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, Dominican Republic (specifically the northern region) and Mexico (particularly the northern region). Some of these immigrants came from former Ottoman countries such as Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine.
Chinese, Indian, Lebanese, Filipino and Japanese immigration and indentured laborers who arrived from the coolie trade influenced the culture of Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Panama and Peru in areas such as food, art, and cultural trade.

Cortés, the notorious conquistador responsible for ultimately toppling the Aztec empire and bringing much of modern-day Mexico under Spanish control, forged an alliance with Tlaxcala and a few other neighboring groups in the early 16th century. Tlaxcala leaders quickly converted to Christianity, and provided 250,000 warriors to the siege of Tenochtitlan.
The Aztecs are a fascinating civilization for many reasons, a taste for human sacrifice being unquestionably among them. Understanding them as a “death-obsessed” culture, as Mr. Stanely (Paleontologist of USA)  , is objectifying. But framing sacrifice as nothing more than “delayed casualties of war” is similarly overly simplistic—politically correct to a fault. It denies the fact that sacrificial-worship culture was a component of Mesoamerican civilization at the time, and a distinctive one at that!
There’s a lot to learn from the Aztecs and neighboring cultures. It would be a shame to let those lessons go to waste—all because we’re too blinded by morbid curiosities, or overkill of academic methodologies. Instead, let’s allow ourselves to be truly, rightly fascinated.

1.2 Culture and Religion

The evolution of religions and religious culture from the past till the present times has been explored through focus on theories by eminent social scientists. Global as well as Indian perspectives have been considered. The importance and motivation of travel in religion has been interpreted through motivation theories given by eminent scientists. The various types of religious travel has been explored namely pilgrimage, travel in religious space and travel during religious time.
“The religious person is one who seeks coherence and meaning in this world, and a religious culture is one that has a clearly structured world view. The religious impulse is to tie things together---All human beings are religious if religion is broadly defined as the impulse for coherence and meaning. The strength of the impulse varies enormously from culture to culture, and from person to person”.

--- Tuan (1976, in Monisha Chattopadhyaya, 2006)


No. 1  Oral presentation
Cultures of Central America and Caribbean

  • 5 minutes presentation
  • Culture and Tourism (analysis) 
  • Map presentation of touristic cultural places (on a separate paper)
  • groups of 5 members 

El Salvador
Costa Rica
Tuesday January 29th

No. 2  Class activity (video analysis)
Culture and Religion
In groups of 3 member
February 7th 

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