Human Rights and Representation
General Catalog Course Title:
Fiction and Culture of the Americas
Terms Offered:
Fall 2011
Course Thread: 
Human Rights
Instructor: 
Masiello, Francine

This is a course that addresses the questions: What can literature do to expose social injustice? What can literature do to help us come to terms with the horrors of human rights violations, torture, censorship, and disappearance? How does the creative text engage the illegality of regimes that resist the rule of reason? In this course, we will move toward the representational dynamics of human rights that are played out in literary texts and the visual arts. Representation, then, is both an aesthetic and political issue:  we ask not only about how we might name the unspeakable, but also about who gets to speak.  The emphasis will be on texts  that emerged in Latin America in response to the “dirty wars” of the 1970s and 80s and, more recently, the human rights violations against women and sexual and ethnic minorities. This will require us to think about how bodies and voices are constructed in literature, but it will also lead us to reflect on the locus of truth and discovery that we find in the creative text and the ways it might lead us to action. A good amount of theoretical reading along with novels, poetry, and visual arts.

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.