Ibero-American Studies: Master's Program 'Communication and Society in Ibero-America'Course Catalog Winter Semester 2023/2024

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Lecture: Latin American Politics

This lecture introduces students to the key theoretical concepts and the main empirical questions of Latin American politics. It provides students with a broad understanding of the political systems and the social and economic challenges in the macro-region of Ibero-America. Against the backdrop of the enormous political and social diversity in the region, this lecture explores the causes and functioning of different institutional structures and their impact on politics and society. The lecture is structured into four overarching topics. The first thematic block is devoted to the political and economic development of Latin America. The second thematic area covers issues of citizen representation and competition between political parties. The third overarching topic is the change in societal values and the causes and consequences of migration for the region. Finally, the fourth thematic block discusses the influence of political actors and institutions on the capacity of states in Latin America. The lecture enables students to develop their own research questions based on the acquired knowledge of the region. The discussion of different methodological approaches enables them to critically engage with the relevant empirical-analytical literature. Furthermore, students learn to classify individual scientific contributions in higher-level debates and to efficiently elaborate the central statements of scientific texts.

The course counts as lecture for module 1.

Seminar: Theories of Social Change: Contributions from Latin America

Social change, a foundational topic of sociological thinking, has received renewed attention under new names such as theories of transition and transformation research, and has mostly been discussed widely in relation to the environmental question. However, there is a growing body of literature on the need to also incorporate other dimensions of social change in order to tackle the environmental crisis. This include decolonial approaches, gender theories, critical race studies, and theories on the pluriverse and Indigenous cosmopolitics. This course will discuss Latin American theories on crises and transformation and their contribution to global theoretical and political debates on contemporary processes of social change.

The course counts as seminar for module 1.

Seminar: Socioenvironmental Change in Ibero-America: Historical Developments, Spatial Implications, and Politeconomic Contexts in Latin America

Nature and the environment are inextricably bound to social relations. In this seminar, we engange with theoretical approaches in social science research to conceptualize society-nature relations and analyse socioenvironmental change. In particular, we will engage with literature from human geography, political ecology, environmental history, science and technology studies, development studies, political science, and on social movements that shed light on historical trajectories, spatial implications, and politconomic contexts of the appropriation and use of nature, socio-ecological inequalities, and strategies aiming at sustainable development. The regional focus of the course is Latin America. Empirically, the course engages with research on agriculture, mining, bioeconomy, climate change, nature conservation, and renewable energies.

The course counts as seminar for module 2.

Seminar: Transit migration and everyday life across the Americas

The concept of transit migration was conceived in the field of European public policies, and it has been a politicized concept since its origins. For the UN Economic Commission for Europe, transit migration means migration from “one country with the intention of seeking the possibility there to emigrate to another country as the country of final destination.” Hence, in the Latin American academic field, the concept of transmigration has been discussed as a synonymous manner of referring to transit migration. But, even if there is a wealth of international literature on this concept in the academic field, how is transit migration currently discussed? What kind of migratory processes can be grasped through the lens of transit migration? What does transit migration refers to? What is a transmigrant? How and where does this kind of migration take place? What are the social processes originating from this type of human movements?

This seminar seeks to better understand the social (inter)relations occurring in the ‘in-between’ of irregularized migration. We will analyze the diverse encounters happening between people on the move, things and places along the irregularized migratory routes in the Americas. We will study diverse migratory corridors (in South America, Central America, Mexico and the U.S.) to deepen the understanding of irregular migration ‘from below.’ In spite of increased attention on irregularized migrants, there is still a lack of discussions about the implications of such migratory processes in migrants’ life trajectories and their encounters with other actors, things, and places taking part of this mobility phenomenon. In this seminar, we will look into the interior of everyday life of irregularized migration: emotions, negotiations, contestations, ‘tactics of survival’, gendered practices, health, among others, built around this kind of human movements.

The course counts as seminar for module 2.

Seminar: Comunicación y Sociedad en Ibero-América

El seminario presenta los fundamentos de los procesos comunicativos a partir de la realidad social iberoamericana. La comunicación se descompone en sus diferentes factores, que se interpretan desde una perspectiva sociocognitiva. Los contextos iberoamericanos sirven de marco para comprender cómo interviene cada factor de la comunicación y cómo contribuyen a su adecuación y eficacia. El conocimiento sobre cómo funciona cada factor y sobre cómo todos ellos interactúan entre sí contribuye una mayor comprensión y a un mejor dominio de las técnicas comunicativas, especialmente en dominios públicos.

The course counts as seminar for module 3.

Practical: Communication and Public spheres in Ibero-America

This seminar studies the public sphere, comprised of the media, civil society, and politics, and looks at their relationships from a communication perspective. The seminar, therefore, introduces a selective conceptual vocabulary that is regarded as instrumental to understanding the communicators of political information, such as journalists or today’s ‘users’. Further, the practical focuses on characteristics that typically guide the content of political information and serve to uncover structures of the communication itself. Moreover, the effects of communication are discussed applying approaches from media effects research.

The practical sets an emphasis on the context communication takes place, in three dimensions: Firstly, it focuses on the Ibero-American context, and regional case studies inform about public sphere mechanisms around actors, media content, and reception in the macro-region. Secondly, the public spheres are studied under conditions of deeply changed media environments shaped by the production and use of digital media. Thirdly, the practical addresses current debates on societal processes, such as the polarization of the public sphere, that are suspected to be fueled by virulent online communication (e.g., hate speech).

The course counts as practical for module 3.

Methodological Skills

HCIAS Master's Degree Lecture Series: Approaches, Methods, and Resources in Ibero-American Studies

The HCIAS-Master's Degree Lecture Series presents research projects on, in, and with Ibero-America from diverse perspectives in the fields of the Humanities and Social Sciences. This series aims to provide an overview of current state of the art research and innovative inquiries on issues of particular relevance to Ibero-American societies, setting a special focus on methodological approaches. The lecture series includes speakers from the Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies (HCIAS) as well as from international partner universities and research institutions.

The HCIAS-Master's Degree Lecture Series is open to all interested students, doctoral candidates, and researchers of Heidelberg University.

The course counts as lecture for module 4.

Advanced Competencies

Seminar: Ámbitos de la comunicación pública en Iberoamérica

La comunicación pública es, de modo muy general, el conjunto de procesos de creación, circulación, recepción y retroacción de la información que configura los debates y temas públicos. Después de discutir los conceptos fundamentales de la comunicación pública, el curso se ocupa de los distintos ámbitos de la comunicación pública en Iberoamérica desde una perspectiva teórico-práctica. Por un lado, se presentarán las herramientas teórico-metodológicas necesarias para entender la comunicación científica, la comunicación política y la comunicación intercultural. Por otro, se discutirán los retos de estos tres ámbitos de la comunicación considerando su contribución a los debates públicos. Se hará especial hincapié en las estrategias para el análisis, la creación y la gestión de discursos y espacios de comunicación entre instituciones, organizaciones y ciudadanos.

This course counts as a seminar for module 5.





Seminar: Entangled Geographies: Migration, Urban Space, and Infrastructures of contemporary Mexico

This seminar explores the intersections between urban space policies and migratory processes in contemporary Mexico. Furthermore, the seminar seeks to provide students with the skills to understand the urban policies and migratory processes that have shaped Mexico’s current infrastructure. The course purports to understand the interplay between migration, urban space, and infrastructures to better comprehend the socio-cultural transformations that have shaped the country that we know today. Methodologically based on the knowledge provided by history, geography, anthropology, and mobility studies, the course offers an interdisciplinary approach to grasp phenomena (that are too often studied in isolation. The seminar is divided into three sections. The first provides an account of both Mexico’s geography and history, an analyse how their interplay influenced the formation of the nation that we know today. The second section focuses on the study of (forced) migration. It will draw on the previous historical, sociological, and geographical accounts to portray the complex socio-economic nature of migratory flows that shape Mexico nowadays, whether they originate in the country (e.g., internal migration, Mexican migration into the U.S.) or rely on it as a point of transit. Lastly, the course will study processes of urban (trans)formation, and the political and economic ramifications of decades of uneven development. The growth of cities, such as Cancun, Mexico City, and Mexican border cities with the U.S. (e.g., Tijuana or El Paso), will serve as case studies to explore the backdrop of the configuration of urban spaces. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the course seeks to shed light on the intricate connections between these topics. By underscoring their entangled nature, we wish to provide a deeper understanding of the complex interplay between migration, urban space, and infrastructures in contemporary Mexico. We seek to stimulate a critical discussion that inspires students to analyse urban socio-spatial dynamics, not as something isolated, but as a complex web that extends both beyond internal affairs, as well as geopolitical borders.

The course counts as seminar for module 5.

Key Transversal Skills

Practical: Practicing quantitative data analysis with SPSS

Many of the questions we ask in social sciences in general and communication science, in particular, require the collection and analysis of quantitative data. This practical introduces into basic data analysis with the statistical software package SPSS. After beginning with some methodological introduction (e.g., on formulating hypotheses) and basic statistics, the practical provides how-to-knowledge on creating SPSS codes, allowing modification and analysis of social science data sets. Analysis sessions, for example, include comparing means (t-tests) or testing relationships between two or more variables (correlation analysis, regression analysis). The course is structured as a “block seminar” that combines input and practice sessions and where students are engaged to create and run their own SPSS codes in monitored self-practice sessions. Students of this practice can apply their basic SPSS skills in future empirical term papers.

This course counts as practical for module 7.

Practical: Antirracismo e sociedade

O objetivo deste curso é discutir práticas antirracistas como um caminho para discutir sobre uma sociedade equânime. Para isso, discutiremos o racismo a partir da realidade da sociedade brasileira, abordando os aspectos históricos da escravidão e a construção de uma sociedade racista e refletindo em como o racismo estrutural afeta mais da metade da população brasileira. O curso será orientado pela leitura e discussão dos capítulos do livro Pequeno Manual Antirracista, da filosófa brasileira Djamila Ribeiro. Como metodologia do curso utilizaremos práticas de tradução para o alemão dos capítulos do livro. (Autorizado pela editora).

Assim, estudantes de todos os cursos poderão participar do curso, no entanto é necessário que possam entender alemão e português.

O curso possibilitará aos alunos aprofundar a compreensão da língua portuguesa a partir de um texto especializado, mas também difundir a literatura científica brasileira em outros idiomas. No curso será discutido cada capítulo do livro, apresentando aos alunos as questões socioculturais que estão por trás de cada debate. Após a leitura e discussão em grupos, os  alunos terão como tarefa final a tradução de um dos capítulos do livro. O curso será divido entre duas professoras (Marília Pinheiro Pereira, Leitorado Brasileiro, e Rosa Rodrigues, Instituto Camões), professores convidados também participarão do curso para uma palestra.