This semester, I want to gain a better baseline understanding of Latin America before, during, and after the arrival of European imperialists. Thus far, I have noticed that history courses tend to somewhat overlook how colonialism affected, and still affects the people in a variety of different ways. I think it is important to highlight not only the strategies and reasons why Europeans decided to invade Latin America, but also the full history of how Latin American peoples lives were impacted. In this, I think it is easy to paint the colonial experience as singular, generalizing how individuals and communities were conquered by colonizers; however, I would like to learn how to more intentionally study the intricacies of colonial Latin America while highlighting the variety of experiences among different individuals and communities.
More specifically, I would like to learn more about how material culture was influenced by the arrival of colonizers. While the assumption among most who study this subject is that Spaniards arrived in many communities in Latin America and imposed their way of life upon innocent people, this obviously paints the picture that the colonized lacked the autonomy and power to decide what they desired for themselves. I would like to learn more about how indigenous Latin American communities reacted to the influx of Europeans and how power, identity, and the desire for development affected the culture shifts inevitably took place.