STS.S20 Future of Facts in Latin America

STS.S20  Future of Facts in Latin America

3-0-9 units


Spring 2024, Tuesdays 7pm-10pm

Instructor: Prof. Eden Medina

This class can count towards the Latin American & Latino/a Studies Minor and Concentration, and the Spanish minor and major.

Have you wondered how we come to know what we know? Are you curious about how time, place, and historical context shape what we come to accept as true? Are you interested in learning more about Latin America?

This class draws from Latin American histories and experiences to explore how facts are made. Through a series of case examples, students will learn how people make knowledge claims, how these knowledge claims travel, and why they continue to hold true (or become discredited). Students will learn tools from the social sciences and humanities that will help them analyze facts and better understand what is often referred to as the post-truth era.

Case studies will include, among others, the use of forensic science in human rights cases in Chile and Mexico, how different understandings of water scarcity shape debates around aquifer protection in Costa Rica, facts in Brazil during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how people determine where timber taken from the Amazon comes from.

The class forms part of a research collaboration between Prof. Eden Medina (MIT STS) and Prof. Andrea Ballestero (USC Anthropology) and is tied to the transhemispheric working group they have assembled on this topic. MIT students will have the opportunity to learn about new research in this area and connect to class discussions that will happen simultaneously at USC.

The class will also be collaborating with Cardboard House Press. Students will learn how to make their own cardboard book inspired by the Argentine cartonera movement as part of the final project.