This unit explores the themes of race and ethnicity as portrayed by artists, filmmakers, and authors in Spain and Latin America. What is a Hispanic person and what shapes the Hispanic identity? What races and ethnicities comprise the Hispanic identity? These are key questions that I present to my students. This unit attempts to make sense out of the answers provided by such diverse artists and authors as Fernando Botero,Julia de Burgos, Gabriel García Márquez, Wifredo Lam, and Diego Rivera.(See chart for complete list.) The unit is limited to the Hispanic identity in Spain and in Latin America, and does not include Hispanics in the United States, which is beyond the scope of this unit. Included in the unit are some traditional artists as well as some artists "whose work questions or engages in a dialogue with mainstream traditions", as stated by Yale Professor Bryan J. Wolf.
The goal of this unit is to prepare advanced Spanish students for the Advanced Placement Exam in Spanish via carefully sequenced activities that combine art and film to supplement the traditional AP Spanish curricula. The unit is interdisciplinary and may be taught with the art teacher.The unit is divided into two sections: pre-AP and AP. The unit may be introduced in a pre-AP class and continued during the AP class the following year. Pre-AP classes are those Spanish classes which precede or feed into the AP class; in my school Spanish 4 Honors and Native Speakers 2 are pre-AP. The unit is not meant to cover the full two years, but rather is an attempt to infuse art and film into the AP curriculum. The objectives are to expose students to AP authors, selected artists and filmmakers; to equip students with the strategies needed to analyze works of art and films; to guide students to make connections between the art, the film, and the literature; and to encourage students to be creative by designing culminating activities that show a clear understanding of the themes studied in this unit.
The art component includes visual art and film. Art and film are essential components of this unit and are covered in several ways: using specific artists to introduce literature, using specific artists and films to present the themes covered in literature in a different way, and using art and film to highlight the themes of race and ethnicity. The artists themselves are of diverse racial backgrounds and their works reflect in different ways the Hispanic identity. A schematic chart is provided to enable Spanish teachers to adapt the sequence to the needs of their particular students. The sequence tracks the recommended authors for AP literature, includes background information of the authors' countries and cultures, and connects these authors to artists who reflect the three ethnicities that make up the Hispanic identity: Spanish, African, and Native American.