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Close reading Tropical Landscapes of the Americas

22 July, 2019 - 09:15
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Setting is important for understanding a text's themes, plot, characters, and historical significance. Elements, such as the "time, place, physical details, and circumstances in which a situation occurs" (Glossary), orient the reader within the story, and provide the background for a narrative's structure. This module will focus on how to closely read settings and landscapes of historical and literary texts. Using the Our Americas Archive Partnership 1's 1876 Las Mujeres Españoles Portuguesas y Americanas or, in its English version, Spanish, Portuguese, and American Women 2, a historical overview of American, Spanish, and Portuguese women, this module will use the tropical landscapes of Central and South America as an example. While Las Mujeres is a non-fiction text, the passages selected for this module can help introduce issues of race and gender into a discussion of setting and landscape, showing how a text's themes are often reflected through an author's description of space. Finally, this module can provide ways to call students' attention to how setting informs our understanding of geography and culture.

Figure 3.1 Las Mujeres 
Title page of 1876 Las Mujeres Españoles Portuguesas y Americanas or Spanish, Portuguese, and American Women