When tango was born in Buenos Aires in the second half of the 19th century, Argentina was undergoing profound changes. With the arrival of millions of immigrants, the shape of the city and its society began an intense process of modernization. A product of the bordello and a “threat” to national identity, tango became a symbol for Argentina and its new ways of thinking about sexuality, gender, and class relations. Thus, tango became an important cultural artifact that encapsulates many of the key debates about the relationships between popular music and society by focusing on issues such as national identity, gender, race and the consumption of culture in the global era. 

Two women dance a tango, with a guitar player seated behind them
via Wikimedia Commons
Rafael Bispo Rumao - Teatro San Martin, junio 2019

On the Tango and Identity track, students will take one Middlebury-organized core course, “Tango: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Body,” which will explore issues of culture, identity, and power as they relate to tango and include several introductory dance classes. In addition, students will take complementary classes at the Universidad de Buenos Aires Facultad de Filosofía y Letras of Argentina, choosing from a large array of related courses in the subject areas of arts, literature, anthropology, philosophy, and history, among others.  

In addition to coursework, students will have the opportunity to apply classroom learning in a real world setting through a credit-bearing internship that addresses ongoing issues of identity and power within their field of interest, taking advantage of the School in Argentina’s network of partner organizations in Buenos Aires.

Other enrichment activities outside the classroom include monthly extension activities such as visits to milongas, dance schools, lunfardo academies, and other related institutions, as well as relevant interviews and activities that will bring students closer to the front line of the fieldwork. 

A man and woman dancing a tango

Core Course

  • Tango: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Body

This Middlebury-organized core course focuses on the formation and evolution of Tango and the culture that emerged with it as a national language from an Argentinean perspective. The course will approach the emergence of historical tensions over identity and power, incorporating knowledge about Argentinean society and its contemporary social challenges through theories specific to various academic disciplines. The course will prepare students to delve into their specific interests through elective courses at the university.

Sample Elective Courses

Music

  • Introduction to Music Language
  • Aesthetics of Music
  • Anthropology of Music (Fall only)
  • History of Argentinean and Latin American Music (Fall only)
  • Ethnographic Music and World Music

The Body

  • General Theory of Movement
  • Anthropology of Performance and Bodies (Spring only)
  • Problems in Dance (Spring only)
  • American Spaces and Bodies as a European Construction (Fall only)

Audiovisual

  • History of Argentinean and Latin American Cinema (Spring only)
  • History of Argentinean and Latin American Theater (Fall only)
  • History of Argentinean and Latin American Fine Arts
  • Audiovisual Thought in Cinema and Literature (Fall only)

Culture

  • Argentinean Literature
  • Latin American Literature
  • Environment, Culture, and Power (Fall only)
  • National Imaginaries and Counter-Modernity (Spring only)
  • Migration Studies (Spring only)
  • Tradition and Identity in Afro-North-American Literature (Spring only)
  • Testimony and Literature in the Context of Sons/Daughters of Disappeared People
  • Images, Corporality, and Aesthetic Practices in Urban Social Movements
Legs of a woman dancing the tango
Photo by Pavel Sternberg

Gender

  • Feminist Philosophy (Fall only)
  • Feminism, Ethics, and Bioethics (Spring only)
  • The Construction of the Feminine in the Middle Ages (Fall only)
  • Natives, Gender, Coloniality, Non-Hegemonic Feminisms, and Human Rights: Debates and Multi-directional Interpellations (Spring only)
  • Gender Perspectives in Argentina
  • Feminist Anthropology
  • A Gender Approach to Social History
  • Anthropology of Visual Culture
  • Anthropology of the Body
  • Women and Anti-Colonial Fight
  • The Impertinent Gender: the challenges of a Feminist Methodology

Sample Internships

  • Academia Nacional del Tango
  • Academia Nacional del Lunfardo
  • Centro FECA (Foro y Estudios Culturales Argentinos)
  • Fundación Tango Argentino
  • Observatorio de Género y Pobreza
  • Federación Argentina LGBTQ
  • Afrofeminas
  • Todo en Sepia
  • CIEPP (Centro Interdisciplinario para el Estudio de Política Pública, Justicia, y Género)
  • Fundación Alicia Moreau de Justo
  • La Casa del Encuentro
  • Red Nacional de Jóvenes y Adolescentes para la Salud Sexual y Reproductiva
gloves hanging up around a sign that says "Tango"