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download pdfWE/Latin American History - 2447 - HIST 3810 – 01
Twentieth-Century Latin America - 2445 - HIST 618G - 01

Spring 2021, Truman State University
BH 114, TR 12:00-1:20
Office: MC 227

Marc Becker

This course will introduce major themes in the history of Latin America from the arrival of the first peoples in the Americas to the present. It presents a survey of Indigenous civilizations, the European conquest, colonization, African slavery, independence movements, nineteenth-century liberal reforms, and twentieth-century revolutions. Among the issues we will examine are class structures, gender, constructions of race and ethnicity, inequality, leadership styles, ideologies, democracy, revolutions, religion, and popular movements. Rather than analyzing Latin America from a North American point of view, we will scrutinize how Latin Americans view themselves and how their culture, economics, and politics have developed in different directions than the United States and Europe.
            See the syllabus addendum on Blackboard for additional class policies.


Chasteen, John Charles. Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America. 4th ed. New York: Norton, 2016. ISBN: 978-0-393-28305-1
Horst, René Harder. A History of Indigenous Latin America: Aymara to Zapatistas. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 2020. ISBN: 9780415519120
O'Connor, Erin, and Leo Garofalo, ed. Documenting Latin America: Gender, Race, and Empire. 2vol. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education, 2011.
            Vol. 1: ISBN: 9780132085083
            Vol. 2: ISBN: 9780132085090

Assignment                                                                                         Points
15 reading responses (1 pt each)                                            15 pts
Class discussion leader (2 times, 3 pts each)                          6
15 primary source analyses (3 pts each)                                45
Primary source discussion leader (618G)                               10
Research paper                                                                       24
Class presentation                                                                  10

You can check your grade progress on Blackboard. Grades are calculated out of a total of 100 points. 90-100 points is an A, 80-89 is a B, 70-79 is a C, and 60-69 is a D. Fewer than 600 points is an F. YOU MUST COMPLETE ALL ASSIGNMENTS TO RECEIVE CREDIT FOR THIS CLASS.

Reading responses: By 10pm each Monday evening (except for Jim, for whom this deadline is merely aspirational), post a comment, question, response, or reaction for that week’s readings from Chasteen and/or Horst to the discussion board on Blackboard. 1pt each, 15pts total.

Class discussion leader: Each Tuesday we will discuss the assigned readings in Chasteen and Horst. Each Tuesday, one student will organize the reading response posts to the discussion board on Blackboard into a logical flow and another student will “run stack.” When you lead discussion, post a summary of the overarching themes for the reading for the day to the discussion board. That summary can be your post for the day. Sign up once to lead discussion and once to run stack. 3 pts each, 6 pts total.

Primary source analyses: Before class each Thursday, write a one-paragraph critical analysis of one of the primary sources from the electronic appendix to Horst ( and in O'Connor/Leo Garofalo. The essays should include both an identification of the document and what it is about (a summary) and a reflection (analytical commentary) on the strengths and weaknesses of the document. Submit to and to the grad student who is in charge of leading the small-group discussion on that source. 3pts each, 45 pts total.
            For the sources you have not drafted a written analysis provide the answers to the following questions to illustrate that you have read the document:

  1. Who is the author?
  2. When was the source created?
  3. Who is the intended audience?
  4. What kind of primary source is this?
  5. Why was the document created?

Primary source discussion leader: Each student in 618G will lead small-group discussions for five of primary sources on Thursdays. 10 pts.

Research paper: Write a research paper on a topic related to Latin American history. The paper should be about 10-15 pages long (for students in 3810; 20-25 for those in 618G), typed, double-spaced, and include page numbers, citations and a bibliography. 24 pts.

Class presentation: Present your research paper topic and findings to the class. 10 pts.

Class Schedule

Week 1 (Jan 12-14): Introduction
Chasteen, Ch. 1: Welcome to Latin America
Horst, Introduction: Indigenous People from the Southern Cone meet an Important Person
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 1: Introduction: “Doing” Latin American History in the Age of Nation States

Week 2 (Jan 19-21): Ancient America
Horst, ch. 1 Indigenous Latin America: Introductions, Methodology and Definitions

Week 3 (Jan 26-28): Abya Yala
Horst, ch. 2 Indigenous Latin America: Abya Yala

Week 4 (Feb 2-4): Encounters
Chasteen, Ch. 2: Encounter
Horst, ch. 3 Indigenous Encounters with Europeans: 15th Century
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 1: Section I: Imperial Aspirations and the Limits of Colonial Domination

Week 5 (Feb 9-11): Colonial societies
Chasteen, Ch. 3: Colonial Crucible
Horst, ch. 4 Natives Challenge the Conquerors Yet Help to Create a New World, 1500-1549
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 1: Section II: Church, Society, and Colonial Rule

Week 6 (Feb 16-18): Colonial alliances
Horst, ch. 5 Colonial Alliances and Demographic Collapse, 1550-1599
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 1: Section III: Finding a Place within Colonial Hierarchies

Week 7 (Feb 23-25): Colonial politics
Horst, ch. 6 The High Colonial Period: Indigenous People Join Imperial Systems, 1600-1649
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 1: Section IV: Challenging Colonial and Cultural Norms

Week 8 (March 2-4): Revolts
Chasteen, Ch. 4: Independence
Horst, ch. 7 Transculturation, Urbanization and Isolated Revolts, 1650-1699
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 1: Section V: The Age of Reform

Week 9 (March 16-18): Independence
Chasteen, Ch. 5: Postcolonial Blues
Horst, ch. 8 Demographic Recovery and Growing Insurrections, 1700-1749
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 1: Section VI: The Age of Transformation and Revolt, 1780-1825

Week 10 (March 23-25): Progress
Chasteen, Ch. 6: Progress
Horst, ch. 9 Religious Conflicts, Widespread Resistance, and New Countries, 1750-1826
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 2: Section II: Nineteenth-Century Elite Views of the Nation

Week 11 (March 30-April 1): Neocolonialism
Chasteen, Ch. 7: Neocolonialism
Horst, ch. 10 Indigenous Responses to New Rulers and Frontier Expansion, 1811-1869
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 2: Section III: Ordinary People and State Officials in the Nineteenth Century

Week 12 (April 6-8): Nationalism
Chasteen, Ch. 8: Nationalism
Horst, ch. 11 Struggles for Land, Labor and Political Leverage in Neocolonial Latin America, 1870-1930
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 2: Section IV: Changing notions of Race, Gender, and Nation, ca. 1900-1950

Week 13 (April 13-15): Revolution
Chasteen, Ch. 9: Revolution
Horst, ch. 12 Diverse Indigenous Paths toward Self-Determination, 1930-1971
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 2: Section V: Women’s Struggles with Gender Conformity in the Twentieth Century

Week 14 (April 20): Reaction
Chasteen, Ch. 10: Reaction
Horst, ch. 13 Indigenous Organization and Opposition to Military Rule, 1971-1990
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 2: Section VI: Foundations of Modern Indigenous Movements

Week 15 (April 27-29): Neoliberalism
Chasteen, Ch. 11: Neoliberalism and Beyond
Horst, ch. 14 Indigenous People Enter the New Millennium, 1990-2012
O'Connor/Leo Garofalo, vol 2: Section VII: Power and Politics at the Transition into the Twenty-First Century

Final Exam: Fri, May 7, 9:30-11:20

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