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download pdfLatin America During the National Period (HIST 140)

“Poor people inhabit rich lands”
- E. Bradford Burns

Fall 2015, Truman State University
BH350, TR 1:30-2:50
Office: MC 227 

Marc Becker
Office Hours: TR noon-1pm
Phone: x6036

This course surveys the history of Latin America from independence from European colonial powers at the beginning of the nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century. We will examine a variety of issues including inequality, leadership styles, democracy, religion, and gender. This course fulfills the history mode of inquiry in the Liberal Studies Program. In this mode, students will study a broad topic or major geographic area over an extended period of time and will demonstrate competence in one or more of the following areas, which characterize the work of historians:

  • thinking in terms of causation, change over time, contingency, context, and chronological frameworks;
  • the content and methodologies of humanistic and social-scientific disciplines to study and interpret the past;
  • analyzing the interplay between choices individuals have made and developments societies have undergone; and
  • understanding the social and aesthetic richness of different cultures.

Our goal in this class is to challenge existing assumptions, engage alternative viewpoints, and encourage critical thinking. Through the study of history, we seek to empower ourselves to be better citizens, and to provide ourselves with the skills necessary to play a positive and educated role in society. We need to be active constituents rather than mere recipients of our education. To accomplish those tasks, we should strive to create an open and supportive learning environment. Regular attendance and active participation are also necessary. Please drop me a note if you are unable to attend, or if you have any concerns or suggestions for improving the class. Personal and scholarly integrity are expected of everyone in the class. Plagiarized assignments will not receive credit and risks a failing grade for the course.

Following is the required book for this class. Additional readings will be posted to the Blackboard website. Read the assignments before class so that you are prepared to carry on an intelligent discussion of the material in class. Lectures and discussions will complement the readings and assume the base level of knowledge that they present, so it is critically important that you keep up with the readings.

Meade, Teresa. A History of Modern Latin America. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. ISBN: 978-1405120517

Assignments and grades
Course grades will be based on the following assignments. You can check your grade progress on the class Blackboard web page (there is a total of 1000 possible points in the class). Assignments are due at the beginning of class, and I do not accept “drop and run” papers or papers submitted without the physical presence of the student. Grades on late assignments will be penalized 10 percent for each day that they are late. Successful completion of all assignments is required to receive credit for this class.

Assignment                                                                                         Points
Daily identification terms (5 pts ea.)                                      100 pts
2 primary source analyses (200 pts ea.)                                 400
3 newspaper article analyses (100 pts ea.)                             300
Final exam                                                                               200

Daily identification terms. We will begin each class period with identifying and giving the significance of one identification term drawn from a list posted to the Blackboard web page for each of the weekly assigned readings from Meade’s A History of Modern Latin America. These will be graded on a scale of 1 to 5 points. One point means that you are present, 2 points indicate that something was fundamentally wrong with your response, 3 points indicate a rote response from the text, 4 points represent analytical thought, and 5 points are for responses that reveal critical thought that extends significantly beyond the text and places the term in a broad historical context.

Newspaper analyses. Select an article from one of the daily newspapers distributed on campus (New York Times, St. Louis Post Dispatch, or USA Today) and write a one-page, typed, double-spaced essay that places the article in a proper historical context. Attach a clipping of the newspaper article to your essay. Due dates: Sept 17, Oct 27, and November 10.

Primary source analyses. Analyze the primary sources posted to the Blackboard webpage. Using your own words, explain what you think the documents reveal, what they conceal, and how the experiences and perspectives of the authors shaped its contents. In order to identify the main issues in the documents, consider:

  • What does this source tell a reader about a historical event? What are its limits in explaining those events?
  • How does this source fit into a larger historical narrative? Does it challenge or conform to a dominant narrative?

I am interested in how you perceive or understand each document. In order to analyze the documents, examine the following evidence:

  • What type of source is this?
  • What can you extrapolate about who created the source, when, and where?
  • Who did the author consider the audience to be?
  • Why was the document created?
  • What views and perspectives does the document present? Are other views silenced or challenged?

Each essay should be about 3 pages long, typed, double-spaced, follow good essay form (have an intro, thesis, conclusion, etc.), and include citations, a bibliography, and page numbers. Due dates: Oct 6 and Dec 3.

Final Exam. The comprehensive final exam will draw on the class readings, films, and discussions.

Class Schedule

Week 1 (Aug 20)         Intro & Geography
            Read: Meade, ch. 1
            Primary source: Martí, José. "Our America." In José Martí Reader: Writings on the Americas, edited by Deborah Shnookal and Mirta Muñiz, 111-20. Melbourne, Australia: Ocean Press, 1999.
Week 2 (Aug 25/27)    Colonial background
            Read: Meade, ch. 2
            Primary source: Bastidas, Puyucahua, Micaela. "Micaela Bastidas Puyucahua." In Women in Latin American History, Their Lives and Views, ed. June Edith Hahner, 30-31. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center Publications, University of California, 1976.

Week 3 (Sept 1/3)       Slavery
            Read: Meade, ch. 3
            Primary source: Louverture, Toussaint. "Constitution of the French Colony of Saint-Domingue." In Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A brief history with documents, edited by Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus. Bedford Series in History and Culture, 167-70. Boston, MA ; New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martins, 2006.

Week 4 (Sept 8/10)     Caudillos
            Read: Meade, ch. 4
            Primary source: López de Santa Anna, Antonio. "The Caudillo as Protagonist." In Problems in Modern Latin American History: A Reader, edited by John Charles Chasteen and Joseph S. Tulchin, 64-65. Wilmington, Del: SR Books, 1994.

Week 5 (Sept 15/17)   Neocolonialism
            Read: Meade, ch. 5
            Primary source: Calvo, Carlos. “The Calvo Clause.” In Latin America and the United States: A Documentary History, ed. Robert H. Holden and Eric Zolov, 68-69. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Sept 17: First newspaper analysis due

Week 6 (Sept 22/24)   Caste Wars
            Read: Meade, ch. 6
            Primary source: Cunha, Euclides da. Rebellion in the Backlands. Chicago, Ill.: The University of Chicago Press, 1944, 85-86.

Week 7 (Sept 29/Oct 1)          Mexican Revolution
            Read: Meade, ch. 7
            Primary source: Zapata, Emiliano. "Plan of Ayala." In The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics, ed. G. M. Joseph and Timothy J. Henderson, 339-43. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002.

Week 8 (Oct 6/8)         Socialism
            Read: Meade, ch. 8
            Primary source: Mariátegui, José Carlos. "The New Peru." The Nation 128, no. 3315 (January 16, 1929): 78-79.
Oct 6: First primary source analysis due

Week 9 (Oct 13)          Populism
            Read: Meade, ch. 9
            Primary source: Perón, Eva. "My Mission in Life." In Documenting Latin America: Gender, Race, and Empire, ed. Erin O'Connor and Leo Garofalo, ed., vol. 2, 178-82. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education, 2011.

Week 10 (Oct 20/22)   Dictators
            Read: Meade, ch. 10
            Primary source: Barrios de Chungara, Domitila. Let Me Speak! Testimony of Domitila, a woman of the Bolivian mines. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1978, 194-204.

Week 11 (Oct 27/29)   Cuban Revolution
            Read: Meade, ch. 11
            Primary source: Guevara, Che. "Guerrilla Warfare: A Method." In The Awakening of Latin America: A classic anthology of Che Guevara's writings on Latin America, edited by María del Carmen Ariet, 412-14. Melbourne, Vic: Ocean Press, 2013.
Oct 27: Second newspaper analysis due

Week 12 (Nov 3/5)      Chilean Path to Socialism
            Read: Meade, ch. 12
            Primary source: Allende Gossens, Salvador. "Last Words Transmitted by Radio Magallanes, September 11, 1973." In Salvador Allende Reader: Chile's Voice of Democracy, edited by Salvador Allende Gossens, James D. Cockcroft and Jane Canning, 239-41. Melbourne, Vic., Australia, New York: Ocean Press, 2000.

Week 13 (Nov 10/12)  Liberation Theology
            Read: Meade, ch. 13
            Primary source: FSLN. "The Historic Program of the FSLN." In Sandinistas Speak, edited by Bruce Marcus, 13-22. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1982.
Nov 10: Third newspaper analysis due

Week 14 (Nov 17/19)  Neoliberalism
            Read: Meade, ch. 14
            Primary source: EZLN. "First Declaration From The Lacandon Jungle." In The Zapatista Reader, edited by Tom Hayden, 217-20. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002.

Week 15 (Dec 1/3)      Pink Tide Governments
            Primary source: Chávez, Hugo. "Capitalism is Savagery." Z Magazine 18, no. 4 (April 2005): 53-54.
Dec 3: Second primary source analysis due

Final Exam: Tuesday, Dec 8, 11:30-1:20

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