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download pdfLatin America During the National Period (HIST 140)

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

Fall 2017, Truman State University
BH 114, MWF 10:30-11:20
Office: MC 227 

Marc Becker
Office Hours: typically MWF 11:30-1:15
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:

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

Following are the required books for this class. 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, 2d ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. ISBN: 9781118772485. The author has a study guide for this textbook at
O'Connor, Erin. Mothers Making Latin America: gender, households, and politics since 1825. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2014. ISBN: 9781118271445

Assignments and grades

Assignment                                                                                         Points
Daily identification terms (5 pts ea.)                                      150 pts
Weekly quizzes (10 pts ea.)                                                   150
10 response papers (50 pts ea.)                                             500
2 newspaper essays (50 pts ea.)                                            100
Final exam                                                                               100

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 webpage 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.

Weekly quizzes. A weekly quiz is on the Blackboard webpage for each chapter from the Meade textbook. Complete the quiz by class time on Monday.

Response papers. Write a one-page essay for each chapter in O’Connor that compares her treatment of mothers in Latin America to the Meade textbook. The essays must be typed, double-spaced, and include citations. The essays are due on Friday for each week with a reading from O’Connor.

Newspaper essays. Select an article on a Latin America topic from one of the daily newspapers distributed on campus (New York Times, St. Louis Post Dispatch, or USA Todaynot something from the library or an online source). Write a one-page, typed, double-spaced essay that compares the contemporary discussion of the event to an historical analysis from the assigned Meade and O’Connor readings. Attach a clipping of the article, and include a full citation of the newspaper article in your essay. Due Sept 25 & Oct 9.

Final Exam. The final exam is comprehensive.

Class Schedule

Week 1 (Aug 21-25)    Intro & Geography
            Read: Meade, ch. 1; O’Connor, ch. 1

Week 2 (Aug 28-Sept 1)         Colonial background
            Read: Meade, ch. 2; O’Connor, ch. 2

Week 3 (Sept 6-8)       Slavery
            Read: Meade, ch. 3

Week 4 (Sept 11-15)   Caudillos
            Read: Meade, ch. 4; O’Connor, ch. 3

Week 5 (Sept 18-22)   Neocolonialism
            Read: Meade, ch. 5; O’Connor, ch. 4

Week 6 (Sept 25-29)   Caste Wars
            Read: Meade, ch. 6; O’Connor, ch. 5

Week 7 (Oct 2-6)        Mexican Revolution
            Read: Meade, ch. 7

Week 8 (Oct 9-13)      Socialism
            Read: Meade, ch. 8; O’Connor, ch. 6

Week 9 (Oct 16-18)    Populism
            Read: Meade, ch. 9

Week 10 (Oct 23-27)  Dictators
            Read: Meade, ch. 10

Week 11 (Oct 30-Nov 3)        Cuban Revolution
            Read: Meade, ch. 11; O’Connor, ch. 7

Week 12 (Nov 6-9)     Chilean Path to Socialism
            Read: Meade, ch. 12

Week 13 (Nov 13-16) Liberation Theology
            Read: Meade, ch. 13; O’Connor, ch. 8

Week 14 (Nov 27-Dec 1)        Pink Tide Governments
            Read: Meade, ch. 14; O’Connor, ch. 9

Week 15 (Dec 4-8)      Immigration
            Read: Meade, ch. 15; O’Connor, ch. 10

Final Exam: Thurs, Dec 14, 9:30-11:20

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