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Latin America During the National Period (HIST 140)

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

Fall 2018, Truman State University
BH 212, MWF 2:30-3:20
Office: MC 227 

Marc Becker
Office Hours: typically MWF 12:45-1:15, but better to make an appointment
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.

See the syllabus addendum on Blackboard for additional class policies.


Virginia Garrard, Peter V. N. Henderson, and Bryan McCann, Latin America in the modern world (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017) w/ sourcebook 2V PK – ISBN#: 9780190910747; website:

Assignments and grades

Assignment                                                                                         Points
Daily identification terms (3 pts ea.)                                      90 pts
15 Weekly quizzes (10 pts ea.)                                               150
14 Primary source analyses (40 pts ea.)                                 560
Final exam                                                                              200

Daily identification terms. We will begin each class period with identifying and giving the significance of one of the key terms listed at the end of each chapter in the textbook. These will be graded on a scale of 1 to 3 points. One point indicates an incorrect response, two summarizes material from the text, and three demonstrates analytical and critical thinking that extends beyond the textbook.

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

Primary source analyses. Write a one-page essay analyzing one of the primary sources (your choice) in the source book. The essays must be typed and are due each Friday.

Final Exam. The final exam is comprehensive.

Class Schedule

Week 1 (Aug 20-24)   Intro & Geography
            Read: Prologue

Week 2 (Aug 27-31)   Independence
            Read: ch. 1

Week 3 (Sept 5-7)       Regionalism
            Read: ch. 2

Week 4 (Sept 10-14)   Liberalism
            Read: ch. 3

Week 5 (Sept 17-21)   Exclusion
            Read: ch. 4

Week 6 (Sept 24-28)   Modernization
            Read: ch. 5

Week 7 (Oct 1-5)        Imperialism
            Read: ch. 6

Week 8 (Oct 8-12)      Progress
            Read: ch. 7

Week 9 (Oct 15-17)    Populism
            Read: ch. 8

Week 10 (Oct 22-26)  Modernity
            Read: ch. 9

Week 11 (Oct 29-Nov 2)        Revolutions
            Read: ch. 10

Week 12 (Nov 5-9)     Dictatorships
            Read: ch. 11

Week 13 (Nov 12-16) Cold War
            Read: ch. 12

Week 14 (Nov 26-30) Neoliberalism
            Read: ch. 13

Week 15 (Dec 3-7)      Identities
            Read: ch. 14

Final Exam: Thurs, Dec 13, 1:30-3:20

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