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download pdfLatin America During the National Period (HIST 140)

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

Spring 2016, Truman State University
MC209, MW 3:30-4:50
Office: MC 227 

Marc Becker
Office Hours: typically MWF 11:30-12:20 & 1:30-2:20
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
15 primary source analyses (20 pts ea.)                                 300
10 newspaper article analyses (20 pts ea.)                             200
Newspaper essay (March 30)                                                            200
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.

Primary source analyses. Analyze the primary sources posted to the Blackboard webpage. Think about what the documents reveal, what they conceal, and how the experiences and perspectives of each author 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?

For each source, write a response to these questions:

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

Each response is due at the beginning of class each Wednesday when we will discuss the source.

Newspaper analyses. Read the daily newspapers distributed on campus (New York Times, St. Louis Post Dispatch, or USA Today). Each week for the first 10 weeks of the semester select an article on a Latin America topic. Write a short essay that summarizes and critiques that article’s coverage of a Latin American topic. Attach a clipping of the article, and include a full citation of the newspaper article in your essay. Each analysis is due on Monday for an article from the previous week. This is an example of a newspaper citation that should accompany each essay:

Somaiya, Ravi. “How a Magazine Handled a Controversial Exclusive.” New York Times, January 11, 2016, A1.

Newspaper essay. Select one of the newspaper articles from the newspaper analysis assignment and compare it to historical coverage of the topic, including how the topic has been treated previously in the press (a convenient source is, in the primary sources we have read in the class, and in the textbook. The essay should be about three pages long and must be typed, double-spaced, and include citations, a bibliography, and page numbers. Due March 30.

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

Class Schedule

Week 1 (Jan 11/13)     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 (Jan 20)          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 (Jan 25/27)     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 (Feb 1/3)         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 (Feb 8/10)       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.

Week 6 (Feb 15/17)     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 (Feb 22/24)     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 (Feb 29/March 2)       Socialism
            Read: Meade, ch. 8
            Primary source: Mariátegui, José Carlos. "The New Peru." The Nation 128, no. 3315 (January 16, 1929): 78-79.

Week 9 (March 14/16)            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 (March 21)   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 (March 30)   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.
March 30: Newspaper essay due

Week 12 (April 4/6)    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 (April 11/13)            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.

Week 14 (April 18/20)            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 (April 25/27)            Pink Tide Governments
            Primary source: Chávez, Hugo. "Capitalism is Savagery." Z Magazine 18, no. 4 (April 2005): 53-54.

Final Exam: Monday, May 2, 3:30-5:20

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