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download pdfMexican History (HIST 392)

“Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States.”
–Common Mexican saying

Fall 2012, Truman State University
MC208, TR 10:30-11:50
Office: KB 225A

Marc Becker
Office Hours: TR 1:30-2:30
Phone: x6036

This course surveys the history of Mexico from the earliest human inhabitation to the present. It will present different interpretations of the major themes and developments in Mexican history. A goal is to understand Mexico from the perspective of the Mexicans rather than from the point of view of the United States. It is important to understand, however, that Mexico is not a singular homogenous entity; there are “many Mexicos.” In particular, this course will emphasize the creation of Mexican identities, the role which Indigenous peoples and women have played in that creation, and how that role has changed over time.

This course meets the Intercultural Perspectives requirement of the Liberal Studies Program. As such, it will provide you with a greater knowledge and appreciation of cultural diversity through the study of encounters of Indigenous, European, and African worlds in Mexico. Hopefully this course will make you more aware of how culture has been used for political and social ends, including confronting racial discrimination, economic exploitation, and social injustice.

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.

The 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. I may add additional short readings to this schedule.

Cockcroft, James D. Mexico's Revolution Then and Now. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2010. ISBN: 9781583672242

Joseph, G. M. and Timothy J. Henderson. The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics. The Latin America readers. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002. ISBN: 0822330423

Russell, Philip L. The History of Mexico: From pre-conquest to present. New York: Routledge, 2010. ISBN: 9780415872379

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. 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
Cockcroft essay (Sept 4)                                                        100
Weekly response papers (10 x 20 pts ea)                              200 pts
Hispanic Heritage Month                                                       50
Research proposal (Sept 11)                                                  50
Secondary source analysis (Sept 25)                                     100
Primary source analysis (Oct 2)                                            100
Research paper (Dec 6)                                                          200
Final exam (Dec 10)                                                                100
Participation                                                                           100

Cockcroft essay: Analyze the themes in Cockcroft. This paper should be typed, double-spaced, and about 3 pages long, and include citations a bibliography, and page numbers (100 pts).

Weekly response papers: Beginning with week 3, prepare a one-page written response to each week’s readings. Briefly state the authors’ main arguments and the evidence that they use. Examine the use of sources, methodology, and theory. Provide your own assessment or critique of the readings (20 pts ea.).

Hispanic Heritage Month: Attend one of the events from Hispanic Heritage Month, write up a brief evaluation of the event, and report back on it to class (50 pts).

Research paper: Each student is required to write a research paper on a topic related to Andean history. The paper must be 10 to 15 pages long, be typed, double spaced, and include page numbers, citations and a bibliography. The format should follow Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations. You must use a minimum of six scholarly sources (books and journal articles) and one primary source. This project will be developed in a series of stages. Keep each of these assignments in a portfolio or folder, and hand in the entire portfolio with each subsequent assignment. Meeting all of these deadlines is a requirement to receive credit for the research paper.

Sept 11: Research paper proposal, including a paragraph describing your project, the research questions you seek to address with the project, a hypothesis of what you expect to find (the thesis statement of your research paper), and a preliminary bibliography of sources that you plan to use (50 pts).

Sept 25: Analyze one of the major secondary sources you will use in the writing of your research paper. This paper should be typed, double-spaced, and about 3 pages long, and include citations a bibliography, and page numbers (100 pts).

Oct 2: Select a primary sources related to your research topic from the microfilm collection ( Try to find something that relates as closely as possible to your research topic. Have me approve the source, and then write a paper (typed, double-spaced, about 3 pages, citations, bibliography, page numbers) analyzing the document and its historical significance for your research topic. Attach a copy of the document to the essay (100 pts).

Beginning Oct 30: Oral presentations. In your presentation, tell us what questions you addressed in your research project, what you expected to find (your thesis), a summary of your actual findings, and your conclusions. Naturally those who present earlier will have more tentative conclusions than those who present at the end of the semester. Please feel free to include visuals and other materials in your presentation.

Nov 13: Peer review of research papers. Bring a draft of your research paper to exchange with another student. Read and comment on the other student’s paper and return by the next class period.

Dec 6: Final research papers due. When handing in your final draft, please be sure to include copies of all of the previous assignments including the peer-reviewed draft.

Participation: The participation grade is not based on attendance (although this is expected and required), but on an active engagement with classroom discussions.

Final exam: The final exam is cumulative (100 pts).

Class Schedule
Week 1 (Aug 23)         Introduction and geography

Week 2 (Aug 28-30)   The search for lo mexicano
            Read: Cockcroft, Mexico's Revolution Then and Now
                        Joseph/Henderson, Mexico Reader, Part I (“The Search for Lo Mexicano”)

Week 3 (Sept 4-6)       Ancient civilizations
            Read: Russell, History of Mexico, Ch. 1 “Mesoamerica”
                        Joseph/Henderson, Mexico Reader, Part II (“Ancient Civilizations”)
            Assignment: Cockcroft essay (due Tues, Sept 4)
Thursday, Sept 6: Meet in the library classroom, Pickler 103.

Week 4 (Sept 11-13)   Conquest
            Read: Russell, History of Mexico, Ch. 2 (“Conquest of Mexico”)
                        Joseph/Henderson, Mexico Reader, Part III (“Conquest and Colony”)
            Assignment: Research paper proposal (due Tues, Sept 11)

Week 5 (Sept 18-20)   Colony
            Read: Russell, History of Mexico, Chs. 3-5

Week 6 (Sept 25-27)   Independence
            Read: Russell, History of Mexico, Part Two (“Independence”)
            Assignment: Secondary source analysis (due Tues, Sept 25)

Weeks 7-9 (Oct 2-18) Nineteenth century
            Read: Russell, History of Mexico, Part Three & Four (“Nineteenth-Century Mexico”)
                        Joseph/Henderson, Mexico Reader, IV (“Trials of the Young Republic”)
            Assignment: Primary source analysis (due Tues, Oct 2)

Weeks 10-11 (Oct 23 – Nov 1)          Mexican Revolution
            Read: Russell, History of Mexico, Part Five & Six (“Mexican Revolution”)
                        Joseph/Henderson, Mexico Reader, V (“Revolution”)
            Assignment: Begin oral presentations (Oct 30)

Week 12 (Nov 6-8)     Rise of the Perfect Dictatorship
            Read: Russell, History of Mexico, Part Seven (“Rise of the Perfect Dictatorship”)
                        Joseph/Henderson, Mexico Reader, VI (“The Perils of Modernity”)

Week 13 (Nov 13-15) Fall of the Perfect Dictatorship
            Read: Russell, History of Mexico, Part Eight (“Fall of the Perfect Dictatorship”)
                        Joseph/Henderson, Mexico Reader, VII (“From the Ruins”)
            Assignment: Peer review (due Tues, Nov 13)

Week 14 (Nov 27-29) The Border and Beyond
            Read: Joseph/Henderson, Mexico Reader, VIII (“The Border and Beyond”)

Week 15 (Dec 4-6)      New Millennium
            Read: Russell, History of Mexico, Part Nine (“New Millennium”)
            Assignment: Research paper (due Thurs, Dec 6)

Final Exam:   Monday, December 10, 9:30-11:20 p.m.

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