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download pdfMexican History (HIST 3825)

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

Fall 2021, Truman State University
BH 219, TR 10:30-11:50
Office: MC 227

Marc Becker


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 that Indigenous peoples and women have played in that creation, and how that role has changed over time.

See the syllabus addendum on Blackboard for additional class policies.


Sherman, John W. Mexico: A concise illustrated history. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020. ISBN: 9781538137840
Townsend, Camilla. Fifth Sun: A new history of the Aztecs. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780197577660
Lipsett-Rivera, Sonya. The Origins of Macho: Men and masculinity in colonial Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780826360403
Mitchell, Stephanie, and Patience A. Schell, ed. The Women's Revolution in Mexico, 1910-1953. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Pub, 2007. ISBN: 0742537315
Klein, Hilary. Compañeras: Zapatista women's stories. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2015. ISBN: 9781609805876

Assignments and grades

Assignment                                                                                         Points
Mexican History Quiz                                                            1
28 reading responses (1 pt each)                                            28
4 response papers (10 pts each)                                              40
Research paper proposal (Oct 12)                                          5
Research paper (Dec 13)                                                        26

You can check your grade progress on the class Blackboard web page. Grades are calculated out of a total of 100 possible points, and not the percentage of completed assignments as displayed in Blackboard. At least 90 points are necessary for an A, 80 for a B, 70 for a C, and 60 for a D. Fewer than 60 points is an F. Successful completion of all assignments is required to receive credit for this class.

Reading responses: Post a comment, question, response, or reaction for each daily reading before class to the discussion board on Blackboard. 1pt each, 28 pts total.

Response papers: Prepare a three-page typed response to each assigned book (except for the Sherman textbook). Identify the author’s main arguments, and examine the use of sources, methodology, and theory. Provide your own assessment or critique of the readings. In writing your essays:

  • Identify one main point in the reading that strikes you as most interesting or important
  • Don’t just summarize the contents—exploring significance is more important
  • Be sure to demonstrate that you have completed the entire reading
  • Acknowledge authorship, especially since I want you to engage the authors’ main arguments and the evidence that they use, their use of sources, methodology, and theory
  • Be sure to provide your own assessment or critique of the readings.

The essays must be typed, double-spaced, and include citations, a bibliography, and page numbers. 10 pts each.

Research paper proposal: Submit 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. The library has a guide for locating sources for this assignment at Due Oct 12. 5 pts.

Research paper: Write a research paper on a topic related to Mexican history. The paper must use a minimum of six scholarly sources (including at least one book and one journal article) and one primary source, and should be about 15 pages long, typed, double-spaced, and include citations, a bibliography, and page numbers. The format should follow Mary Lynn Rampolla, A pocket guide to writing in history. Due Dec 13. 200pts.

Class Schedule

Week 1: Intro & Geography
            Tues, Aug 24: Mexican History Quiz
            Thurs, Aug 26: Sherman, ch. 1; Townsend, Intro & ch. 1

Week 2: Mexica
            Tues, Aug 31: Sherman, ch. 2; Townsend, ch. 2
            Thurs, Sept 2: Sherman, ch. 3; Townsend, ch. 3

Week 3: Conquests
            Tues, Sept 7: Sherman, ch. 4; Townsend, ch. 4
            Thurs, Sept 9: Townsend, chs. 5-6

Week 4: New Spain
            Tues, Sept 14: Sherman, ch. 5; Townsend, ch. 7
            Thurs, Sept 16: Sherman, ch. 6; Townsend, ch. 8

Week 5: Gender
            Tues, Sept 21: Sherman, ch. 7; Lipsett-Rivera, chs. 1-2
            Thurs, Sept 23: Lipsett-Rivera, chs. 3-5

Week 6: Independence
            Tues, Sept 28: Lipsett-Rivera, chs. 6-7
            Thurs, Sept 30: Sherman, chs. 8-9

Week 7: Caudillos
            Tues, Oct 5: Sherman, ch. 10
            Thurs, Oct 7: Sherman, ch. 11

Week 8: Porfiriato
            Tues, Oct 12: Sherman, chs. 12-13
Research paper proposal due

Week 9: Mexican Revolution
            Tues, Oct 19: Sherman, ch. 14; Mitchell and Schell, intro
            Thurs, Oct 21: Sherman, ch. 15; Mitchell and Schell, ch. 1

Week 10: Women and Revolution
            Tues, Oct 26: Mitchell and Schell, chs. 2-3
            Thurs, Oct 28: Mitchell and Schell, chs. 4-5

Week 11: Families
            Tues, Nov 2: Mitchell and Schell, chs. 6-8
            Thurs, Nov 4: Mitchell and Schell, ch. 9 & conc

Week 12: Rise of the Perfect Dictatorship
            Tues, Nov 9: Sherman, chs. 16-17
            Thurs, Nov 11: Sherman, chs. 18-19

Week 13: Zapatistas
            Tues, Nov 16: Sherman, ch. 20; Klein, intro
            Thurs, Nov 18: Klein, chs. 1-2

Week 14: Autonomy
            Tues, Nov 30: Klein, chs. 3-4
            Thurs, Dec 2: Klein, chs. 5-6

Week 15: Beyond Chiapas
            Tues, Dec 7: Klein, chs. 7-8
            Thurs, Dec 9: Klein, ch. 9 & epilogue

Final Exam:   Mon, December 13, 9:30-11:20 a.m. Research paper due

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