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download pdfLatin America Revolutions (HIST 391)
History Research Course

“In this part of the world the possibility is almost totally gone
for there to be a peaceful transition to socialism.”
- Ernesto “Che” Guevara (1963)

Fall 2016, Truman State University
MG1096, TR 12:00-1:20
Office: MC 227 

Marc Becker
Office Hours: TR 10:30-11:30
Phone: x6036

This course fulfills the research requirement in the history major through a critical comparative analysis of twentieth-century revolutionary movements in Latin America. It culminates with each student writing an article-length research paper based primarily on primary sources and subject to rigorous scholarly and professional standards.

In the first part of the course, we will study Latin America revolutionary movements through the lens of those who participated in these activities. What socio-political conditions led to a revolutionary situation? What were the differing responses to those conditions? What did these revolutions seek to accomplish? What were the outcomes of these revolutionary changes? In addressing these issues, we will emphasize the themes of nationalism, state formation, imperialism, agrarian reform, leadership strategies, and citizenship. A goal is to acquire a more complex understanding of the nature of exploitation and oppression in Latin America and the continuing struggles for social justice.

After this initial overview, each student will engage in an in-depth study of one revolutionary movement or related topic in Latin America. While working independently, you will get support through group meetings and individual conferences with the instructor. At the end of the semester we will gather back together for presentations on our research.

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 Latin America. 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.

The common assigned readings come from a textbook that the instructor is writing on Latin American revolutions (available on Google Drive).

Assignments and grades
Course grades will be based on the following assignments. You can check your grade progress on the class Blackboard web page (grades are calculated out of a total of 1000 possible points, and not the percentage of completed assignments as displayed in Blackboard). 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. You are free to submit assignments electronically, but I will not acknowledge receipt nor provide feedback on such submissions. You may verify receipt and grade on Blackboard. Successful completion of all assignments is required to receive credit for this class.

Assignment                                                                                         Points
Response papers (10 x 20 pts ea)                                          200 pts
Secondary source analysis                                                      100
Annotated bibliography                                                          100
Primary source analysis                                                          100
Draft                                                                                       100
Paper (Dec 16)                                                                        300
Participation                                                                           100

Response papers: Prepare a one-page written response to each chapter from the Latin American Revolutions text, as well as Margaret Power’s reading. The essays must be typed, double-spaced, and include citations, and are due the day we discuss the reading.

Secondary source analysis: Analyze a scholarly book related to the topic of one of chapters from the Latin American Revolutions text. A suggested list of sources is included with each chapter. Bring the book to me so that I can approve it before you begin writing the essay. This paper should be typed, double-spaced, and about 3 pages long, and include citations a bibliography, and page numbers. Present your findings from the book to the class when we discuss that revolutionary movement.

Research paper proposal: Draft a research paper proposal, including a paragraph describing your project, the research questions you seek to address with the project, and a hypothesis of what you expect to find (the thesis statement of your research paper). Present the proposal to the class.

Annotated bibliography: Using Zotero (or Endnote), prepare an annotated bibliography for your paper and share it with the instructor. (Instructions will follow.)

Primary source analysis: 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 perspective. Attach a copy of the document to the essay. Present the source to the class.

Outline: Write a first introduction and an outline to your paper. In the tentative introduction, state the paper’s topic, the problem that it addresses, its relation to existing work, and its argument. Outline in a manner you find efficient. Prepare a brief presentation about the progress of your research to the class.

Peer Review: Finish and turn in a final draft of your paper along with one for each of two peers. This full draft should, with the exception of an occasional flaw in structure and slip in formulation, read and look like a finished paper. Peer review two papers (one for content and the other for grammar).

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.

Final paper: The final paper should be at least 25 pages in length. The essay must include footnotes or endnotes and bibliography and the style must conform to that found in Turabian/Rampolla/Chicago Manual of Style. Due in class at the time of the final exam on Friday, Dec 16, 9:30a.m..

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

Preliminary class schedule (specific dates TBD)

Tues, August 23: Introduction
Thurs, August 25: Meet in Pickler 103
Thurs, Sept 15: Special guest speaker Margaret Power on Chile (if possible, also plan to attend her presentation on Puerto Rico independence movements at 7pm in MG2001)
            Read: Margaret Power, Right-Wing Women in Chile: Feminine power and the struggle against Allende, 1964-1973 (University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002), 193-216 (on Blackboard).

Introductory readings from Latin American Revolutions (dates to be set):

Ch. 1: Theories of Revolution
Ch. 2: Mexican Revolution (1910–1920)
Ch. 3: Guatemalan Spring (1944–1954)
Ch. 4: Bolivia’s National Revolution (1952–1964)
Ch. 5: Cuban Revolution (1959–)
Ch. 6: Chilean Road to Socialism (1970–1973)
Ch. 7: Nicaraguan Sandinistas (1979–1990)
Ch. 8: Guerrilla Warfare
Ch. 9: Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution (1999–)

Meetings for research paper (dates to be set):

Annotated bibliography
Primary source analysis
Peer Review
Oral presentations

Final exam: Friday, Dec 16, 9:30-11:20

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