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download pdfWomen in Latin American History (HIST 369)

Fall 2020, Truman State University
MC 209, MWF 10:30-11:20
Office: MC 227

Marc Becker

This course assesses the continuities and changes in the lives of Latin American women from the peopling of the continent to the present. We will examine concepts that have structured Latin American beliefs about gender including of honor and shame, and machismo and marianismo, and examine issues of gender relations, sexuality, and political involvement. How do beliefs about gender and gender roles relate to social structures including race, class and political structures, and how have these beliefs changed over time? By the end of the course students should have a clearer understanding of how gender influences historical changes and continuity in Latin America.
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 women in Latin America. Hopefully this course will make you more aware of how culture has been used for political and social ends, including confronting sexism, racial discrimination, economic exploitation, and social injustice.
See the syllabus addendum on Blackboard for additional class policies.


Townsend, Camilla. Malintzin's Choices: An Indian woman in the conquest of Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006. ISBN: 978-0-8263-3405-3
Erauso, Catalina de. Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque transvestite in the New World. Boston: Beacon Press, 1996. ISBN: 978-080707073-4
Furtado, Júnia Ferreira. Chica da Silva: A Brazilian slave of the eighteenth century. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780521711555
Harmer, Tanya. Beatriz Allende: A revolutionary life in cold war Latin America. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2020. ISBN: 978-1-4696-5429-4
Lakhani, Nina. Who Killed Berta Cáceres?: Dams, death squads, and an indigenous defender's battle for the planet. London: Verso Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781788733069

Assignments and grades

Assignment                                                                                         Points
42 reading responses (1 pt each)                                             42 pts
Class discussion leader (2 times, 3 pts each)                          6
5 response papers (5 pts each)                                                25
Class presentation                                                                   7
Research paper                                                                        20

You can check your grade progress on Blackboard. Grades are calculated out of a total of 100 points. 90-100 points is an A, 80-89 is a B, 70-79 is a C, and 60-69 is a D. Fewer than 600 points is an F. YOU MUST COMPLETE ALL ASSIGNMENTS TO RECEIVE CREDIT FOR THIS CLASS.

Reading responses: Post a comment, question, response, or reaction for each daily reading to the discussion board on Blackboard. 1pt each, 42pts total.

Class discussion leader: For each class period, one student will organize the reading response posts to the discussion board on Blackboard into a logical flow and help lead the discussion. Sign up for a total of two times, and not more than once for the same book. 2 times, 3 pts each, 6 pts total.

Response papers: Prepare a three-page typed response to each assigned book. 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. 5pts each.

Class presentation: Present your research paper topic and findings to the class (no more than ten minutes). 7 pts.

Research paper: Write a research paper on a topic related to women in Latin American history. The paper should be about 15 pages long, typed, double-spaced, and include page numbers, citations and a bibliography. 20 pts.

Class Schedule

Mon, Aug 17: Introduction
Wed, Aug 19: Townsend, Intro & ch. 1
Fri, Aug 31: Townsend, ch. 2

Mon, Aug 24: Townsend, ch. 3
Wed, Aug 26: Townsend, ch. 4
Fri, Aug 28: Townsend, ch. 5

Mon, Aug 31: Townsend, ch. 6
Wed, Sept 2: Townsend, ch. 7
Fri, Sept 4: Townsend, ch. 8

Mon, Sept 7: Townsend, ch. 9
Wed, Sept 9: Erauso
Fri, Sept 11: Furtado, Intro & ch. 1

Mon, Sept 14: Furtado, ch. 2
Wed, Sept 16: Furtado, ch. 3
Fri, Sept 18: Furtado, ch. 4

Mon, Sept 21: Furtado, ch. 5
Wed, Sept 23: Furtado, ch. 6
Fri, Sept 25: Furtado, ch. 7

Mon, Sept 28: Furtado, ch. 8
Wed, Sept 30: Furtado, ch. 9
Fri, Oct 2: Furtado, ch. 10

Mon, Oct 5: Furtado, ch. 11
Wed, Oct 7: Harmer, Intro
Fri, Oct 9: Harmer, ch. 1

Mon, Oct 12: Harmer, ch. 2
Wed, Oct 14: Harmer, ch. 3
Fri, Oct 16: Harmer, ch. 4

Mon, Oct 19: Harmer, ch. 5
Wed, Oct 21: Harmer, ch. 6
Fri, Oct 23: Harmer, ch. 7

Mon, Oct 26: Harmer, ch. 8
Wed, Oct 28: Harmer, ch. 9
Fri, Oct 30: Harmer, ch. 10 & epilogue

Mon, Nov 2: Lakhani, Prologue & ch. 1
Wed, Nov 4: Lakhani, ch. 2
Fri, Nov 6: Lakhani, ch. 3

Mon, Nov 9: Lakhani, ch. 4
Wed, Nov 11: Lakhani, ch. 5
Fri, Nov 13: Lakhani, ch. 6

Mon, Nov 16: Lakhani, ch. 7
Wed, Nov 18: Lakhani, ch. 8
Fri, Nov 20: Lakhani, ch. 9

Fri, Nov 23: Lakhani, ch. 10 & Afterword

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