Syllabus Fall 2019: Modern Latin America

HIST 242

Modern Latin America

 

NOT FINAL SYLLABUS BUT 99% COMPLETE

 

Professor Patrick Iber

 

 

This course will give a broad overview of Latin American history in the modern period, since independence but the period from 1898 to the present. Particular emphasis will be placed on the socioeconomic, cultural, and political structures and processes that shaped and continue to influence life in Latin America. Key issues such as colonialism, nationalism, democracy, and revolution will be examined critically in light of broad comparative themes in Latin American and world history. Among the topics to be explored in detail will be the Mexican and Cuban revolutions, populism and dictatorship, socialism and neoliberalism, and drugs and migration.

 

[course credit info]

 

COURSE TEXTS

Virginia Garrard, Peter Henderson and Bryan McCann, Latin America in the Modern World, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), ISBN 0199340226, $39.99. (Ebook available at $19.99.)

 

Valeria Luiselli, Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions, (Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2017), ISBN 1566894956, $12.95

 

The primary goals of this course are that students will be able to

  • Describe the contours of Latin American history in the period since independence,
  • Apply and use key concepts relevant to Latin American history, such as imperialism, inequality, populism, socialism, neoliberalism,
  • Read for a dedicated purpose across different genres and forms of writing,
  • Apply historical reasoning to understand the origins of present-day issues,
  • Communicate effectively through presentations, discussion, and written work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRADING INFORMATION

 

The course is going to use an experimental grading system that is designed to give you a lot of control over the grade you want to earn. It is my belief that college years should be full of intellectual experimentation and I fear that grades now interfere, rather than support, that process. Rather than percentages, you will earn points for your work meeting established standards. The points are earned as follows:

 

Midterms (there are two), at approximately 1/3 and 2/3rds points of the semester. The first midterm will include a map quiz. There is no in-class final. Each is worth:

>90%: 3 points

>80%: 2 points

>70%: 1 point

 

Weekly reading journal: 2 points, one for each half of the semester. Each week, you will pick a reading and respond with at least 250 words. The journal entry can be relatively informal, but should be serious: raising questions, describing what you are learning, and exploring what the readings are making you think about.

 

Mid-point essay: I will give you a take-home essay to write, based on class readings. 4-5 pages. 2 points.

 

Section attendance:

>90%: 3 points

>70%: 2 points

 

Top Hat (based on class attendance and reading completion):

>90%: 3 points

>80%: 2 points

>70%: 1 point

 

Final project. At the end of the course, you will pick an issue in contemporary Latin America and do an independent research project to learn more about it and the historical conditions that have brought it about. The final project can be presented either as a paper or a web page. Full research option: 4 points. 12 pages or equivalent, involving book sources as well as media and documents that you track down. For 2 points, you can do a shorter project, of approximately 6 pages, without the book research.

 

There are 25 available points. Nothing is required. You decide what you want to do.

 

Letter grades will be assigned as follows:

24-25   A

22-23   AB

20-21   B

18-19   BC

16-17   C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COURSE PLAN

 

 

Week 1: Introduction

 

Wednesday, September 4: Introduction to the course

 

Friday, September 6: The Colonial Heritage

 

[preface to Latin America in the Modern World]

 

 

Week 2: The nineteenth century

 

Monday, September 9: Independence

 

Latin America in the Modern World, Chapter 1, “Latin America in the Age of Atlantic Revolution, 1789-1820s,” 2-53.

 

Wednesday, September 11: Economics and Society of the Nineteenth Century

 

Latin America in the Modern World, Chapter 2, “Latin America: Regionalism and Localism,” 54-97.

 

Friday, September 13: Nineteenth-Century Politics

 

Latin America in the Modern World, Chapter 3, “First Attempts at State Formation: The Liberal-Conservative Debate, 1830-1875,” 98-141.

 

 

 

 

Week 3: Imperialism, Neocolonialism, and Revolution I

 

Monday, September 16: Mexican Revolution I: Porfiriato

 

Latin America in the Modern World, Chapter 5, “Progress and Modernization: The Elite’s Strategy, 1870-1929,” 188-237.

 

Wednesday, September 18: The Spanish-American War

 

Latin America in the Modern World, Chapter 6, “Worlds Connecting: Latin America in an Imperial Age,” 238-284.

 

Friday, September 20: The Mexican Revolution

 

Latin America in the Modern World, Chapter 7, “Progress and its Discontents, 1880-1920,” 286-333.

 

 

Week 4: Imperialism, Neocolonialism, and Revolution II

 

Monday, September 23: Mexican Revolution II

 

Watch: “The Storm that Swept Mexico,” hour 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVWcgOcvgV0&t=5609s

 

[Mexico reader selections]

 

Wednesday, September 25: Mexican Revolution III

 

Watch: “The Storm that Swept Mexico,” hour 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVWcgOcvgV0&t=5609s

 

[Mexico reader selections]

 

Friday, September 27: The Banana Republics

 

Watch: The Gringo in Mañanaland

 

Catherine LeGrand, “Living in Macondo: Economy and Culture in a United Fruit Banana Enclave in Colombia,” from Close Encounters of Empire, pp. 333-368.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 5: Great Depression and World War II

 

Monday, September 30: The Great Depression in Latin America

 

Latin America in the Modern World, part of Chapter 8, “The Great Depression and Authoritarian Populists, 1930-1950,” 338-362.

 

Angela Vergara, “Chilean Workers and the Great Depression, 1930-1938,” pp. 51-80 in Paulo Drinot and Alan Knight (eds.), The Great Depression in Latin America.

 

Wednesday, October 2: The End of the Revolution in Mexico?

 

Latin America in the Modern World, Chapter 9, “The Challenges of Modernity, 1930-1950,” 384-430.

 

Friday, October 4: Midterm #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 6: Populism and the Latin American Spring

 

Monday, October 7: World War II

 

Latin America in the Modern World, part of Chapter 8, “The Great Depression and Authoritarian Populists, 1930-1950,” 378-383.

 

Leslie Bethell, “Brazil,” pp. 33-65 in Bethell and Roxborough (eds.) Latin American between the Second World War and the Cold War(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).

 

Wednesday, October 9: Transitions to the Cold War

 

Latin America in the Modern World, part of Chapter 10, “Revolution and Reform in Latin America,”, 432-447.

 

Kyle Longley, “Peaceful Costa Rica, the First Battleground: The United States and the Costa Rican Revolution of 1948,” The Americas50, no. 2 (October 1993): 149-175.

 

Friday, October 11: What is Populism?

 

Latin America in the Modern World, part of Chapter 8, part of “The Great Depression and Authoritarian Populists, 1930-1950,” 362-378.

 

Alma Guillermoprieto, “Little Eva,” in Looking for History, pp. 3-17.

 

Week 7: Revolution

 

Monday, October 14: Arbenz in Guatemala

 

Stephen Kinzer, chapter on Guatemala from Overthrow, pp. 129-147.

 

Wednesday, October 16: The Origins of the Cuban Revolution

 

Latin America in the Modern World, part of Chapter 10, part of “Revolution and Reform in Latin America,” 447-456.

 

[Cuba reading / watch TBD]

 

Friday, October 18: The Course of the Cuban Revolution

 

Lillian Guerra, “Counterrevolution and the Origins of Political Culture in the Cuban Revolution, 1959-2009” in A Century of Revolution, Greg Grandin and Gilbert Joseph (eds.), 199-235.

 

Listen: audio documentary, Elizabeth Dore, “Cuban Voices,” https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06xfy81

 

First half reading journals due, mid-point essay due.

 

 

Week 8: Socialism(s)

 

Monday, October 21: Guerrilla Struggle

 

Latin America in the Modern World, parts of Chapters 10 and 11, part of “Revolution and Reform in Latin America,” 461-500.

 

Wednesday, October 23: Che Guevara

 

Jon Lee Anderson on Che, https://www.thenation.com/article/che-guevara-lessons-from-a-revolutionary-life/

 

Paulo Drinot, on Che in Peru in Che’s Travels, pp. 88-126

 

Alma Guillermoprieto, “The Harsh Angel,” from Looking for History, 73-86

 

Friday, October 25: Allende’s Chile

 

Peter Winn, “The Furies of the Andes,” from A Century of Revolution, pp. 239-275

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 9: Dictatorship and Democracy

 

Monday, October 28: Pinochet’s Chile

 

Latin America in the Modern World, part of Chapter 11, “Counterrevolution in Latin America, 1960-1980,” 501-526.

 

Watch: “The Chicago Boys,” first half: http://www.gamba.cl/2018/05/chicago-boys-vean-aca-el-documental-que-tvn-emitio-a-la-hora-de-la-corneta/

 

Wednesday, October 30: Transitions to Democracy

 

Latin America in the Modern World, part of Chapter 13, “Neoliberalism and its Discontents, 1980-2015,” 578-596.

 

Watch: “The Chicago Boys,” second half: http://www.gamba.cl/2018/05/chicago-boys-vean-aca-el-documental-que-tvn-emitio-a-la-hora-de-la-corneta/

 

Friday, November 1: Continuities with Dictatorship

 

Watch: “Nuestros desaparecidos,” https://vimeo.com/140972462

 

 

Week 10: The Second Cold War: Central America

 

Monday, November 4: El Salvador

 

Latin America in the Modern World, part of Chapter 12, “The Late Cold War in Latin America, 1970s-1990,” 532-577.

 

Wednesday, November 6: Nicaragua

 

Roger Lancaster, Life is Hard, pp. 111-187.

 

Friday, November 8: Guatemala

 

Rigoberta Menchú, 1992 Nobel prize lecture, https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1992/tum/lecture/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 11: From Neoliberalism to the Pink Tide

 

Monday, November 11: Neoliberalism to the Pink Tide

 

Latin America in the Modern World, part of Chapter 13, “Neoliberalism and its Discontents, 1980-2015,” 597-626.

 

Primary document: Mario Vargas Llosa, “Towards a Totalitarian Peru,” 1987, https://www.crisismagazine.com/1987/documentation-toward-a-totalitarian-peru

 

Wednesday, November 13: Twenty-first century socialism

 

Latin America in the Modern World, part of Chapter 14 “New Identities, New Politics, 1980-2016,” 628-675.

 

Watch: The Hugo Chávez Show, https://www.pbs.org/video/frontline-the-hugo-chavez-show/

 

Friday, November 15: Midterm #2

 

 

 

Week 12: Drugs and Social Violence

 

Monday, November 18: Colombia

 

Guillermoprieto, Looking for History, “Our New War in Colombia,” 19-39

 

Lina Britto, “A Trafficker’s Paradise: The ‘War on Drugs’ and the New Cold War in Colombia,” Contemporánea1, no. 1 (2010), http://www.geipar.udelar.edu.uy/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/10_Dossier08.pdf

 

Wednesday, November 20: Mexico

 

Ev Meade, introduction to The Taken: True Stories of the Sinaloa Drug War, pp. 1-52

 

Friday, November 22: The United States

 

Sam Quiñones, Dreamland, pp. 256-300

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 13: The Recent Past

 

Monday, November 25: Work on final research projects

Wednesday, November 27: Work on final research projects

 

This week, I would like you to watch a film about relatively contemporary Latin American reality, made by a filmmaker from Latin America. My recommendations are Amores Perros(Mexico), Roma (Mexico), City of God(Brazil), Fresa y Chocolate (Cuba), Machuca(Chile), The Official Story (Argentina), The Secret in Their Eyes(Argentina), but if there’s another you’re interested in feel free. If you want the point for second half journaling, write your weekly response to the film.

 

 

 

Week 14: Current issues

 

Monday, December 2: Immigration

 

Valeria Luiselli, Tell Me How it Ends

 

Recommended: Nelson Rauda, “Her Family Survived the El Mozote Massacre. Now She’s Fleeing El Salvador’s Gangs,” https://www.thedailybeast.com/her-family-survived-the-el-mozote-massacre-now-shes-fleeing-el-salvadors-gangs?ref=scroll

 

Wednesday, December 4: Venezuela in Crisis

 

Watch: “The Breadmaker,” https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/ng-interactive/2019/feb/15/the-breadmaker-frontline-venezuela-bakery-wars-video-la-minka

 

More readings TBA

 

Friday, December 6: The Return of the Right

 

Watch: “Marielle and Monica,” https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2018/dec/28/marielle-and-monica-the-lgbt-activists-resisting-bolsonaros-brazil

 

Paulo Pachá, https://psmag.com/ideas/why-the-brazilian-far-right-is-obsessed-with-the-crusades

 

More readings TBA

 

 

 

 

 

Week 15: Conclusions

 

Monday, December 9: Working on research

Wednesday, December 11: Last day of class

 

Final research projects due December 14.

 

 

2 responses to “Syllabus Fall 2019: Modern Latin America

    • The ethnic studies requirement applies to classes that cover communities in the US, which isn’t the focus of this class. But I’m going to try to make a class that will do this.

      Like

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