Marc Becker's Home Page

Future Courses
Student Projects


download pdfLatin America During the National Period (HIST 140)

“Poor people inhabit rich lands”
- E. Bradford Burns

Spring 2014, Truman State University
MC208, MW 3:30-4:50  
Office: MC 227 

Marc Becker
Office Hours: MW 1:30-2:20
Phone: x6036

This course surveys the history of Latin America from independence from European colonial powers at the beginning of the nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century. We will examine a variety of issues including inequality, leadership styles, democracy, religion, and gender. This course fulfills the history mode of inquiry in the Liberal Studies Program. In this mode, students will study a broad topic or major geographic area over an extended period of time and will demonstrate competence in one or more of the following areas, which characterize the work of historians:

  • thinking in terms of causation, change over time, contingency, context, and chronological frameworks;
  • the content and methodologies of humanistic and social-scientific disciplines to study and interpret the past;
  • analyzing the interplay between choices individuals have made and developments societies have undergone; and
  • understanding the social and aesthetic richness of different cultures.

Following is the required book for this class. Additional readings will be posted to the Blackboard website. 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.

Meade, Teresa. A History of Modern Latin America. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. ISBN: 978-1405120517

Assignments and grades

Weekly identification terms (15 at 1 point each). We will begin each week with the identification of a key term from that week’s readings.

Primary source analyses (2 at 15 points each). Analyze the primary sources posted to the Blackboard webpage. Using your own words, explain what you think the documents reveal, what they conceal, and how the experiences and perspectives of the authors shaped its contents. In order to identify the main issues in the documents, consider:

  • What does this source tell a reader about a historical event? What are its limits in explaining those events?
  • How does this source fit into a larger historical narrative? Does it challenge or conform to a dominant narrative?

I am interested in how you perceive or understand each document. In order to analyze the documents, examine the following evidence:

  • What type of source is this?
  • What can you extrapolate about who created the source, when, and where?
  • Who did the author consider the audience to be?
  • Why was the document created?
  • What views and perspectives does the document present? Are other views silenced or challenged?

Each essay should be about 3-5 pages long, typed, double-spaced, follow good essay form (have an intro, thesis, conclusion, etc.), and include citations, a bibliography, and page numbers. These essays 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 essays will be penalized 10 percent for each day that they are late. Successful completion of both essays is required to receive credit for this class.

Final Exam (55 points). The comprehensive final exam will draw on the class readings, films, and discussions.

Class Schedule (Please note: We may change these readings to better suit the needs of the class.)

Week 1 (Jan 13/15)     Intro & Geography
            Read: Meade, ch. 1
            Primary source: Martí, José. "Our America." In José Martí Reader: Writings on the Americas, edited by Deborah Shnookal and Mirta Muñiz, 111-20. Melbourne, Australia: Ocean Press, 1999.
Week 2 (Jan 22)          Colonial background
            Read: Meade, ch. 2
            Primary source: Bastidas, Puyucahua, Micaela. "Micaela Bastidas Puyucahua." In Women in Latin American History, Their Lives and Views, ed. June Edith Hahner, 30-31. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center Publications, University of California, 1976.

Week 3 (Jan 27/29)     Slavery
            Read: Meade, ch. 3
            Primary source: Journal Républicain de la Guadeloupe. "Account of the Slave Revolt." In Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A brief history with documents, edited by Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus, 116-18. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2006.

Week 4 (Feb 3/5)         Caudillos
            Read: Meade, ch. 4
            Primary source: Tristan, Flora. “Pioneer Feminist and Socialist.” In Keen's Latin American Civilization: History and society, 1492 to the present, ed. Robert Buffington and Lila M. Caimari, 9th ed., 319-20.

Week 5 (Feb 10/12)     Neocolonialism
            Read: Meade, ch. 5
            Primary source: Calvo, Carlos. “The Calvo Clause.” In Latin America and the United States: A Documentary History, ed. Robert H. Holden and Eric Zolov, 68-69. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Week 6 (Feb 17/19)     Immigration
            Read: Meade, ch. 6
            Primary source: Cunha, Euclides da. Rebellion in the Backlands. Chicago, Ill.: The University of Chicago Press, 1944, 85-86.

Week 7 (Feb 24/26)     Mexican Revolution
            Read: Meade, ch. 7
            Primary source: Zapata, Emiliano. "Plan of Ayala." In The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics, ed. G. M. Joseph and Timothy J. Henderson, 339-43. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002.

Week 8 (March 3/5)    Socialism
            Read: Meade, ch. 8
            Primary source: Mariátegui, José Carlos. "The New Peru." The Nation 128, no. 3315 (January 16, 1929): 78-79.

Week 9 (March 17/19)            Populism
            Read: Meade, ch. 9
            Primary source: Perón, Eva. "My Mission in Life." In Documenting Latin America: Gender, Race, and Empire, ed. Erin O'Connor and Leo Garofalo, ed., vol. 2, 178-82. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education, 2011.

Week 10 (March 24/26)          Dictators
            Read: Meade, ch. 10
            Primary source: Barrios de Chungara, Domitila. Let Me Speak! Testimony of Domitila, a woman of the Bolivian mines. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1978, 194-204.

Week 11 (March 31/April 2)  Cuban Revolution
            Read: Meade, ch. 11
            Primary source: Dorticós Torrado, Osvaldo. "The Family Code." In Women and the Cuban Revolution: Speeches & Documents by Fidel Castro, Vima Espín & Others, ed. Elizabeth Stone, 140-51. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1981.

Week 12 (April 7/9)    Chilean Path to Socialism
            Read: Meade, ch. 12
            Primary source: Allende Gossens, Salvador. "Last Words Transmitted by Radio Magallanes, September 11, 1973." In Salvador Allende Reader: Chile's Voice of Democracy, edited by Salvador Allende Gossens, James D. Cockcroft and Jane Canning, 239-41. Melbourne, Vic., Australia, New York: Ocean Press, 2000.

Week 13 (April 14/16)            Liberation Theology
            Read: Meade, ch. 13
            Primary source: FSLN. "The Historic Program of the FSLN." In Sandinistas Speak, edited by Bruce Marcus, 13-22. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1982.

Week 14 (April 23)     Neoliberalism
            Read: Meade, ch. 14
            Primary source: EZLN. "First Declaration From The Lacandon Jungle." In The Zapatista Reader, edited by Tom Hayden, 217-20. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002.

Week 15 (April 28/30)            Pink Tide Governments
            Primary source: Chávez, Hugo. "Capitalism is Savagery." Z Magazine 18, no. 4 (April 2005): 53-54.

Final Exam: Monday, May 5, 3:30-5:20

| Marc Becker's Home Page | |