Social History of Latin America: Rights, Rebellions, and Revolutions

History 141B

Fall 2018
166 Barrows
Day & Time: 
Tue/Thu 5–6:30pm
Class Number: 

This course examines the social history of Latin America starting in the late nineteenth century through the early twenty-first. We pay particular attention to the enduring problem of social and racial inequality and ongoing struggles for rights that in some cases became rebellions and revolutions. The protagonists of this course include constituents that historically had limited access to power like enslaved African and African-descended men and women, indigenous peoples, rural populations, and women. We examine how these individuals contended with industrialization and the consolidation of strong central governments and economic hierarchies. Themes covered include nineteenth-century struggles for abolition and independence in Cuba and Brazil, the Mexican Revolution, mobilizations for work and political recognition by Afro-Caribbean peoples, women and children in Chile, race and populism in Argentina, the 1959 Cuban Revolution, everyday revolutions in Chile, gay rights activism in Argentina and Brazil, counterrevolution and resistance in Guatemala, Brazilian samba as community organizing, and indigenous movements in a neoliberal context. Multinational and intentionally comparative, we will consider the resonances and divergences in the various national case studies. Throughout we examine the past to better understand the present. 

Elizabeth Schwall earned her Ph.D. in Latin American and Caribbean History from Columbia University (2016) and held a Mellon Dance Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern University (2016-2018). Her book manuscript examines dance and politics in twentieth-century Cuba, and her larger research interests include Cold War Brazil. She values students as co-creators of knowledge and looks forward to learning with them.