Testimony and Revolution in Latin America: Reading Testimonios by Women and Men Activists from Central and South America 1970-1990

History 103E.002

Fall 2009
Instructor (text): 
202 Wheeler
Day & Time: 
Wed 10-12
Barry Carr studies the history of work and workers in Latin America and has a special interest in twentieth century Mexico and Cuba. He has written extensively in the area of labor and agrarian history and the history of socialist and communist movements. He is currently completing books on the history of post 1940s Mexico and on work and workers in the Cuban sugar industry. He has also become very interested in the history of leisure and tourism in Latin America.

This is a seminar for people who are interested in modern Latin America or for those who are concerned with the history of radical and revolutionary movements and the weight of ethnicity, gender, class and myth in the construction of individual and group histories. It is about how self-consciously radical or 'revolutionary' working people (workers and peasants) in Latin America have seen themselves through autobiography/testimonies and how others (historians and social scientists) have chosen to see and represent them. In the pro-seminar we will be reading very closely a series of ten testimonies or 'testimonios' (in English) in order to understand why and how women (especially) and men activists (mostly indigenous people, peasants and workers) have undergone radicalisation and how they have sustained their struggles. The testimonios include works by activists from Guatemala (Rigoberta Menchu), Nicaragua (Omar Cabezas), El Salvador (Maria Tula), Bolivia (Domitila Barrios) and Cuba (Esteban Montejo). Chronologically, the testimonios are situated in the twentieth century and MOST mos cover the period 1960-1990. Assessment will be based on two essays of approximately 2,500 words each in which students analyze one of the texts we are reading.