Political Violence in Latin America, 1780-2010

History 103E.002

Spring 2011
Instructor (text): 
3104 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
W 10-12P

The history of Latin America is marked by dramatic periods of intense political violence. Scholars have long argued over proximate causes for this violence, from the general - is it is endemic to postcolonial societies, or the result of U.S.-dependent economies? - to the specific - how important was Catholicism to the Colombian bloodshed of the 1940s-1950s? In this course we will focus on major moments of political violence in Latin America's past. We will examine them through the raw materials for making history - first-person accounts, government reports, contemporary journalism, media, sloganeering - and further reckon with them in light of recent scholarship. Among the themes we will consider are: colonial legacies; local territorial divisions and national borders; Communism, Socialism, and the rise of left-wing insurgencies; the traditional authority of the Catholic Church; the military junta and ";strongman"; politics; the political influence of multinational corporations and foreign governments; the role of the illicit drug trade in local economies, political rhetoric, and international relations. No previous knowledge of Latin American history is required.