Social History of Latin America

History 141B

Fall 2013
Day & Time: 
TuTh 330-5P

Right now, protests are going on in Brazil about increased bus fares, among other issues. A year ago, students led social protests in Chile, demanding better access to higher education. What causes people to finally say, “¡ya basta!”? How has Latin America’s long history of social inequality played out in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries? How do authoritarian governments react to—and perhaps contribute to—protests, strikes, and revolutions? This course explores the historical trajectories of various Latin American uprisings, and traces the conditions leading up to social unrest in a number of countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Guatemala, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. We will examine the political, economic, and cultural forces at work that compelled ordinary people in these countries to rebel against their government and the status quo. In addressing these issues, we will emphasize the themes of nationalism, state formation, imperialism, agrarian reform, and citizenship. The goal of this class is for you to acquire a more complex understanding of the nature of exploitation and oppression in Latin America and the continuing struggles for social justice. Students will come away with an understanding of the historical contexts shaping various revolutionary and other social movements, and will be asked to think comparatively in order to assess how and why revolutionary strategies and outcomes in one country resembled or differed from those in another.

Course Books

Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala by Schlesinger, Stephen, and Stephen Kinzer Harvard University Press. ISBN: 0-674-01930-X Required
A History of the Cuban Revolution by Chomsky, Aviva Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1405187732 Required
Mexico's Once and Future Revolution: Social Upheaval and the Challenge of Rule in the Late Nineteenth Century by Joseph, Gil, and Jurgen Buchenau Duke University Press. ISBN: 978-0822355328 Required