Modern Latin America

History 8B

Fall 2014
150 GSPP
Day & Time: 
MWF 3-4P

This survey of Modern Latin America introduces students to the making of the region that came to be known as "Latin America," to its diverse peoples, and to their experience of modernity during the past two centuries. The course will focus on the region as a whole, and will explain both how modern Latin American nations came to be, and how social relations operated within and across their national boundaries. This perspective will provide students with conceptual and historical tools to understand the nature of today’s globalization and to see Latin America as an intrinsic part of it. It proceeds almost backwards: we will start discussing the current debates on the present and future of Latin America, and then explore how economic structures, Iberian legacies, indigenous realities, revolutions, populisms, state terrorism, music, and ethnic identities shaped today's Latin America.

Readings deal with issues as diverse as Caribbean politics and Andean cocaine, Mexican revolutionaries and Brazilian music, Argentine workers and Nicaraguan villages. Lectures will provide a main narrative and the analytical framework for the readings. Section meetings will be a space for discussing both primary sources and scholarly literature. Each student will write a paper on a historical object (for example, a historical figure, a material object, an idea, an aesthetic style, or an institution), and trace its circulation across time and space. Papers will be based on online and archival primary sources, as well as optional films and literature. Consultation in office hours is especially encouraged for designing the research plan and getting feedback during the writing process.


(The syllabus will be uploaded soon, please check back.)


Course Books

The underdogs by Azuela, Mariano Penguin Books. ISBN: 9780143105275 Required
The mystery of samba by Vianna, Hermano The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN: 978-0-8078-4766-4 Required
Dictatorship in South America by Dávila, Jerry Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1405190558 Required
Cuba for beginners by Rius Pathfinder. ISBN: 978-0-87348-128-1 Required
Las Soldaderas: Women of the Mexican Revolution by Poniatowska, Elena Cinco Puntos Press. ISBN: 978-1933693040 Optional