Social History of Modern Latin America

History 141B

Fall 2015
Day & Time: 
MWF 12-1P

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 have Latin American governments reacted to and contributed 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. The class will focus on the themes of political ideology, peasants and land, urban services and the right to the city, identity and social groups, and the use of media across these movements. 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

Slience on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala by Daniel Wilkinson Duke University Press. ISBN: 979-0822333684 Required
The Massacre at El Mozote by Mark Danner Vintage. ISBN: 978-0679755258 Required