LASP-501-01 Origins and Transformations
This course is designed to introduce students to the study of the History in the Latin American Studies Master’s Program. It is designed to be interdisciplinary and provide students a good overview of recent production on historical topics on Latin America. The hope is that some Master’s students will as a result choose History as their concentration.

The theme of the course is on the making of the nation-states in Latin America. This topic is especially important not just because this is the theme that has warranted a great deal of attention over the past decade or so. It also incorporates new perspectives such as Gramscian and postmodern analysis, resistance studies, and the old modernization paradigm. On might argue that this topic remains on the cutting edge of the field and is the subject of many of the newest and most innovative works in Latin American History broadly defined. Since it is impossible to cover Latin American History as a whole, students will receive an intensive preparation on a topic that should be of interest to those who will work in other disciplines as well.

The basic formula is discussion of one book a week, building from one to another. I will provide some historical background before each country is discussed. It is important that each book be read beforehand in its entirety and that it is read critically. It is expected that students bring their own questions to class, though the professor will also contribute his own questions. Since I expect everyone to have done the reading, I will maintain the right to ask questions of anybody in the class and especially of those who have been silent. So – it is vital to stay on top of the reading and to take sufficient time to think about it in analytical terms. Class participation is critical for a good grade in this course.

Three analytical essays will be required at regular intervals. They will focus on the central issues raised in that section of the course and must include discussion of each assigned text from that section. Each essay should reflect independent thinking and move towards an understanding of larger patterns implicit in the works rather than just a discussion/summary of each book. I will look for original interpretations; these will receive the highest grades.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None


LASP-501-02 Origins and Transformations
This class aims to introduce graduate students to diverse approaches to understanding the histories of Latin America’s diverse nations and peoples. We begin examining the origins of the region’s new nations around 1800, with an emphasis on conflicts over slavery and freedom. We will explore Cuba from 1860 to 1960 as its peoples fought to end slavery, become a nation, and faced a turn to revolution. We will engage Brazil’s twentieth-century struggles with race and poverty, development and urbanization. And we will conclude with an exploration of Mexico’s drive for national development, its experiences with urbanization, and the turn to globalization.

Sections and Readings:

1. Capitalism and Nation, Slavery and Freedom
Tutino, “The Americas in the Rise of Industrial Capitalism, 1750-1870.”
Dubois, Avengers of the New World
Grandin, Empire of Necessity

2. Cuban Counterpoints, 1860-1960
Perez, On Becoming Cuban
McGillivray, Blazing Cane

3. Brazilian Contradictions, 1850-2000
Tutino, “The Americas in the 20th-Century World:
Challenges of Urbanization and Globalization”
Otovo, Progressive Mothers
Fischer, A Poverty of Rights
Sheper-Hughes, Death Without Weeping
McCann, Hard Times in the Marvelous City

4. Mexican Challenges, 1850-2000
González, San José de Gracia
Boyer, Political Landscapes
Tutino, “Power, Marginality, and Participation in Mexico City, 1870-2000”
Tenorio, I Speak of the City
Walker, Waking from the Dream

At the end of each section, students will write an essay built on deep engagements with our common readings to offer independent interpretations of the issues raised at their intersection. The goal is synthetic innovation.
Grading: papers 1-2, 15% each; papers 3-4, 25% each; prepared participation 20%.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
More information
Look for this course in the schedule of classes.

The academic department web site for this program may provide other details about this course.