History 317 examines the societies and history of Latin America from the independence movements (beginning circa 1800) to the present day and the various ways scholars have studied this period and region.
The course will examine the evolution of Latin American states and societies through three interrelated dimensions of world history. Firstly, the character of nation-states and how to organize political life is a central and persistent feature of modern Latin American history. As a result, we will examine the competitions over constitutions and parliament, democracy, oligarchy and authoritarianism, rights for men and women, nationalism, imperialism and the role of the military.
Secondly, the rise of global capitalism had a direct and transformative impact on Latin American societies. The class will look at the roles of both government and private citizens and the interactions of working people with managers. Furthermore, we will scrutinize the relations between the social classes, between men and women at work, in the public sphere and in the family, and between rural and urban dwellers. These interactions were complicated with far-reaching consequences.
Thirdly, the course will examine the conflict among nations and the contentious and evolving relations among Latin American nations, as well as with western European powers and the United States.
Our goal is to convey some basic factual knowledge about Latin American societies during this period and to provide an interpretive framework for understanding the historical changes taking place.