HIST222: Modern Latin America

Course Syllabus for "HIST222: Modern Latin America"

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This course will introduce you to the history of Latin America from the early 19th century, when many Latin American colonies declared their independence from European rule (predominately Spain and Portugal), to the present day. This course fulfills one of the required six geographical concentration courses for the History major. This course also fulfills one of the requirements for the History minor. In this course, you will learn about the major political, economic, and social changes that took place throughout Latin America during this crucial 200-year period of nation-state formation and engagement with the rest of the world. The units in the course are set up chronologically, but at the same time the units address the development and history of specific Latin American regions, including Mexico, Central America, and South America, and nation-states. Each unit includes representative primary-source documents that illustrate important overarching political, economic, and social themes, such as efforts by independent Latin American nations to create stable economies in the 19th century in the face of colonial and mercantile systems, the political and economic conflicts among independent states and European imperial powers, the emergence of often extreme left-wing and right-wing political and social movements in the 20th century, the developmental challenges that many Latin American nations face today, and the recent ascendance of certain Latin American nations economically, politically, and socially. By the end of the course, you will understand how the countries of the region have overcome significant social, economic, and political problems as they have grown from weak former colonies into modern nation-states. You will be able to think critically about the history of Latin and South America from the 19th century to the present.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • analyze how the peoples of Latin America attempted to organize viable nation-states following independence from Spanish and Portuguese colonial rule;
  • assess how the United States used economic and cultural imperialism to control the economic, social, and political development of Latin America;
  • identify the origins of the 1910 Mexican Revolution and assess the political, economic, and social impacts of the revolution for the people of Mexico;
  • assess the role that Latin American nations played in the global economy in the 19th and 20th centuries;
  • analyze the role that cultural agents such as the Catholic Church played in the development of Latin American nations;
  • explain the role played by women, indigenous peoples, and Afro-Latinos in the social and political development of Latin America;
  • evaluate the political and economic factors that led to the emergence of political dictatorships in many Latin American nations in the early 20th century;
  • analyze how Cold War struggles between capitalist and communist ideologies influenced political life in the nations of Latin America and led to the rise of repressive, authoritarian regimes in the 1970s and 1980s; 
  • evaluate the current state of contemporary Latin America, taking in mind its pre-Colombian, colonial, and post-colonial history, to surmise its future challenges and advantages in a world of globalization; and
  • analyze and interpret primary source documents from the 19th and 20th centuries, using historical research methods to garner a more profound understanding of Latin American history.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    have access to a computer;

√    have continuous broadband Internet access;

√    have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash);

√    have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer;

√    have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.);

√    be competent in the English language; and

√    have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Course Information

Welcome to History 222: Modern Latin America! General information about this course and its requirements can be found below.
Primary Resources: This course comprises a wide range of free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:
- US Library of Congress: “Country Studies Series”
- Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook
- The International Development Research Centre’s “Resources” 

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of the assigned materials. You will also need to complete:
- Unit 2 Assessment
- Unit 3 Assessment
- Unit 4 Assessment
- Subunit 6.2 Assessment
- Unit 7 Assessment
- Subunit 9.2.6 Assessment
- The Final Exam

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the resources in each unit as well as the assessments listed above.
In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
Time Commitment: This course should take you approximately 80.25 hours to complete. Each unit includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. These should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories, to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself. For example, unit 1 should take you 3.25 hours and unit 2 should take you 6.75 hours. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete unit 1 (a total of 3.25 hours) on Monday night; subunit 2.1 (a total of 2.75 hours) on Tuesday night; and so forth.
Tips/Suggestions: Finally, you will find it useful to use the following resource, “Latin American Network Information Center,” from the University of Texas at Austin throughout this course as an important research tool.
Web Media: University of Texas at Austin: “Latin American Network Information Center”
Link: University of Texas at Austin: “Latin American Network Information Center”(HTML)
Instructions: You may choose to peruse this important site for research on Latin America, but you do not need to read this entire resource straight through. Instead, bookmark this resource in your web browser for consultation throughout this course.
Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.