Spring 2012 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
The purpose of this course is to analyze U.S. relations with Central America, the Caribbean, and South America during the twentieth century and early twenty-first century. By discovering the patterns of the past, we can perhaps understand why the United States has been constantly involved in the internal affairs of such nations as Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti, Mexico and Venezuela.
The course will examine both the character of U.S. foreign policies and the political and socio-economic structures of Latin American nations. Topics of special interest on U.S. policies will include: U.S. attitudes toward dictatorships and democracies; uses of military and economic aid; the CIA and covert interventions; the role of multinational corporations and international banks; the issue of human rights; legal and illegal migration; the narcotics trade; and the growing influence of Latinos in U.S. society.
In exploring the nature of Latin American societies, we will focus on such topics as: the Hispanic heritage; patterns of economic dependency; the role of the Catholic Church; the appeal of communism and the rise of revolutionary nationalists like the Sandinistas, Fidel Castro, Salvador Allende, and Hugo Chávez; the rise and fall of dictators like Rafael Trujillo, Anastasio Somoza, and Augusto Pinochet; and the resurgence of democracy in Latin America in the twenty-first century.
In addition to discussing and debating the key issues in seminar, we will also be viewing documentary films.
Louis A. Pérez, The War of 1898.
Hans P. Schmidt, The U.S. Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934.
Greg Grandin, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City.
Antonio P. Tota, The Seduction of Brazil: The Americanization of Brazil during World War II.
Jon Lee Anderson, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life.
Stephen G. Rabe, The Killing Zone: The United States Wages Cold War in Latin America.
Dennis Merrill, Negotiating Paradise: U.S. Tourism and Empire in 20th Century Latin America.
Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War.
Roderic Ai Camp, Mexico: What Everyone Needs to Know.
Robert Holden and Eric Zolov, The United States and Latin America: A Documentary History. 2nd edition.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Faithful attendance at seminar sessions; vigorous and informed participation in seminar discussions; submission of a series (8-12) of short (1,250 words) papers based on assigned readings.