Fall 2010 - Undergraduate 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; and the rise and fall of dictators like Rafael Trujillo, Anastasio Somoza, and Augusto Pinochet.
The format of the class will be lecture, with frequent discussions. We will also be viewing documentary films in class.
TEXTS (All paperbacks)
Louis Perez, The War of 1898
Hans Schmidt, The U.S. Occupation of Haiti
Alan McPherson, Intimate Ties, Bitter Struggles
Stephen G. Rabe, The Most Dangerous Area in the World
Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote
Thomas Wright, State Terrorism in Latin America
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
The student will be asked to purchase six paperbacks. Written work will consist of three (4-5 page) critical essays, and two examinations.
Please note that the instructor places a high value on class attendance and participation. Class attendance is MANDATORY. Attendance will be taken each day.