Spring 2014 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Rabe, Steve
Discipline and Number
HIST 3379 Section 001
MW Time 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
Course Title
United States Relations with Latin America

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.

Required Texts:

Louis Perez, The War of 1898.
Jason Colby, The Business of Empire: United Fruit, Race, and U.S. Expansion in Central
Jon Lee Anderson, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life.
Stephen G. Rabe, The Killing Zone: The United States Wages Cold War in Latin America.
Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote.
Shannon K. O’Neill, Two Nations Divisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead.

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.

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