HIS 7C: Latin America, 1900 to Present

Lecture—3 hours; discussion—1 hour. Latin America since the beginning of the 20th century. Themes include export economies, oligarchic rule, crises of depression and war, corporatism, populism revolution and reform movements, cultural and ethnic issues, U.S.-Latin American relations, neo-liberal restructuring. GE credit: ArtHum or SocSci, Div, Wrt | AH or SS, WC, WE.—S. (S.)


Renzo Aroni






Summer Session 2


Despite its richness in traditions, music and the arts, Latin America is politically unstable due to ongoing social conflicts. What explains this situation? How has Latin America’s long history of inequalities (racial, social, economic, political, and gender) operated in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries? Why is the Cold War still palpable in Latin America? How are the survivors of state terror and relatives of victims protesting, demanding for justice and human rights? This course examines the historical roots of these questions by focusing on the history of modern Latin America, from the Spanish-American War up to the present. In addition to providing a general sense of the major events and trends that marked this period, important themes to be covered include: neocolonialism, populism and nationalism, revolution and counterrevolution, culture as a political force, military dictatorships, memory struggles, Neoliberalism and its discontents, and the multi-faceted nature of U.S.-Latin American relations. This course explores the memoirs, diaries, and testimonies of the most prominent guerrilla leaders and indigenous political activists from Peru, Argentina, Guatemala and Nicaragua, including Che Guevara and Rigoberta Menchu. Students will learn about the diversity of struggles to defend or overturn social inequalities, the process of developing political consciousness, and the failure or achievement of social and political aspirations in Latin America. Finally, students will learn how to write history essays by analyzing primary documents and examining the biographical testimony of the readings’ authors. This is the third course in a three-part survey devoted to the history of Latin America; each course can be taken independently and no prior knowledge of Latin America is required.