566: Unit 1

Independence and Revolution

Intro | 1 | 2

1. Introduction

First day of class. Who are we? Why are we interested in Latin America? What are our questions?

2. Themes, Theories, and Questions

Read: Skidmore, 3-15 and "Uruguay: The End of the Dream?" by Gerardo Caetano (Photocopy handout)

As you read, take notes on themes, theories and questions. Be prepared to share three questions when you arrive in class.

3. The Colonial Experience

Read: Skidmore, 16-29 and de las Casas (In Documents book--henceforth, Docs)

What motivated the colonial enterprise? What factors led to establishment of permanent Spanish colonies? How did Portugal’s experience differ from Spain’s? How were racial strata established? Why is de las Casas writing? Why is he so upset with “the Spaniards?”

4. Bolivar and Liberation.

Read: Skidmore, 29-44 and Bolivar "Message to the Congress" (Docs)

Was independence inevitable? Why does Skidmore emphasize the conservatism of the independence movements? What kind of rule does Bolivar support? Why?

5. The Black Revolution: Haiti

Read: Jelly-Schapiro, excerpt from Island People 232-245 (Docs). Also for homework, watch “Black in Latin America” vol. 1, on YouTube, hosted by Henry Louis Gates.

Bring three discussion questions to class.

6. Mexican Revolution

Read: Skidmore, 47-62.

What forces are at work during the Mexican revolution? In class: look at three US press accounts of the Mexican Constitution of 1917

7. US policy toward Latin America, from Monroe Doctrine to “Good Neighbor”

Read: Skidmore, 431-444, Monroe Doctrine, Good Neighbor Policy (Docs).

Bring three discussion questions to class. As you formulate your question, look over the "Ask Better Questions" handout and try to create questions like kind you read out loud in class on day 5. When you arrive in class, write one or more of your questions on the board.

8. Cuba’s war for Independence and early national period

Read: Skidmore, 112-123; José Marti, “Our America” (Docs).

Read the Martí thinking of other nation-building documents you may know, for example the US Declaration of Independence or Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense.” What was “Our America” for Martí? How does he try to build a sense of patria? What will be the challenges? How does sugar shape Cuban society? Would you expect a leftist revolution to emerge? Why did the US first support Batista and then seem to withdraw support?

9. Cold War and the US

Read: Skidmore, 445-457, James Wood, ed., "The Cold War" (includes Platt Amendment and Truman Doctine)(Docs).

Was US policy during the Cold War a divergence from or continuance of pre-Cold War Policy?

10. Cuban Revolution & early Castro regime

Read: Skidmore, 123-131 and Fidel Castro, "History Will Absolve Me" (Docs).

What were the goals of the Cuban Revolution?

11. Building of the Revolutionary Mindset

Watch: The Motorcycle Diaries 2004 film based upon the book by Che Guevara – time and location TBA.

How did Che become “Che” – the revolutionary? What do you think of his path? His motivations?

12. Paper

Intro | 1 | 2