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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Ileana M. Rodriguez Silva
HSTAA 185
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Latin American History: From Columbus to Castro

Survey of political, economic, and social history of Latin America from the Iberian conquest to the present. Lectures, discussions, and films focus on developing understanding of Latin America's current problems through study of their historical roots. Designed for the beginning student and the nonspecialist.

Class description

The multiple regions and peoples comprised under the rubric of "Latin America" or the "Caribbean" are too vast and complex to cover in any survey course. Facing this insurmountable task, we can only aspire to gain an overview of significant historical processes that have marked the individuals and communities inhabiting and passing through these varied landscapes. The first and longest unit focuses on the workings and reproduuction of colonial society. We will uncover how Portuguese and Spanish imperial agents sought to economically exploit and morally/culturally shape the lives of native communities, African slaves, colonizers of various backgrounds, and their racially mixed offspring. By the same token, we will pay special attention to the myriad of ways in which peoples challenged, subverted, or simply negotiated in their everyday life the regimes of rule imposed upon them. In the remaining units, we will focus on the tribulations of building modern nation-states out of colonized territories. Like colonial subjugation, the "nation" was another fiction to organize power and has led to continuous struggles - often, violent ones - about the terms of inclusion and exclusion. The serach for the "modern," later the need for "development," and recently the call for free trade in a global market have legitimized the continued subjugation of large sectors of the Indigneous, black, and female populations and have unleashed severe social upheavals. These conflicts remain at the heart of present-day social movements in these regions.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Students' performance will be assessed through different means: * Participation * Short essay * Commentary * Exam

Students are responsible for successful class discussion. You are expected to read all assigned material on time. Each student has to make an effort to talk in class. All questions, comments and/or suggestions are always welcome in class.

Write clearly, concisely, and coherently. Not only must you develop a critical argument effectively, but the presentation of your work will also be taken into account.

Meet deadlines. I do not accept late assignments. I do not give incompletes.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Jennifer Weiss
Date: 08/22/2007