Table of Contents
HIS 379: HISTORY OF CENTRAL AMERICA
Professor Avi Chomsky
T, Th 10-11:15; SB 107A
Professor Avi Chomsky
Sullivan Building 109
History of Central America from the conquest through the twenty-first century. Topics include indigenous populations, conquest, colonization, independence; race, ethnicity and national identity in the nineteenth century; the history of U.S. influence in the region, the history of social movements, protest, revolution, and migration; the tenuous peace, globalization, and continuing social unrest in the twenty-first century. Focus on El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.
Michael Gorkin, Marta Pineda, Gloria Leal, From Grandmother to Granddaughter : Salvadoran Women's Stories -
256 pages University of California Press (March 2000); ISBN: 0520222407
W. George Lovell, George W. Lovell, A Beauty that Hurts : Life and Death in Guatemala
Paperback - 200 pages Univ of Texas Pr Revised edition (January 2001); ISBN: 0292747179
Dianne Walta Hart Thanks to God and the Revolution : The Oral History of a Nicaraguan Family
Hardcover - 306 pages Univ of Wisconsin Pr (October 1990); ISBN: 0299126102
John L. Hammond Fighting to Learn : Popular Education and Guerrilla War in El Salvador
Paperback - 224 pages Rutgers University Press (July 1998); ISBN: 0813525268
Miguel Angel Asturias, Frances Partridge (Translator) The President
Paperback Reprint edition Waveland Press (August 1997); ISBN: 0881339512
Course requirements: Attendance and participation are required (20% of your final grade). Five short papers commenting on class readings (4-5 pages each; 10% each; 50%). Final exam (20%). Rewrite of one paper (10%).
ALL ASSIGNMENTS MUST BE COMPLETED IN ORDER TO PASS THE COURSE.
Jan 15 Introduction
Jan 17 Precolumbian Central America
Film: “The Maya: Temples, Tombs and Time”
Jan 22 Colonial Central America
Lovell, chap. 18 (pp. 113-25)
Jan 24 Independence: The Liberal challenge and Conservative response
Lovell, chap. 19 (pp. 126-38)
UNIT I: THE LIBERAL ERA 1870-1930: THE POVERTY OF PROGRESS
Jan 29 Elite attempts at modernization: coffee and liberalism
Jan 31 Elite attempts at modernization: bananas and multinationals
Feb 5 The United States and Central America
Film: “A Gringo in Mañanaland”
Feb 7 Social effects of modernization
Paper due. Use Asturias as a source to discuss the social organization of Guatemala in the 1920s, and the role of terror in society.
UNIT II: THE 1930S: CHALLENGE AND RETRENCHMENT
Feb 12 El Salvador 1932: the revolution that wasn't
Gorkin, La familia Nuñez
Feb 14 The new caudillos in El Salvador and Nicaragua: Martínez and Somoza
Gorkin, La familia García
Feb 19 The new caudillos in Guatemala: Barrios, Estrada Cabrera and Ubico
Gorkin, La familia Rivas
Feb 21 Popular history and oral history: discussion of Gorkin
Paper due. How can the life story of a single individual be “history”?
UNIT III: REFORM AND REVOLUTION: 1944-1990
Feb 26 Guatemala 1944-54
Lovell, pp. 139-142
Feb 28 The new export agriculture
Mar 5 Mobilization for social change: Popular Education
Hammond, chap. 1
Mar 7 Mobilization for social change: The Church
Hammond, chap. 2
Mar 11-15 Spring Break
Mar 19 The FMLN and guerrilla war in El Salvador
Hammond, chap. 3
Mar 21 The Massacre at El Mozote
Hammond, chaps. 4-5
Mar 26 Discussion: Popular Education
Hammond, chaps. 6-9
Paper due: Comment on Hammond.
Mar 28 Guatemala
Lovell, Part I: Struggle and Survival
Apr 2 Rigoberta Menchu and The Uses of Guatemala
Film: “Broken Silence”
Apr 4 Guatamala
Lovell, Part Two
Apr 9 Film: If the Mango Tree Could Speak
Apr 11 Guatemala
Paper due. TBA.
Apr 16 Nicaragua
Apr 18 Nicaragua
Apr 23 Nicaragua
Apr 25 Film: “Deadly Embrace: Nicaragua, The World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund”
Paper due. TBA.
Apr 30 Central America in the New Millennium
May 2 Conclusion
Rewrite due. Choose one of your short papers and rewrite, based on instructor’s comments.
Wednesday, May 8, 12-2. Final exam.
Video possibilities for Central America
Lost kingdoms of the Maya [videorecording] : unlock the secrets of an ancient civilization / produced by the National Geographic Society ; produced and directed by Christine Weber ; written by Patrick Prentice. An exploration of the forests of Central America and Mexico on the trail of the ancient Maya. Distinguished scientists unearth artifacts, reconstruct cities and decipher the hieroglyphics of an extraordinary civilization. 60 mins. Susan Sarandon.[Washington, D.C.] : National Geographic Video ; Burbank, Calif. : Distributed exclusively by Columbia Tristar Home Video, 1994, c1993
The Maya : temples, tombs, and time [videorecording] / Questar Video presentation. Using recent breakthroughs in deciphering Maya glyphs and archeological discoveries, we take a new look at the Maya, now widely considered to have been the most brilliant and advanced inddigenous people of the Americas. 1995. 53 mins.
If the mango tree could speak [videorecording] / a video by Patricia Goudvis. A documentary about children, 12 to 15, and war in Guatemala and El Salvador. 58 mins.
Rigoberta Menchu [videorecording] : broken silence / Alba Films. This program focuses on 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rigoberta Menchu, as she discusses the lack of human rights for the indigenous people of Guatemala and her commitment to the struggle for a more egalitarian society. 21 mins.
Guatemala [videorecording] : a journey to the end of memories / Tamouz Productions. 55 mins.
The Long road home [videorecording] : a 30 minute documentary about Guatemalan refugees.