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  • HIS 379: HISTORY OF CENTRAL AMERICA

    Professor Avi Chomsky
    Spring 2002
    T, Th 10-11:15; SB 107A


    Professor Avi Chomsky
    Sullivan Building 109
    542-6389
    achomsky@salemstate.edu
    http://www.salem.mass.edu/~achomsky/



    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.


    Required Books:
    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
    Begin Asturias

    Jan 31 Elite attempts at modernization: bananas and multinationals
    Asturias

    Feb 5 The United States and Central America
    Film: “A Gringo in Mañanaland”

    Feb 7 Social effects of modernization
    Asturias
    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
    Film: “Denial”
    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
    Hart

    Apr 18 Nicaragua
    Hart

    Apr 23 Nicaragua
    Hart

    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.

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