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  • History 731
    Modern Latin America
    Professor Avi Chomsky
    Fall 2001

    Avi Chomsky
    Sullivan Building 109B

    Political, economic and social development of Latin America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including problems of economic development, dependency, and poverty and inequality; different forms of social movements, rebellion and revolution; race, gender and ethnicity; U.S.-Latin America relations; and literary and intellectual movements including dependency theory, liberation theology, magical realism, and testimonial literature.

    Required books:
    Thomas E. Skidmore and Peter H. Smith, Modern Latin America.
               5th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. 0195129962
    Pamela Maria Smorkaloff, ed., If I Could Write This in Fire: An Anthology of Literature from the Caribbean.
               New York: The New Press, 1994. 1565841824
    Mark Wasserman, Everyday Life in Nineteenth Century Mexico: Men, Women and War.
               University of New Mexico Press, 2000. 0826321712
    Carolina Maria de Jesus, Child of the Dark.
               New York: New American Library, 1989. 0451627318
    Robert M. Levine, The Life and Death of Carolina Maria de Jesus.
               Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995. 0826316484
    Daniel James, Doña María’s Story: Life History, Memory, and Political Identity.
               Duke University Press, 2000. 082232492X
    Mathilde Zimmerman, Sandinista: Carlos Fonseca and the Nicaraguan Revolution.
               Duke University Press, 2001. 0822325950
    Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
               20th ed.; Myra Bergman Ramos, trans. Continuum Publishing Group, 2000. 0826412769
    Charles Bergquist, et al, eds., Violence in Colombia, 1990-2000: Waging War, Negotiating Peace.
               Scholarly Resources, 2001. 0842028706
    Carola and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Children of Immigration.
               Harvard University Press, 2001. 0674004922.
    A daily newspaper of your choice.

    Course requirements: Attendance and participation, including signing up to lead two discussion sections (25%). Four critical essays (40%). Newspaper journal (15%). Final paper (20%).

    Attendance and participation. Attendance and participation are crucial. Come to class prepared to discuss the day’s readings. In addition, each student will be responsible for planning two discussion sections.
    Critical essays. Due weeks 4, 7, 10, and 13. Critical reflections on class readings and films. 2-3 pages each.
    Newspaper journal. Critical reflections on at least five newspaper articles related to Latin America. 1-2 pages each.
    Final paper. Your choice of topic, in consultation with instructor. May be based on class readings and/or outside readings/field work. 8-10 pages. [Note: novels related to the day’s topic are listed in brackets after the day’s readings, and could serve as the basis for your final paper.]


    Sept 5 Introduction

    Sept 12 The Nineteenth Century: Dependency and Development

    Skidmore and Smith, chaps. 1-2
    [Clorinda Matto de Turner, Torn from the Nest]

    Sept 19 The Nineteenth Century: Slave societies

    Smorkaloff, “The Plantation and Maroon Society”
    [Gertrudis de Avellaneda, Sab; Alejo Carpentier, The Kingdom of This World]

    Sept 26 History and Identity

    Smorkaloff, “Identity, Historiography, and the Caribbean Voice”
    [Edwidge Danticat, The Farming of Bones]
    First critical essay due.

    Oct 3 The U.S. and the Caribbean in the Twentieth Century

    Smorkaloff, Pedro Mir, Alejo Carpentier, and “Isolation/Inter-Caribbean Relations”; Skidmore and Smith, “The Caribbean”
    [Julia Alvarez, The Time of the Butterflies; G. Cabrera Infante, Three Trapped Tigers]
    Statement of topic for final paper due. (1 par.)

    Oct 10 Revolution, Dependency and Development in Mexico

    Wasserman; Skidmore and Smith, “Mexico”

    [Carlos Fuentes, The Death of Artemio Cruz; Juan Rulfo, Pedro Páramo; Mariano Azuela, The Underdogs; Elena Poniatowska, Massacre in Mexico; Nothing, Nobody; Octavio Paz, The Labyrinth of Solitude; Rosario Castellanos, Book of Lamentations; The Nine Guardians]

    Oct 17 Industrialization and Immigration in Argentina

    James; Skidmore and Smith, “Argentina”
    [José Donoso, El mocho; Jorge Amado, The Violent Land; Marcio Souza, Mad Maria]
    Second critical essay due.

    Oct 24 The Underside of the Miracle: Brazil after WWII

    De Jesus; Levine; Skidmore and Smith, “Brazil”
    Film: “Living in Suburbio” (Salem State), 20 mins.
    [Jorge Amado, Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon; Doña Flor and her Two Husbands; Jose Lins do Rego, Plantation Boy; Clarice Lispector, Family Ties; The Hour of the Star; Graciliano Ramos, Barren Lives]

    Oct 31 Revolutions and Social Movements in the Shadow of the Cold War

    Freire, Skidmore and Smith, “Cuba”; Smorkaloff, Chely Lima, “Monologue” and “Common Stories”
    Rough draft of final paper due.
    [Luis González, Spirits of the Revolution; Edmundo Desnoes, Inconsolable Memories; Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Mea Cuba]

    Nov 7 The Chilean Road to Socialism, 1960-1990

    Skidmore and Smith, “Chile”
    Film: “Chile, Obstinate Memory” 52 mins.
    [Isabel Allende, House of the Spirits; Stories of Eva Luna; Of Love and Shadows; Fernando Alegría, Allende: A Novel; Ariel Dorfman, Heading South, Looking North; Manuel Puig, The Kiss of the Spider Woman]
    Third critical essay due.

    Nov 14 Revolution in Central America, 1954-1990

    Zimmerman; Skidmore and Smith, “Central America”
    Film: “If the Mango Tree Could Speak” (Salem State), 58 mins.
    [Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, ed., I, Rigoberta Menchu AND http://chronicle.com/colloquy/99/menchu/background.htm. Read article, and responses from David Stoll, Brett Greider, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Duncan Earle, Arturo Arias, Michael Berube (and any others you wish to include); Manlio Argueta, One Day of Life; Miguel Angel Asturias, The President; Gioconda Belli, The Inhabited Woman]

    Nov 21 NO CLASS. Thanksgiving Recess.

    Nov 28 Revolution in the Andes: Colombia and Peru

    Bergquist; Skidmore and Smith, “Peru”
    [Mario Vargas Llosa, Death in the Andes; Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera; Jorge Icaza, The Villagers (Huasipungo); José María Arguedas, Deep River; Yawar Fiesta]

    Dec 5 Latin America at the Millennium

    Skidmore and Smith, “Latin America, the United States, and the World”; “Epilogue”

    Fourth critical essay due.

    Dec 12 Latinos in the United States

    Film: “How We Feel: Hispanic Students Speak Out” (Salem State), 15 mins.
    [Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street; Julia Alvarez, How the García Girls Lost their Accents; Cristina García, Dreaming in Cuban; Piri Thomas, Down These Mean Streets; Esmeralda Santiago, América’s Dream; Achy Obejas, Memory Mambo]

    Dec 19 Final summary/discussion

    Final paper due.

    Salem State College is committed to providing equal access to the educational experience for all students in compliance with Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act and to providing all reasonable academic accommodations, aids and adjustments. Any student who has a documented disability requiring an accommodation, aid or adjustment should speak with the instructor immediately. Students with Disabilities who have not previously done so should provide documentation to and schedule an appointment with the Office for Students with Disabilities and obtain appropriate services.
    Instructions for leading discussion sections

    Here are some things you should keep in mind in preparing the discussion section.

    1. CONTENT. The discussions should be based on the readings and films, and the issues brought up in lecture. Think about important issues and themes that the readings suggest; questions that they raise; how they relate to or what light they can shed on other issues we’ve raised in class; what issues are controversial, and what other interpretations might be useful; what arguments the authors make or suggest (this includes authors of novels and testimonies as well as of historical works); how they make their argument/position known; what evidence they provide; what the implications of their arguments are; how they relate to, contradict, or add to interpretations we’ve seen by other authors; how the novels can contribute to our understanding of social issues (or what they obscure)...

    2. FORM. The goal of the discussion section is to engage the class actively in thinking about, and talking about, the issues raised in the readings. You can be creative as to format. You may make your own presentation as part of the class period, but it is not required or even recommended that you do so. You could provide written questions for the class to discuss, or organize role-plays or debates, or assign different students to discuss different issues, etc. etc. If you wish to assign something beforehand, that is fine. Participation is key--that is, you want to actively make sure that everybody is participating.

    If discussion leaders want to meet with me prior to the section (or, as always, communicate by email), I am happy to do so, though it is not required.

    I’ll give you a group grade and a written evaluation of the discussion section within a week of when you lead it. The grades for your two discussion sessions will be incorporated into the “attendance and participation” portion of your final grade (“attendance and participation” is altogether 25% of the final grade; each discussion section grade is worth 7.5% of your final grade, so that together they account for slightly over half of the “attendance and participation” grade, for those of you who are into exact numbers).

    The grade will be based on both form and content—that is, on the issues and questions you raise, and the level of understanding you show of the issues raised by the readings, and also on how you “manage” the discussion—how successful you are in including members of the class and stimulating them to think and speak about the issues.

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