Course Information: History 152: Revolution! Latin America and the Search for the Common Good in the Twentieth Century
Semester in which the course will be offered: Fall 2013
How often is this course taught: Every other year
Course prerequisites: None
Unit value of course: One
Proper audience for course: sophomores, juniors, seniors
The learning goals for which the course is being submitted: Social, Cultural, or Historical Understanding
Teaching Narrative for Social, Cultural or Historical Understanding
The course will examine the history of selected revolutionary movements in Latin America, specifically the cases of those which actually rose to power: Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, and Venezuela in the 20th and 21st centuries. In terms of content, the course will ask students to identify who was involved in revolutionary movements and why, paying close attention to causation and change over time and across geographical location. Students will be asked to identify the goals of each movement in any given historical moment and to analyze to what degree those same movements put in practice their ideas and theories when they became governments, as expressed through governmental policies and socio-economic priorities. Students will be asked to analyze what might account for the differences between intentions and actions, paying close attention to the ever-changing national and international contexts that shaped post-revolutionary policies. Here again students will be asked to identify what changed over time and why, and how new causes resulted in new effects as history marched on. Special emphasis will be placed on the broadening of revolutionary movements over time, beginning with “traditional” groups like workers and peasants and moving on to “new social movements” that included students, women, and indigenous peoples and allied issues like feminism and environment. The course will emphasize the skills and methods stressed in history, specifically collecting evidence and interpreting it. In the collecting of evidence goal, students will be taught how historians find primary and secondary sources, that is, via library research and online databases, including specific Latin American media and academic journals, sanctioned documentary and feature-length fictional films, online sources that I will include in the syllabus, and published collections of documents from each country, and possibly oral interviews with local people who lived through some of the movements covered in class (particularly for the research paper). In terms of interpretation, the course will teach students to use the historian’s critical lens to approach texts of all kinds. First and foremost, students will be taught the importance and inevitability of historicizing every source they encounter (i.e, placing the source in its original context and historical period, identifying the author’s social location, and the major socio-political and economic or cultural factors that shaped the text itself), identifying point of view in the text, filtering the text for bias, reading between the lines, looking for intentional or unintentional missing information by comparing texts on the same topic written by different authors, using the language of the discipline competently (e.g., primary sources, secondary literature, monographs, synthesis, periodization, historiography, history from above and history from below), and being specific in the use of language (including the definition of terms and how those might change over time). Throughout, students are taught to acknowledge the limitations of their sources and the non-finality of their interpretations, as new information may come to light and change previous interpretations or changing national or international contexts make older interpretations obsolete.
Learning Narrative for Social, Cultural or Historical Understanding
The course will use oral participation and three papers to evaluate students’ performance in the two learning goals above. Using a Socratic method, I aim to steer oral participation in the direction of discussing notions of revolution, inclusion, class, gender, race, the common good, community, cumulative knowledge, and historical context. Students thus demonstrate that they understand how historians link causation and change orally first, in preparation for their papers. The requirements for participation are stringent, therefore (see syllabus), and student participation is carefully monitored. A historical critique of the social order and the notion of revolution emerges in discussion as students move from one case to the next and they do comparisons. Here the instructor’s task is to make sure students can articulate how historical change takes place in local and international contexts and to help them track how one revolutionary experience affected the next (causation and change), as the revolutionaries themselves refined and expanded their ideas and tried to correct mistakes they believed their predecessors committed. The conversation becomes cumulative by the second case, even though the concepts examined remain the same (though their meanings change over time). Three writing assignments, increasing in length, focus on the constituent parts of the learning process in history: using appropriate terms and defining and redefining them correctly across different countries and periods; highlighting the socio-political and economic context of each revolution with each new country and period introduced; acknowledging and identifying the point of view of the parties involved and articulating all points of view accurately and fairly; locating each point of view in its historical period and social, political, economic, and cultural context; finding appropriate primary and secondary sources (including texts in Spanish for students who can read the language) and using them critically. Students start with two analytical papers, one on Mexico and one on Cuba, poking at issues discussed in class and answering questions of the students’ choice. The final paper allows them to play to their interests and strengths in choosing theory or synthesis, or both. The paper challenges students to find patterns across four different countries in four different periods of time, asking them to test whether professed revolutionaries lived up to their ideas and promises and hypothesize about the major political, economic, social, intellectual or cultural forces that shaped their actions (why they lived up to their rhetoric or not). In any choice, students are expected to acknowledge the limitations of their sources and the temporary nature of their interpretations.
Syllabus is attached.
Revolution! Latin America and the Search for the Common Good in the Twentieth Century Professor: Myrna Santiago
Course description. Latin Americans have been debating what constitutes the common good as they fight for social justice over the course of centuries. In the 20th and 21st that struggle led to multiple revolutionary movements and the rise of several revolutionary governments. Why has revolution been so pronounced in the continent? Who was involved in those debates and great upheavals? What were their grievances and how did they define the common good? And what did revolutionaries achieve when they gained power? To what degree did they achieve their vision of the common good and social justice? Those are the questions that frame this course on Latin American Revolutions. The class follows a case study method in chronological order. Mexico is the first case, as it was the first social revolution of the 20th century (1910-1946) and it produced its share of theoretical documents about the common good. It is compared to the Bolivian Revolution (1952-1964). Next is a set of readings about the Guatemalan experiment that began in 1944 and was crushed in 1954, with an eye to its legacy for politically radical movements, including the 1959 revolution in Cuba. After analyzing socialism in Cuba and the theoretical work of Ernesto “Che” Guevara on his conception of the common good and social justice, the focus will turn to Chile’s peaceful road to socialism (1970-1973), followed by the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua (1979-1990). The class will return to Mexico briefly to look at the Zapatista revolt of 1994 and its vision of the same topics, to finish with a glance at las nuevas izquierdas in South America, particularly Bolivia under Evo Morales and Venezuela under Hugo Chávez. Throughout, the class will analyze and discuss the ideas about a just social order based on the common good each revolution produced, articulating their points of view and debating them. To that end, students will read primary sources that speak to a Latin American point of view on social justice and the common good to complement the secondary literature and answer the questions posed.
Method. The professor will use a Socratic style to run this seminar course, with mini-lectures as necessary. That means students should be prepared to answer questions in class on a daily basis.
Learning objectives and outcomes.By the end of the course, students will have working definitions of a number of historical concepts, including 19th century Liberalism; capitalism; anarchism; socialism; communism; revolution; feminism; solidarity; liberation theology and the common good. In addition, students will be familiar with some of the historiographical debates about revolution in Latin America. Students should also be able to demonstrate an understanding of the world from a Latin American perspective and articulate that point of view in writing, including reflection on the ways Latin Americans envisioned finding fulfillment in community. At the same time, students will use a comparative framework to write critical accounts of what Latin Americans believed to constitute a just social order, as part of their study of violent and peaceful revolutions as means to achieve those goals. Likewise, students will sharpen their skills in critical reading of media coverage of the region and will practice analyzing visual material (photographs, art, and film) and expressing themselves orally with confidence, sophistication, and poise. Lastly, students should be able to write critical essays referring to historical questions and theoretical problems raised by their readings, the professor, class discussion, and the media.
Requirements and assessment. Grades measure performance, not personality or any other quality. Thus, preparation for class is essential. The reading load will be around 150 pages per week. Positive, active class participation is expected. That means students must demonstrate to the professor that they have done the reading, answering questions and commenting on the material, supporting their points of view with textual references. Fluff, off-topic and irrelevant remarks do not constitute a positive contribution to class discussion and will count against the grade. Attendance is mandatory. Three absences will automatically deduct one whole grade for the course. Students are required to attend two history-sponsored co-curricular events outside of class. The professor will make note of attendance. Such events are an integral part of a college education and developing the habit of life-long learning. Participation is 20% of the grade.
Each student will make a brief presentation on a news item, do a critique of it in class, and turn it in for evaluation (see “newsbrief” for details; 10%). The purpose of this exercise is to track what the mainstream media says about Latin American countries, paying close attention to tone, point of view, and reliability. The learning objective of this assignment is to sharpen students’ critical approach to the news media.
Students will write three papers. Two will be 6 pages of text, plus additional pages for footnotes at the end and a bibliography (20% each). The third paper will be 9-10 pages of text, plus additional pages for footnotes at the end and bibliography (30%). Instructions are attached. Papers should be turned in as hard copies on the day they are due. Neither e-mailed papers nor late ones will be accepted. Drafts are encouraged; re-writes are not. All grades are final.
Class Etiquette. Education is a serious and professional affair. Therefore classroom demeanor should be up to par: no tardiness, no early departures, no walking out of the classroom for any reason; no food (drinks are fine), no cell phones, no pajamas. Computers will be allowed unless they become a distraction or a nuisance. The professor will determine what a distraction is and what constitutes a nuisance. Breaking class etiquette rules will result in a diminished participation grade. Agreement on issues and ideas is not expected; respect for each other’s opinions is. Remember the following: if classes do not make you intellectually uncomfortable, you are not learning.
Final reminder: education is your profession. If you miss work, arrive late, leave early, walk in and out of your place of employment, and do not perform, you get fired. The same holds for class: you fail.
Policy regarding disabilities:
Student Disability Services extends reasonable and appropriate accommodations that take into account the context of the course and its essential elements, for individuals with qualifying disabilities. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact the Student Disability Services Director at (925) 631-4164 to set up a confidential appointment to discuss accommodation guidelines and available services. Additional information regarding the services available may be found at the following address on the Saint Mary’s website: http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/academics/academic-advising-and-achievement/student-disability-services.html
Required Readings: William H. Beezley and Colin M. Maclachlan, Mexicans in Revolution, 1910-1946
Nellie Campobello, Cartucho/My Mother’s Hands
Thomas Wright, Latin America in the Era of the Cuban Revolution, Revised Edition
Ernesto Che Guevara, Back on the Road
Hilda Gadea, Ernesto: A Memoir of Che Guevara
Packet of articles and primary sources on e-reserve, marked with an *
Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 5th Edition
Mon, Aug 29 Introduction: “The Revolution will not be televised”
Mexico: First Social Revolution of the 20th Century, 1910-1946
Wed, Aug 31 The Porfiriato as Historical Context
Discuss: Beezley and MacClachlan, Introduction, Ch 1; Plan de San Luis Potosí, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1910potosi.html
Definitions due today: 19th century Liberalism, capitalism, democracy
Fri, Sept 2 Zapata and the Common Good: ¡Tierra y Libertad!
Discuss: *Peter Calvert, “Emiliano Zapata,” pp. 3-26; Plan de Ayala: http://www.hist.umn.edu/~rmccaa/la20c/ayala.htm
Define: anarchism, socialism
Wed, Sept 7 Pancho Villa and his norteños: All action, but the Common Good?
Discuss: Campobello, Sections I, II, III; *Friedrich Katz, “Villa and Hollywood”;
*Charles Burress, “Wells Fargo’s Hush-Hush Deal with Pancho Villa,” San Francisco Chronicle (May 5, 1999)
Film recommendation: “And Pancho Villa Starring as Himself”
Fri, Sept 9 Las soldaderas: No Voice, All Action
Discuss: *Elisabeth Salas, Soldaderas, Ch 3: Amazons and Wives, Ch 4: In the thick of the
Define: patriarchy, feminism
Film: “Como Agua Para Chocolate” Mon, Sept 12 Las soldaderas and their Representation
Discuss: *Elisabeth Salas, Soldaderas, Ch 5: We, the Women; *Corridos: “La Rielera,”
“Adelita,” “Valentina,” “Marijuana, la Soldadera”
Film: “Antonieta” Wed, Sept 14 Revolutionaries in Power: Justice? Common Good?
Discuss: Beezley and MacClachlan, Ch 2; *Martha Eva Rocha, “The Faces of Rebellion: From Revolutionaries to Veterans in Nationalist Mexico,” from Mitchell and Schell, The Women’s Revolution in Mexico; *Patience A. Schell, “Of the Sublime Mission of Mothers of Families,” from Mitchell and Schell, The Women’s Revolution in Mexico
Fri, Sept 16 High Politics and Private Lives
Discuss: Beezley and MacClachlan, Ch 3; *Nancy Deffebach, “Frida Kahlo: Heroism of Private Life,” from Brunk and Fallaw, Heroes and Hero Cults
Film: “Frida” Mon, Sept 19 The Zenith and End of the Mexican Revolution
Discuss: Beezley and MacClachlan, Ch 4- Conclusion
Wed, Sept 21 Youthful adventurer: Ernesto Guevara hits the road
Discuss: *Alberto Granado, Traveling with Che Guevara, “Ernesto cannot tell a lie”;
*“For actors, Motorcycle Diaries is a revolutionary lesson” (September16, 2004);
*Aleida Guevara, “Riding My Father’s Motorcycle,” NYT (October 9, 2004)
Film: “The Motorcycle Diaries”
Bolivia 1952-1964: The Miners’ Revolution Fri, Sept 23 Bolivia: Another Mexico?
Discuss: Ernesto Guevara, Back on the Road, pp. 3-18; *Alan Knight, “The Domestic Dynamics of the Mexican and Bolivian Revolutions Compared,” Ch 3 from Grindle and Domingo, Proclaiming Revolution
Mon, Sept 26 The United States’ Reaction
Discuss: *Ken Lehman, “Braked but Not Broken: Mexico and Bolivia—Factoring the
United States into the Revolutionary Equation,” Ch 4 from Grindle and Domingo,
Proclaiming Revolution Paper on Mexico due Guatemala, 1944-1954: The Revolution Crushed Wed, Sept 28 “The Battle for Guatemala:” Whose Common Good?
Discuss: *Susanne Jonas, The Battle for Guatemala, Ch 1: Legacies of the Past: 1524-1944, and Ch 2: The Revolution of 1944-1954: The Democracy that Gave Way
Fri, Sept 30 Eyewitness to History
Discuss: Guevara, Back on the Road, pp. 19-82; *“The CIA’s Cover Has Been Blown,” NYT (July 6, 2003)
Mon, Oct 3 The Aftermath
Discuss: *Richard Gott, “The Fall of Arbenz and the Origins of the Guerrillas,” Ch 7 from Castro, Revolution and Revolutionaries; *Tyche Hendricks, “Coup Still Sears Guatemalans 50 Years Later,” SFGate.com (June 26, 2004); Guevara, Back on the Road, pp. 83-117
Films: “Men with Guns” and “El Norte” and “Discovering Dominga”
Discuss: Hilda Gadea, Ernesto: A Memoir of Che Guevara, Chs 12-19
Cuba’s Socialist Revolution, 1959 – 1990
Fri, Oct 7 Independence: A Vision Frustrated
Discuss: *Josè Martì, “Our America”; *1897: The Breckenridge Memorandum; *1899: From the Diary of General Màximo Gòmez; *1891: Text of the Platt Amendment; Wright, Ch 1
Film: “The Last Supper” and “José Martí and Cuba Libre” Mon, Oct 10 The Making of a Revolution
Discuss: Wright, Ch 2; *Guillermo Cabrera Alvarez, Memories of Che, Introduction, pp. 15-29; *Jon Lee Anderson, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary, IV, pp. 384-393
Films: Che, Part I (by Sodebergh) and “Memories of Underdevelopment” Wed, Oct 12 Social Justice and the Common Good in Theory
Discuss: *Guevara, “On Revolutionary Medicine” (1960), Monthly Review 58:8 (January 2005); *Guevara, “To Be a Young Communist” (1962), “The Philosophy of Plunder Must Cease,” (1964), and “Socialism and Man in Cuba” (1965), from Deutschmann, The Che Guevara Reader
Film: “El Che: Investigating a Legend”
Mon, Oct 17 Social Justice and the Common Good in Practice?
Discuss: *Guevara, Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War, “Lydia and Clodomira;” *”Women in Revolutionary Cuba,” (1972) from Hahner, Women in Latin America; *Margaret Randall, Cuban Women Now (1974), 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 22; *Margaret Randall, Women in Cuba (1981), Ch 1: The Struggle against Sexism
Definition due today: sexism
Films: “Up to a certain point” and “Teresa”
Wed, Oct 19 Social Justice and the Common Good in Practice?
Discuss: * Nora Hamilton, “The Cuban Economy: Dilemmas of Socialist Construction,” Ch 3 from Chaffee and Prevost, Cuba: A Different America; *Susan Eckstein, Back from the Future, Ch 5: The Irony of Success
Fri, Oct 21 The Limits of Social Justice and the Common Good
*David Craven, “Cuban Art and Culture,” Ch 8 from Chaffee and Prevost, Cuba: A Different America; *Rafael Ocasio, “Gays and the Cuban Revolution,” Latin American Perspectives, Issue 123, 29:2 (March 2002)
Film: “Before Night Falls” and “Strawberry and Chocolate”
Mon Oct 24 The United States’ Reaction and the Latin American Response
Discuss: Wright, Ch 4, Ch 5 (up to p. 80); *Duncan Campbell, “638 Ways to Kill Castro,” The Guardian (August 3, 2006)
Discuss: *Michèle Ray, “The Execution of Che by the CIA,” Ramparts; *Franco Pierini, “Che Guevara’s Angry End,” Atlas (January 1968); *Guillermo Cabrera Alvarez, Memories of Che, “Autopsy Report,” “An Interview with Mario Terán by journalist Jorge Canelas,” “What One Journalist had to say,” “A UPI Dispatch”; *Norman Gall, “The Legacy of Che Guevara,” Commentary (December 1967)
Film: “Che,” Part II (by Sodebergh)
La via chilena al socialismo, 1970-1973
Fri, Oct 28 The Peaceful Road to Socialism: Allende’s Vision for the Common Good
Discuss: Wright, Ch 8; *Salvador Allende, Chile’s Road to Socialism, Chs 2, 7, 9, 17; *“All The President Had to Do Was Ask,” NYT (September 13, 1998)
Paper on Cuba due Films: “Missing” and “Machuca” Mon Oct 31 The Legacy of September 11
Discuss: *Paul Heath Hoeffel and Peter Kornbluh, “The War at Home: Chile’s Legacy in the United States,” NACLA, Report on the Americas, 27:5 (September/October 1983); *Christopher Hitchens, “The Case Against Henry Kissinger,” Part I and Part II Harper’s Magazine (February 2001 and March 2001); *Diana Jean Schemo, “Kissinger Accused of Blocking Scholar,” NYT (June 5, 2004)
Nicaragua: The Sandinista Revolution, 1979-1990
Wed, Nov 2 Sandino
Discuss: *Sergio Ramirez, “The Kid from Niquinohomo,” Ch 4 from Castro, Revolution and Revolutionaries; *Ben Fallaw, “Augusto Sandino of Nicaragua,” Ch 7 from Brunk and Fallaw, Heroes and Hero Cults; *Sandino without frontiers
Film: “Walker” Fri, Nov 4 The Sandinistas’ Vision of Social Justice and the Common Good
Discuss: Wright, Ch 10; *Matilde Zimmerman, “Cuba, Foquismo, and the Sandinista Guerrillas of the 1960s;” The Historic Program of the FSLN: http://www.erin.utoronto.ca/~w3his290/D-1969.Historic.Program.of.the.FSLN.htm
Film: “Under Fire” Mon, Nov 7 Women in the Revolution: Vision, Activism, Justice?
Discuss: *Margaret Randall, Sandino’s Daughters, Ch 2: The Commanders, and Ch 8: Gladys Baez; *Margaret Randall, Risking a Somersault in the Air, “Daisy Zamora”; *Maxime Molyneux,“Women: Activism without Liberation?” from Rosset and Vandermeer, Nicaragua: Unfinished Revolution
Wed, Nov 9 Is Nature Part of the Common Good?
Discuss: *Daniel Faber, Environment Under Fire, Ch 5: The Nicaraguan Revolution and the Liberation of Nature
Discuss: *Miguel D’Escoto, “Nicaragua: Unfinished Canvas,” and “Ideological Struggle in the Nicaraguan Church,” from Rosset and Vandermeer, Nicaragua: Unfinished Revolution; * Margaret Randall, Risking a Somersault in the Air, Ernesto Cardenal
Mon Nov 14 The United States’ Reaction
Discuss: *Michael Dodson and Laura O’Shaughnessy, Nicaragua’s Other Revolution, Ch 10: Religion, Revolution, and the Reagan Doctrine; *Ronald Reagan, “President Reagan’s View of Nicaragua” from Rosset and Vandermeer, Nicaragua: Unfinished Revolution
Wed, Nov 16 “Low Intensity Conflict”
Discuss: *Philip Agee, “The CIA Blueprint for Nicaragua,” from Sklar, Washington’s War on Nicaragua; *Edgar Chamorro, “World Court Affidavit,” from Rosset and Vandermeer, Nicaragua: Unfinished Revolution; Democracy Now! “Reagan was the Butcher of My People” (June 8, 1004)
Film: “Carla’s Song” and “Latino” Fri, Nov 18 Solidarity, Social Justice, and a Transnational Vision for the Common Good
Discuss: *Sheryl (Sheyla) Hirshon, and Romero Family, from Ridenour, yankeeSandinistas; *Jeffry Steele, ¡Internacionalismo es... Revolución!” Debra Wise, “Puppetry in the New Nicaragua,” Sesshu Foster, “One Way to Get Nicaraguan Earth Under Your Fingernails,” Andrew Courtney, Joan Harmon, Elaine Myrianthopoulos, “Describe the community center that you built,” and Lois Wessel, from Jones, Brigadista; *“Contras kill former Portlander,” The Oregonian (April 29, 1987); *Daniel Ortega, “May the Bells no Longer Toll in Nicaragua” (April 30, 1987)
Film: “American/Sandinista” Mon Nov 21 Legacy of Counterrevolution: The Cocaine Connection
Discuss: *Gary Webb, “The Dark Alliance” (August 1996); *Daniel Siegel and Jenny Yancey, “With U.S. Help, Contras Cash in on Drug Traffic,” Star Tribune (March 6, 1988); *Dominic Streatfeild, Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography, Ch 13: Sandinista!
Mexico Revisted: The EZLN and Chiapas, 1994 Mon Nov 28 Indigenous People Fight for Social Justice and their views of the Common Good
Discuss: *Mihalis Mentinis, Zapatistas, Ch 1: “Zapatista Chronicle” ; *Gloria Muñoz Ramírez, The Fire and the World, “Insurgent Lieutenant of Public Health Gabriela”
Film: “A Place Called Chiapas” and “The Last Zapatistas”
Cuba post 1990 Wed, Nov 30 New Changes, Old Revolutionaries
Discuss: Wright, Ch 11; *John Newhouse, “Socialism or Death,” The New Yorker (April 27, 1992); *Peter Rosset, “The Greening of Cuba,” from Collinson, Green Guerrillas; *Marc Lacey, A Castro Strives to Open Cuban’s Opinions on Sex,” NYT (June 9, 2007); *“We Need Changes in Cuba,” Interview with Mariela Castro, SpiegelOnline (July 21, 2010)
Fri, Dec 2 Revolutionary Changes: Ecology
Films: “The Power of Community” and “The Greening of Cuba”
Due: question for final paper and bibliography
“The Pink Tide” or the Persistence of Revolution
Mon, Dec 5 “The Bolivarian Revolution” and “Socialism for the 21st Century:” Venezuela since 1998
Discuss: *John Bellamy Foster, “The Latin American Revolt,” Monthly Review 59:3 (July/August 2007); *Michael Lebowitz, “Venezuela: A Good Example of the Bad Left of Latin America,” Monthly Review 59:3 (July/August, 2007); *Nikolas Kozloff, Revolution!, Ch 6: Red is the Color of Revolution; *“Castro Helps Chávez Avert a Coup,” An Excerpt from Fidel Castro: My Life, in The Nation (January 21, 2008); *Sean Penn, “Conversations with Chávez and Castro,” The Nation (December 15, 2008)
Wed, Dec 7 Bolivia’s Version of the Common Good under Evo Morales (2005-)
Discuss: *Nikolas Kozloff, Revolution!, pp. 114-127; *Federico Fuentes, “The Struggle for Bolivia’s Future,” Monthly Review (July/August 2007); *Evo Morales, “Letter from President Evo Morales to the member representatives of the UN on the issue of the environment,” (September 26,2007); *Evo Morales, “10 Commandments to save the Planet” (April 28, 2008)
Film: “Even the Rain”
Fri, Dec 9 “South of the Border”
Mon, December 12, 2-4 p.m. Final paper due Newsbrief: Latin America in the Media Choose an item in the press in the days prior to your scheduled presentation date. The source must be a major newspaper or news source (avoid unknown internet sources). Bring a copy of the article to class and prepare a short paper (2 single-spaced pages maximum; 10% of the grade) that includes the following, in separate paragraphs:
A summary of the article
Your analysis about the reliability of the article. Explain what sources the writer used, whether you think she/he should have consulted others or interviewed other people; what is the point of view of the author; and your conclusion about whether the article can be trusted or not.
Present the article to the class, covering briefly all the points above. Be prepared to answer questions about your article.
The learning objective of this exercise is to sharpen your skills in close reading, to practice identifying and summarizing the important points in a media story, to sharpen your ability to detect bias, and to practice synthesis and apply new knowledge. The questions I ask are: do you demonstrate that you know how to write a summary? Did you follow the article closely to identify the main points? Did you think about what you read in order to judge the text’s reliability? Are you being critical of what you read?
Writing Assignments Papers 1 and 2 (20%) each. Write 6 pages of text discussing the notions of social justice and the common good raised by the readings, the professor, and class discussion (footnotes and bibliography are additional pages). Review the evidence and make an argument that addressed those ideas from any perspective you choose. The style should be standard expository writing, with a clearly stated thesis (please highlight it) and plenty of supporting evidence. The objective of the paper is depth and thoughtfulness. This is not a summary of the reading, nor is it a research paper. It is a paper where you go deeper into analysis and interpretation. Paper 1 will be on Mexico and it must include a new source in your argument, the 1917 Constitution, which is at: http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/mexico/1917-Constitution.htm
Paper 2 will be on Cuba, including Ernesto Guevara.
Paper 3. The third paper is an exercise in synthesis or theory, or both. It is 9-10 pages of text (plus footnotes and bibliography). Choose one of three questions (or you may choose a question of your own after consulting with the professor):
1. Why do people rebel? (Theory)
2. What changed or how much change did these revolutions bring about once in power? (Synthesis)
3. To what extent did those revolutions achieve a just social order and the common good? (Theory and synthesis)
To answer the question, students must include evidence from at least 4 countries (30%).
Citations. All papers will have footnotes at the end (“end notes” in computer parlance) on a separate page. The bibliography will also be on a separate page, after the footnotes (this is your last page). Follow the style in Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, Fifth Edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007). Points will be deducted for not using proper style. Use accents for words or names in Spanish that require them: if they are missing, the words are misspelled (and your grade will be affected accordingly).
Honor Code. Not giving credit where credit is due is an academic offense and I take it seriously. A plagiarized paper will mean an “F” in the course (not just the paper) and a trip to the disciplinary committee, even if the plagiarism was unintentional. Make sure you are familiar with college policies regarding academic honesty, as explained in the Student Handbook.
Grading standards For written work, I look for the following:
1. Focus. What is your thesis? Did the topic sentence for each paragraph establish what the paragraph will argue?
2. Evidence. Did you provide sufficient and convincing evidence for your argument? Where did your evidence come from? Is it reliable?
3. Development. Did your essay develop the argument logically? Was it organized coherently from one paragraph to the next? Did the paragraph advance your thesis?
4. Diction and grammar. Was your choice of words as sophisticated as the subject matter? Were your sentences grammatically correct?
5. Sophistication. Did your paper have something original to say? Are the ideas challenging? Is the essay interesting enough for an audience beyond the professor?
D: Passing: paper with a thesis, but the argument is not developed or coherent; or paper showed more incoherence than understanding; or did not have a thesis; or paper was a summary/book report rather than an analysis and interpretation; or serious grammatical problems
F: Fail: paper shows no understanding; or deeply flawed in its argument, ideas, grammar, thesis