Latin America II
Runs:  May 30th – July 6th
Professor Thomas

This course covers the history of Latin America from the 19th to the 21st centuries, beginning with an examination of how the colonial era set the pattern for many of Latin America’s challenges after independence from Spain (or Portugal, in the case of Brazil) in the early 1800s. Latin America consists of more than twenty different nations, each with both a distinct history and a shared past with its neighboring countries.  Because we cannot adequately cover the history of all the countries in the region, we will look at examples of how major issues and events in Latin American history have played out in selected countries. These include: wars for independence; political culture and nation-building after independence; “boom and bust” cycles of the Latin American economy; economic and political relationships with foreign nations, including Britain, France, and the U.S.; labor struggles and populist leaders; the Cold War and leftist revolutions; violence and dictatorship; and the massive changes wrought by urbanization and migration in the late 20th century. By the end of the course, you will have gained an understanding not only of what happened in Latin America, but also an understanding of why that history developed the way it did–and how historians piece together their analysis through the interpretation of documents and other historical sources.