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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 304
Course Title: History of Latin America
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Survey of the history of Latin America from the colonial period to the present. The study of the development of colonial structures, the impact of colonization on native peoples, the struggle for independence, colonial legacies, economic dependency, and ethnic, gender, and class relations helps students to gain an understanding of the major themes in Latin American history. The class also considers the relationship between Latin American countries and the United States, as well as political and social movements throughout the region. The class considers examples from the histories of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Course meets Multicultural graduation requirement. 


Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

 Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Occasional offering.


Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

A required text (chosen from texts 1-4) must be assigned and supplemented with at least one recommended text. Additional monographs or readers may be assigned as well.

Most current editions of the following:

A History of Latin America
By Keen, Benjamin & Haynes, Keith (Houghton Mifflin)
Born in Blood and Fire—A Concise History of Latin America
By Chasteen, John Charles (Norton)
Latin America and Its People
By Cheryl Martin & Mark Wasserman (Pearson Longman)
A History of Latin America
By Peter Bakewell (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)
Colonial Lives: Documents in Latin American History
By Richard Boyer and Geoffrey Spurling (Oxford University Press)
Problems in Modern Latin American History
By John Charles Chasteen & James A. Woods, Eds. (Scholarly Resources)
Colonial Latin American: A Documentary History
By William B. Taylor & Sandra Lauderdale Graham, eds. (Scholarly Resources)
The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain and the New World
By Carlos Fuentes (Mariner Books)
Course Objectives

• To understand the major themes in select Latin American countries from the colonial period to the present, including examples from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. • To understand comparative themes in Latin American history such as struggles for independence, colonial legacies, economic dependency, ethnic, gender, and class relations, U.S. intervention and the political and social movement of Latin American countries.

Measurable Learning
  • Analyze the impact of colonization on native peoples, including social and political changes, and the native response to European initiatives.
  • Examine the evolution of political, economic, social, cultural, intellectual and religious themes of Latin American history.
  • Identify and characterize significant historical factors which contribute to patterns of change and continuity.
  • Analyze primary documents within a historical framework.
  • Define and explain the struggle for independence and the issues surrounding the revolutions.
  • Explain the colonial legacy, the impact of dependency, and the engendering of democracy.
  • Document the emergence of independent nation states.
  • Define and explain the cultural components which characterize religious, gender, class, and race relations.
  • Examine intellectual, social, political, religious and economic philosophies of select Latin American countries.
Topical Outline:
  • Because the course represents an upper-level history elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. It must be distinquished as an advanced course by three structural components: extensive reading, intensive writing, and historiographical thinking. It must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (i.e., midterms, finals, team reports, quizzes, research papers). The course reading load should be at least 1,000 pp.; the course writing assignments should total c5000 words. The majors topics include but are not limited to the following areas:
  • Colonization
  • Cultural contact
  • Colonial resistance
  • Movements for independence
  • Revolutions
  • Ethnic conflict
  • Gender relations
  • Nation building
  • Economic dependency/development
  • Class stratifications
  • Engendering democracy
Culminating Experience Statement:

Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Tonia Compton Date: October 18, 2012
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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