Seminar in Latin American History

Spring 2014

HILA 4501 (1)

Seminar in Latin American History

"Research Seminar on the History of US-Latin American Relations"

Thomas Klubock

This research seminar examines the history of Latin America-U.S. relations.  The first half of the semester we will read a number of historical works.  The assigned texts are designed both to provide a broad overview of the history of Latin America-U.S. relations and introduce students to a variety of approaches to writing the history of what is often referred to in Latin America as United States imperialism. The class will focus on a series of United States interventions in Latin America over the last two centuries, from the Mexican-American War, also known as the War of the U.S. Invasion in Mexico, to the occupation of Cuba, the CIA role in the overthrow of democratic governments in Guatemala (1954) and Chile (1973), and the US- sponsored counter-insurgencies in central America during the 1980s. We will ask basic questions about the logic of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.  What drives U.S. foreign policy in the region? Moral, ethical, or religious concerns?  Economics?  National security concerns?  Can U.S. actions in Latin America be understood as imperialism or "neocolonialism?"  How do they compare with European forms of colonial rule?  What was the impact of the Cold War on Latin America?  Has U.S. involvement in Latin America helped or hindered the development of democratic institutions and economic growth and development?  We will also be interested in questions related to social and cultural history. We will be particularly interested in places of encounter between Latin Americans and North Americans, for example mining enclaves or the paths of migration that lead northward and into cities, towns, and rural districts throughout the United States.  Indeed, we will ask if the analytical division between Latin America and the United States is justifiable. Does it make more sense to speak more broadly of "the Americas?"   Can we think of the U.S. as part of Latin America and Latin American history, rather than outside it?  Can we think of Latin-American-U.S. relations in terms of encounter and exchange, as well as unilateral imposition of political, economic, and military power from north to south?

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904

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