Latin American History Research Seminar Syllabus 2017-2018
This course is designed to introduce students to some of the most important problems and debates
about Latin American history, society and culture. Latin America is a complex region full of
contrasts. Its population is both racially and culturally heterogeneous. Its many countries share
some common cultural roots and political origins, but also have distinct histories. National
histories and individual societies did not always follow parallel paths. We will consider the general
as well as the specific paths, and study the successes, failures, contrasts and future challenges
facing the region. The structure of this course is primarily chronological but also thematic. We will
start with the Conquest and its legacies and we will end with the problems that we experience
today in big cities in Latin America. We will pay particular attention to the enduring legacies and
challenges of some specific historical issues, such as slavery and the particular entrance of Latin
America into global capitalism. The course favors a multi-disciplinary approach, and therefore we
will use a different array of materials including films, letters, photographs and essays. We will
emphasize first-hand accounts of the topics we discuss.
This is an embedded honors course. Students taking the course for honors credit will be called
upon to demonstrate higher order thinking skills, make sophisticated connections between texts
and disciplines, and engage in a critical evaluation of the concepts studied. At times, these skills
will be exercised in different ways and using additional texts and expectations than those used by
their college preparatory peers.
The capstone assignment for the course will be a research paper due Spring 2017. Our weekly
discussions, assignments, and benchmarks will help students develop their writing and
investigatory skills throughout the school year in preparation for completing their writing.
Department and Academic Dean Note:
Honors credit is available in many humanities classes. In some cases, students take a
distinct course; in others, they enroll in an embedded honors course, where they learn
alongside their college preparatory peers. In either model, all students will be called upon
to demonstrate higher order thinking skills, make sophisticated connections between texts
and disciplines, and engage in a critical evaluation of the concepts studied. However, at
times, these skills will be exercised in different or additional texts by those students earning
The student earning honors credit will be exposed to the same core content and skill sets as
their college preparatory peers, yet will typically move at a swifter pace and will be
expected to tackle more complex assignments and readings.
While all placement decisions were finalized during the registration period last spring, in
rare circumstances the department chair may consider allowing a...