History | The Promise and Failure of Revolutionary Movements
H765 | 27610 | Gould


A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to graduates only

This course's primary aim is to aid students to research and write
scholarly articles and/or potential dissertation chapters. The
course will also have a common theme: the promise and failure of
Latin American revolutionary movements during the 1960s and 1970s.
The class will begin with some methodological readings that will
orient the student about different approaches to historical
research. The subsequent readings will address several questions:
a). What were the key debates and what was the relationship between
scholarship and politics in the 1960s and 1970s? Are the unresolved
debates from that era still relevant? b). What were the causes,
consequences and historical significance of the Latin American 1968?
c) Since 1989, intellectuals and scholars have attributed violence
in Latin America and elsewhere to revolutionary utopian thought. How
do we evaluate that argument? Specifically, in the Central American
case, US policy makers and some academics argue that it was the
revolutionary left that provoked the violent response of the state
and thus bears a major responsibility for the human tragedy that
engulfed the region. During the 1970s, were there other alternatives
to achieving social change and democracy in the region? d)
Indigenous and women’s movements have also levied significant
charges against the revolutionary left for its blindness and
insensitivity toward issues of ethnicity and gender. One question
that emerges from this discussion is whether or not the left
enabled, while limiting, the emergence of these social movements.

Although students will be encouraged to link their topic with the
specific themes of the course, they will not be required to do so.
Student research, however, should have some bearing on some aspect
of the course.

One-half of the classes will be taken up with group discussions.
During those weeks, students will be expected to write 1-2 page
commentaries on the readings which will be due by Sunday evening and
posted on the One Course site. The commentaries should end with some
discussion questions. They will be expected to read the other
commentaries and to bring a printed copy of their own to class. The
remaining weeks will be devoted to individual discussions with the
professor. At the end of the semester, students will offer oral
critiques of each other's written work and two class sessions at the
end of the semester will be devoted to the students' papers.