History | Seminar in Latin American History
H765 | 3039 | Gould

A portion of the above section reserved for majors
Above section meets with LTAM L501


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: political violence and social
movements. Throughout most of the twentieth century, social
movements have had to engage with the threat, the promise, or the
reality of political violence. Marx wrote, "violence is the midwife
of every old society pregnant with a new one." We will examine to
what extent and under what conditions violence did mark transitions 
in various political directions  in modern Latin American history.
Similarly, our common readings will include studies of the causes of
political violence and the theoretical justifications for and
against the use of violence to achieve collective goals. More
specifically, we will examine the role of "pressing" and other forms
of symbolic coercion in order to achieve unanimity in social
movements. Similarly, we will look at the role of gender and gender
ideologies in collective violence.

We will also read and discuss about specific historical
conjunctures, in particular the revolutionary period between the
1960s and the 1980s characterized by political violence. We will
attempt to probe the relationship between utopian thought and the
recourse to violence. At the same time, we will also analyze state
responses and the problem of creating the legitimacy for the use of
force. Finally, we will discuss the emergence of social movements in
the 1990s specifically as non-utopian movements with a commitment to
non-violence and evaluate their successes and failures.

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,
including discussion of research prospectuses. 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. The remaining weeks will be devoted
to individual discussions with the professor.