History | Latin American Culture & Civilization I
H211 | 0395 | Diaz


This course is part one of a two-course sequence on the history of
Latin America from pre-conquest times to the present.  It will
survey the history of Latin America from its first inhabitation to
the independence period in the nineteenth century.  Six major themes
will be addressed: the development of the great Amerindian
civilizations, the encounter between Europeans and Amerindians, the
making of a colonial society in Spanish America and Brazil, the
struggles leading to the collapse of colonial rule, and the civil
wars of independence.  The overriding concern of this survey is to
provide an understanding of how the complex interaction between the
different cultures that met in the Americas shaped these colonial
societies, and how some elements of this legacy persisted and/or
were transformed by different social groups before and after
independence.  This knowledge of colonial Latin America will help us
interpret and understand first-hand accounts of this period, pivotal
skills that we should cultivate in order to critically analyze any
current event in Latin America, the United States or the rest of the
world.

Readings include a textbook by Jonathan C. Brown, "Latin America: A
Social History of the Colonial Period," an Aztec account of the
conquest ("The Broken Spears"), a collection of documents (Kenneth
Mills and William B. Taylor, "Colonial Spanish America: A
Documentary History") and a course packet.  Documentaries and films
are also part of the course materials.  Students learning will be
evaluated through essay exams and in-class written exercises.