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Module

LAS2030 : Comparative History of Hispano-America and Brazil: from Independence to the Mexican Revolution (1789/1810-1917)

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Jens R Hentschke
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

In consonance with the degrees offered in the SML, this module aims:
•       to build on skills and knowledge gained at Stage 1.
•       to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of Latin American history in the ‘long 19th century’ with its lasting legacies.
•       to prepare students for more specialist study at Stage 4.
•       to make aspects of the above available to students from outside the degree.

The main purpose of this course is to give students an idea of the similarities and divergences in the historical development of Latin American countries during the key period from Independence to the Mexican Revolution. In contrast to Western Europe and North America, in Latin America ‘Independencia’ state-building preceded nation-building. Iberian mercantilism gave way to an economic re-colonisation by Great Britain, while France remained the major cultural reference point during the ‘long 19th century’. Yet, 'Amérique Latine' was an artificial construct, suggesting that the more than two dozen Latin American countries formed a kind of homogenous bloc.

The course will make you aware that, from their Conquest, Spanish and Portuguese America, let alone French Saint-Domingue (an important excursus), had been separated by more than language and natural barriers, and you will understand why Liberator Simón Bolivar failed in maintaining at least the territorial integrity of the four Spanish viceroyalties. We will look at the 'caudillo' dictatorships which followed political emancipation and contrast them to Brazil's ambivalent attempts to forge a nation post facto; analyse the liberal reforms of the mid-19th century in Colombia, Mexico and Argentina; compare Cuba's anti-slavery and belated pro-Independence movements with Brazil's abolitionists and republicans; and learn about Uruguay’s transformation into Latin America’s first welfare state democracy and Mexico’s paradigmatic 1910-17 revolution.

Outline Of Syllabus

The course will cover the following topics and case studies:

Week 1:
Intro to course and intro to Latin America
Weeks 2-8 (core):
1. LATIN AMERICA ON THE EVE OF INDEPENDENCE:
State, society and economy at the end of the colonial period and the anti-colonial movements in Spanish America and Brazil (Tupac Amaru Revolt in Peru and Brazilian Inconfidências);
2. THE REVOLUTION OF INDEPENDENCE IN SPANISH AMERICA:
The first (1810-16) and second phase (1816-26)
3. INDEPENDENCE IN SOCIETIES WITH A DYNAMIC PLANTATION SLAVERY:
Haiti's slave revolution and Brazil's independence as a monarchy
4. CONTINUITY AND CHANGE: LATIN AMERICA IN THE PERIOD OF POST EMANCIPATION (1826-ca. 1850):
The 'oligarquización de la política' in Spanish-America vs. Brazil between pro-Portuguese absolutism, nativist constitutional monarchy and democratic republic
5. DURING BRAZIL'S 'CONCILIATION' GOVERNMENTS: THE LIBERAL REFORM WAVE IN MID-NINETEENTH CENTURY SPANISH AMERICA:
Colombia's 1849-54 liberal revolution and Argentinas 'national reconstruction' under Mitre and Sarmiento
6. THE REVIVAL OF ABOLITIONISM AND REPUBLICANISM IN THE LAST THIRD OF THE 19th C.
Benito Juárez's ‘Reforma’ and the overthrow of Maximilian in Mexico and the Cuban Ten-Year-War in Spanish America vs. Paraguayan War, gradual abolition of slavery, and overthrow of the monarchy in Brazil.
7. CHALLENGES TO THE OLIGARCHIC SYSTEMS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY:
The reformist challenge (Uruguayan Batllismo) vs the revolutionary challenge (Mexican Revolution)
Weeks 9:
Round-up and materials on Essay Writing

The course will be taught and assessed in English.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Writing of essay
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials182:0036:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading73:0021:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities141:0014:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Online Synchronous
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops91:009:00Weeks 1-9 (on campus)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study181:0081:00Other independent study (a bibliography for free reading is provided).
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

In an introductory seminar, students will be introduced to the intellectual and organisational design of the course, learn about the applied teaching methods and how to analyse primary sources, and hear about the formative and summative assessments. This will be followed by the study of material that embeds this course on the ‘long nineteenth century’ into a broader disciplinary, temporal, and global context. Students will be able to establish links between the different Area Studies, Area Studies and systematic disciplines, and literary and other texts, and they will also recognise the significance of the ‘long nineteenth century’ for explaining Latin America’s current travails. Some of them might experience the latter first-hand when going on the Year Abroad in Stage 3. The core of the course follows a comparative design: it focuses on major periods of transformation in Latin America and uses exemplary and deviant cases. Asynchronous teaching materials will allow definition of the scope of the syllabus, an introduction to key terms and cases, and modelling of the analysis required. Synchronous workshops/academic mentoring and tutoring sessions will give students the opportunity to discuss essay plans and train hermeneutic skills in the interpretation of documentaries and key printed primary sources, while the synchronous seminars will help them consolidate their knowledge and apply a comparative analysis. The last week is dedicated to a round-up of the course and guidance with regard to essay writing.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M100Essay of 2,500 words.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MSee below for details.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Formative essay plans/presentations on the ‘real’ exam/essay questions of the previous year have become a long-standing and always positively received practice. They act as a mock, and students then know exactly what type of questions they can expect in the summative assessment and that they should focus on an overarching thesis and operationalise it. In the workshops/academic mentoring sessions they will acquire another skill needed for a good essay: to historically contextualise a primary source and comment on this voice of protagonists with a critical distance.
The essay will allow students to demonstrate their understanding of at least one broader period of Latin American history previously studied. They will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge to specific cases and highlight their similarities and divergences. This form of assessment provides an occasion to practice written communication as well as analytical and problem-solving skills.

Reading Lists

Timetable