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Home > Academics > Undergraduate > Ethnic Studies >
Ethnic Studies
Course Description

ETHS 039
Raíces (Roots): Latin America and the Caribbean

This introductory course surveys the diverse historical, environmental, economic, political and social dimensions of Latin America. While the course will cover all of Latin America (México, Central and South America, and the Caribbean), countries that form the background for Latino communities in the United States will receive special attention. Students will be introduced to the geographical perspective of seeking to understand the relationship between humans and their environment; we will also discuss how differing definitions of regions and “dominant” assumptions may influence their study. The topical section of the course begins by considering the implications of Latin America's physical environment (including landforms, soils, vegetation, and climate) for human activity, followed by reviewing thousands of years of indigenous civilizations. We will then focus upon understanding present conditions through studying various aspects of Latin America's 500-year colonial legacy. A sample of topics covered in this section includes: the European invasions, conquest and destruction of indigenous civilizations; African slavery and resistance; past and present struggles over land and resources; U.S.-Latin America relations over time; change and continuity in Latin American societies due to "modernization" and "development" (particularly through industrialization, urbanization, and privatization); environmental consequences of development; popular social movements and the search for alternative solutions to present problems.

Meets the Multicultural and Historical Perspective General Education Requirements. Meets “single ethnic” requirement for the Ethnic Studies major. Core Course for the Latin American Studies major and minor.

Required Texts
Galeano, Eduardo (Introduction by Isabel Allende). 1998. Open veins of Latin America: five centuries of the pillage of a continent. (25th anniversary edition, originally published in 1973.) New York: Monthly Review Press.

Berman Santana, Déborah. 2000. Kicking off the Bootstraps: Environment, Development, and Community Power in Puerto Rico. Tucson: University of Arizona

Cockcroft, James D., 2010. Mexico's Revolution Then and Now.New York: Monthly Review Press

An Intranet Reader, available as Library e-reserves

Course Requirements (subject to minor revision)
1) Midterm exam (20%) and final exam (30%)
2) Term paper (25%)
3) Journal (15%)
4) Attendance and participation (10%)

Offered Fall 2014 semester.

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Last Updated: 6/22/17