C O U R S E S

HIS 355

Central America and the Caribbean islands

Objectives:

This course examines the history and culture of Central America and the Caribbean islands. Students are expected to learn about, and critically analyze, the region's:

1) geography, including capital cities, major physical features, and leading commercial exports; 2) history of slavery and other coercive labor relations, and the impact of African and indigenous American resistance; 3) evolution from conquest to colonialism, post-emancipation, and post-independence; 4) complex multicultural and multiracial composition; 5) incorporation into the international capitalist system and its effect on the process of class and state formation; 6) social structure, including conflicts within and between various classes (i.e., peasants, workers, small business, plantation owners, and transnational corporations); and 7) historic relations with foreign nations including the United States, Great Britain, Spain, France, Netherlands, and Germany.

Required Readings:

Hilary Beckles and Verene Shepherd, eds., Caribbean Freedom (New York: Markus Wiener, 1996)

JosŽ Luis Gonz‡lez, Puerto Rico: The Four Storeyed Country (New York: Markus Wiener, 1993)

Catherine Moses, Real Life in Castro' s Cuba (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 2000)

Ralph Lee Woodward, Central America: A Nation Divided (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)

The following articles will be distributed by the instructor or placed on reserve at the Hellman Library:

Edna Acosta-Belen & Christine E. Bose, "Colonialism, Structural Subordination, and Empowerment: Women in the Development Process in Latin America and the Caribbean," in Women in the Latin American Development Process (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995): 15-36.

Tom Barry, et. al., "Introduction," in The Other Side of Paradise: Foreign Control in the Caribbean (NY: Grove, 1984): 1-11v Barbara Bush, "`The Family Tree is Not Cut': Women and Cultural Resistance in Slave Family Life in the British Caribbean," in Okihiro, ed., In Resistance: Studies in African, Caribbean, and Afro-American History (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1986): 117-132

Charles Conant, "Economic Bases of Imperialism," in The United States and the Orient (New York: Kennikat Press, 1971)

Michael Craton, "From Caribs to Black Caribs: The Amerindian Roots of Servile Resistance in the Caribbean," in Gary Y. Okihiro, ed.: 96-116

Duncan Green, "Latin America: Neoliberal Failure and the Search for Alternatives, Third World Quarterly 17, 1 (March 1996): 109-123

Campbell, Mavis C. "Maroons of the Caribbean." NACLA Report on the Americas 25, 4 (February 1992): 34-37 Franklin W. Knight & Colin A. Palmer, "The Caribbean: A Regional Overview," in Knight & Palmer: 1-20

Monica Schuler, "Akan Slave Rebellions in the British Caribbean," in Hillary Beckles and Verene Shepherd, eds., Caribbean Slave Society and Economy (New York: The New Press, 1991): 373-386v Whitten, Norman and Arlene Torres. "Blackness in the Americas." NACLA Report on the Americas 25, 4 (February 1992): 16-22

Eric Williams, "Capitalism and Slavery" in Beckles & Shepherd: 120-129

Course Requirements:

Grades will be based upon a map test (10%), class participation (20%), a research paper (40%), and a final exam (30%). The map test will be scheduled for February 7 and a second unscheduled map test will be administered later in the semester. The two grades will be averaged together or, if the score on the second exam is significantly higher, it will be used to figure the map test component of the final grade.

The class participation grade will be calculated based upon students' attendance, accurate and comprehensive notes on lectures and assigned readings, and performance in open class discussions. Students must keep a notebook that includes all reading and lecture notes, which will be submitted for evaluation at least three times during the semester.

The research paper should explain the causes of development or underdevelopment in a particular country in the region.

You should decide early on your country and discuss it with me so that you can submit a tentative bibliography for my approval within the first two weeks of class (January 31). As you design your research project, please keep in mind the objectives of this course, the themes developed in the course outline, and the contents of the assigned readings. Your paper should begin with an introduction that briefly summarizes your country's current social, political, and economic conditions. Then you should raise the question of how and why it developed in this way, in answer to which you should offer your specific thesis statement. This section should be followed by an historiographical discussion (including at least 5 secondary sources beyond the assigned readings) that demonstrates your command of the historical debates surrounding this issue. A draft of the historiographical section should be submitted no later than March 7.

Subsequent sections should variously analyze exogenous and endogenous factors which, in your view, explain the historical sources of its contemporary situation. These may include, but are by no means limited to: its geography; historic economic dependency; colonialism; imperialism; emigration and immigration; class, race, gender, and ethnic conflicts; inter-imperial rivalries; land tenure patterns; exploitative labor relations; fragmented nationalism; authoritarian political organization; popular mobilization; rebellion and revolution; etc. Your paper should conclude with a brief restatement of your thesis, an explanation of how it contributes to the historiographical debate, and a very brief overview of the most compelling ideas and information which support it.

You should submit a completed first-draft of your paper by April 4. Final papers are due on April 30. The final exam is scheduled for Wednesday, May 9 at 8:00-10:30 AM. It will be comprehensive and will require you to write on two questions selected from the following:

1. Describe the diversity of indigenous, pre-Columbian civilizations in the region and explain how their relationships with various European societies affected their development.

2. How did the steady expansion of transAtlantic markets after 1492 affect the encomienda, repartimiento, slavery, debt-peonage, contract labor, convict labor, "passport system" and metayage and how did these systems of land and labor control affect women, various social classes, and racial groups in the region?

3. How were the Haitian Revolution and Central American independence movements shaped and constrained by European imperial rivalries, the French Revolution, Napoleon's effort to preserve the French empire, and internal class and racial struggles within the independence and anti-slavery movements?

4. How did transAtlantic markets, foreign military intervention, dominant trade and investment patterns, internal class and racial conflicts, and external events like world war and global depression affect twentieth-century historical developments in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, and the country on which your individual research focused?

Course Outline:

I. The Problem--Foreign Control, Market Expansion, Regional Impoverishment, and Social Injustice: Neoliberalism & Class, Racial, and Gender Inequality, 1973-1999< p > Beckles & Shepherd: Intro
Green, 1-16
Gonzalez, 1-30
Whitten & Torres: 16-22
Woodward, ch. 10 1/24

Acosta-Belen: 15-36
Barry: 1-12
Knight & Palmer: 1-20 1/31

II. Colonial Sources of the Problem: Plantations, Slavery, and Export Dependency, 1492-1800

Campbell: 34-37 Woodward: chs. 1-3 2/7

Bush: 117-132
Craton: 96-116
Williams: 120-129
Schuler: 373-386 2/14

III. Post-Emancipation Sources: Free Trade, Liberalism, & Metropolitan Capitalist Development, 1800-1898

Woodward, chs. 4-5 2/21

Beckles & Shepherd: 1-27, 41-92, 93-151 2/28

Beckles & Shepherd: 169-214, 215-244, 330-50 3/7

IV. Post-independence Sources: Imperialism, Military Dictatorship, and Expansion vof Capitalist Market Relations, 1898-1941

Woodward: ch. 6
Conant 3/21

Gonzalez, 31-72
Beckles & Shepherd: 351-435 3/28

V. Imperialism's Impact on the Caribbean Basin: Capitalist Growth, Fragmented Nationalism, Social Marginalization, and Populist Political Polarization, 1898-1941

Woodward: ch. 7
Gonzalez, 102-123
Beckles & Shepherd: 511-518 4/4

VI. Regional Responses to Imperialism: Elite Accomodation, Popular Mobilization, Immigration, and Revolution, 1941- 1973

Woodward: chs. 8-9 4/11

Gonzalez, 124-131v Beckles & Shepherd: 541-574 4/18

VII. Final Exam Review 4/25

VIII. Review & Discuss Research Papers 5/2

Important Deadlines: The final will be a comprehensive essay exam, scheduled for Tuesday, May 4 at 11:00-1:30. You will be expected to write on two questions selected from the following:

1. Describe the diversity of indigenous, pre-Columbian civilizations in the region and explain how their relationships with various European societies affected their development.

2. How did the steady expansion of transAtlantic markets after 1492 affect the encomienda, repartimiento, slavery, debt-peonage, contract labor, convict labor, "passport system" and metayage and how did these systems of land and labor control affect women, various social classes, and racial groups in the region?

3. How were the Haitian Revolution and Central American independence movements shaped and constrained by European imperial rivalries, the French Revolution, Napoleon's effort to preserve the French empire, and internal class and racial struggles within the independence and anti-slavery movements?

4. How did transAtlantic markets, foreign military intervention, dominant trade and investment patterns, internal class and racial conflicts, and external events like world war and global depression affect twentieth-century historical developments in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, and the country on which your individual research focussed?

January 19 Research Workshop
January 26 Research Workshop
January 31 Select Research Topic
February 7 Map Test
March 7 Historiography Due
April 4 First Draft Due
April 30 Final Paper Due
May 9 Final Exam




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