People, Power and Protest in Latin America, c.1895 to the present day

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Tanya Harmer SAR M.11


This course is available on the BA in History, BSc in Government and History, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and History. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

HY239 is designed to provide students with an introduction to the history of Latin America from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Its focus is predominantly on Latin Americans and what happened within the region. However, the course will also explore Latin Americans’ interaction with the wider world, including their pivotal and expanding relationship with the United States during the twentieth century. Major themes covered on the course include identity, citizenship and nationalism; neo-colonialism and anti-imperialism; state-building and concepts of “development”; revolution and resistance; dictatorship and violence; democratization and the struggle for social justice. Among more specific topics covered in lectures and seminars are Cuba’s War of Independence; the Mexican Revolution; migration and workers’ movements; the Guatemalan Revolution and the US-sponsored 1954 coup against Jacobo Arbenz’s government; the Cuban Revolution; the Catholic Church and Liberation Theology; Allende’s Chile and the 1973 Chilean coup; military dictatorship and anticommunism in the Southern Cone; solidarity networks and Human Rights; Central American revolutionary movements and conflict; democratization and peace; transitional justice and memory wars; the rise and fall of Latin America’s Pink Tide; neoliberalism; and the struggle for indigenous and LGBT rights. In addressing these themes and topics, we will be paying particular attention to histories of race, class and gender with students encouraged to consider how different Latin Americans experienced and influenced the course of history in the region.


Students will engage with workshop content through recorded lectures and podcasts and externally sourced content.

Students will engage with seminar content in a variety of ways, including live sessions, small group meetings, asynchronous Moodle posts, and short presentations.

There will be a reading week in the Michaelmas and the Lent Terms.

Formative coursework

Students will be required to do two presentations, to write one 2,000-word essay and one 1,000-1,500-word book review, and to contribute to weekly Moodle discussion forums. These assignments will not form part of the final assessment but they are a required component of the course, and students must complete them in order to be admitted to the course examination.

Indicative reading

A detailed course outline and reading list, subdivided by weekly topics, will be provided at the first lecture and will also be available on Moodle and in the departmental public folders. However, the following works are useful introductions for the course:

  • Appelbaum, Macpherson and Rosemblatt (eds), Race and Nation in Modern Latin America;
  • Brown, From Frontiers to Football: An Alternative History of Latin America since 1800;
  • Burgos-Debray, (ed.), I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala;
  • Chase, Revolution within the Revolution: Women and Gender Politics in Cuba, 1952-1962;
  • Chasteen, Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America; Dinges, The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents;
  • Drinot (ed), Che’s Travels: The Making of a Revolutionary in 1950s Latin America; Guillermoprieto, The Heart that Bleeds: Latin America Now;
  • Finchelstein, From Fascism to Populism in History; Kelly, Sovereign Emergencies: Latin America and the Making of Global Human Rights Politics;
  • Klaren, Peru: Society and Nationhood in the Andes;
  • Moya, The Oxford Handbook of Latin American History;
  • Munro, Feminism for the Americas: The Making on an International Human Rights Movement;
  • Skidmore and Smith, Modern Latin America;
  • Taffet and Walcher, The United States and Latin America: A History with Documents;
  • Williamson, The Penguin History of Latin America


Essay (25%, 3000 words) in the LT.
Take-home assessment (75%) in the ST.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2019/20: 14

Average class size 2019/20: 14

Capped 2019/20: Yes (45)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills