Fall 2001                                                                                              Teresita Martínez Vergne

HIST 50-01                                                                                  Office hours: M 2:30-4 pm

Old Main 001                                                                                                      Th 10-11:30 am

TTh 8:30-10 am                                                                                    Old Main 304, ext. 6488

writing assistant: Shaina Aber



The characteristics that countries have recognized as forming part of the attributes of the national character have not always been the same across space and  time.  This course will explore the insistent efforts of several Latin American republics to define what kinds of people would form part of their nation -- which is to say, to decide who would or not be entitled to citizenship.  Identity politics, the strategic working out and projecting of an image to promote a particular axis of alignment, was one way for the state to reinforce its preferred notions of national synthesis.  The reasons for embracing certain groups of people and excluding others, and the ways in which the process of selection is carried out, are questions of enduring relevance, that have also acquired immense significance in certain periods and specific places. What is our object of study in an academic setting has formed part of the lived experience of millions of people in the past and to this day.


The growing historiography on the growth of nationalism and definitions of citizenship in Latin America has focused -- I would venture to say, in chronological order -- on class, race, and gender.  We will be reading the latest scholarship on several countries, which analyzes how these axes of power bear on each other.  The readings are organized roughly in chronological order, but we will also be paying attention to the authors’ thrust in examining the forces at play in defining nationhood.  At the end of the course, we will have looked, probably ad nauseam, at the factors influencing the national image: legislation, religious considerations, national pride, ethnicity, imperialism, labor activism, misogyny, racism, political expediency, and more.  Although I will be lecturing some of the time, you will be called on regularly to contribute ideas based on your readings and expected to participate in a more formal manner at other (specified) moments. 



You will be required to take two partial exams and to write three papers: two short ones based on assigned readings and a longer paper, which will require scholarly research.  The partial exams are necessary and temporary evils.  The papers, on the other hand, deserve your ongoing attention and all the enthusiasm and good cheer you can muster, because the research and writing skills you will develop and the information you yourself collect will most certainly stay with you for a long time.  For that reason, the writing assistant and I will dedicate a great deal of time and devote much effort to giving instructions in class, monitoring your progress, writing extensive comments on your drafts, and so on.  I expect you to respond accordingly.


You are also required to participate in class -- totally.  This means you must do the reading on time, contribute to discussion, initiate conversations, comment on material, and generally work with your classmates. In addition, I am going to ask you to take charge of class for about 10 minutes one day and engage your classmates on some aspect of the reading assigned, preferably if it has to do with the research for your paper.  I imagine you can do this easily by showing a short clip of a video or provoking discussion around a relevant question or distributing some other textual or visual material -- it will be your call. You will receive ample instructions regarding assignments well before they are due.  The payoffs of this partnership in learning, I hope, will be many.


One final requirement is attendance to the History department's speakers' series.  This is something we are asking of all introductory course students, as a way to expose them to how other historians practice our craft.  Only 3-4 evenings of the semester will be taken up by this activity, which culminates in the senior conference, where you can see what students like you can produce after four years of hard work and dedication (or not . . .).  Although the speakers last year were very engaging (and they will be again this year), it was the senior conference that was a blast.  I'm sure you will think so too.


A few caveats -- It is your responsibility to obtain full daily coverage on everything that goes on in class if you are absent.  Excused absences from in-class discussion can be made up through written work agreed on by both instructor and student.  If you miss the midterm due to illness, you can make it up on Wednesday, November 28 at 3 pm in my office.  Grades will be reduced considerably on any assignments turned in late.  Plagiarism  will invalidate any written work presented.  All work listed in the section "Calculation of Final Grade" must be done in order to receive a passing grade, and everything you may be missing is due the last day of class.  Incompletes will be granted only under the most adverse circumstances.  Keep track of deadlines, pace yourself, make allowances for "malfunctions" (equipment, others', your own) during the semester, read ahead when you can, draft papers and consult necessary sources and resources in advance, stay alert, and always check with me if in doubt.  



Each student who is or may become a history major should place one piece of written work of his or her choosing from this course in a file which will be maintained for them in the history office.  See the department coordinator for assistance.  This will be your own personal file that will eventually help to assess your own academic growth when, as a senior, you complete your major in history and take part in an evaluation of the department. The history department’s explicit goals for its majors are enumerated in the college catalog, and we look forward to your assistance in providing feedback in how well we are meeting these goals.



I keep office hours on Monday afternoons, from 2:30 to 4, and on Thursday mornings, from 10 to 11:30.  If you know you are going to come see me, let me know ahead of time, so I can allocate time accordingly.  You can also just show up, but run the risk of waiting a while.  In either case, always let your presence be known as soon as you arrive to my office, so I expedite matters with whoever is with me at the time.  If it’s absolutely impossible for you to see me on the days designated, we can arrange to meet at another time.  My office is located in Old Main 304.


CALCULATION OF FINAL GRADE                                          

Requirement                                                                          Percentage of final grade

1.  First partial exam

     based on class and required reading up to that point              15%

2.  Papers based on readings (4 pages max each)

     on Kinsbruner and Hanchard                                                                   30%

3.  Research paper (10 pages max)

     taking off from a book of your choice                                                      20%

4. Second partial exam

     based on class and required reading and films

     since the midterm                                                                         20%

5. Class participation

     based on class attendance and participation,

     including speakers' series and "taking charge"                           15%



Julia Alvarez. In the Name of Salomé

Sarah Chambers.  From Subjects to Citizens.  Honor, Gender, and Politics in Arequipa, Peru, 1780-1854

Jay Kinsbruner. Not of Pure Blood. The Free People of Color and Racial Prejudice in Nineteenth Century Puerto Rico

Paul Vanderwood. The Power of God Against the Guns of Government.  Religious Upheaval in Mexico at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century

Sueann Caulfied. In Defense of Honor.  Sexual Morality, Modernity, and Nation in Early Twentieth Century Brazil

Aviva Chomsky and Aldo Lauria-Santiago, eds.  Identity and Struggle at the Margins of the Nation-State.  The Laboring Peoples of Central America and the Hispanic Caribbean

Michael Hanchard. Racial Politics in Contemporary Brazil


The books listed above, all of which you must read, are available for purchase at Ruminator.  Although I have tried to spread the work evenly and rationally throughout the semester, you may find yourself overburdened by the reading sometimes (and quite relaxed at others).  All the books are monographs, and I have not been able to assign them in sections except by taking into account the number of pages, so we will have to treat them as a unit when you are done with them.  You will also be responsible for other (short) reading assignments in the course of the semester.  All reading assignments will be on reserve in the library.  Please read in anticipation of high demands when an assignment is available only on reserve.




Sept 2      Discussion: Alvarez

Sept 6      Introduction to the course

                  Choose or be assigned a book for research paper




Sept 10   evening: talk by Roger Geunveur Smith (and showing of Spike Lee film about his play on the life of Huey Newton)

Sept 11   Native slaves and subjects

                  Read: Simpson, pp. 1-15 (on reserve)

                  Be reading: Chambers, book for research paper

Sept 13   Early legislation

                  Read: Keen, pp. 78-82 (on reserve)

                  Be reading: Chambers, book for research paper


Sept 18   Africans, Natives, and castes

                  Read: Burkholder & Johnson, pp. 194-207 (on reserve)

                  Be reading: Chambers

                  Have read: book for research paper

Sept 20   Honor in the late 18th century

                  Discussion: Chambers


Sept 25   Bibliographic instruction

                  Due: paragraph on argument of book

Sept 27   Purity of blood at the turn of the century

                  Read: Lavrin, ed., Sex and Marriage, pp. 18, 210-213 (on reserve)


Oct 2         First partial exam


Long 19th century

Oct 4         Creation of creole "race" (including women) at independence

                  Read: Franco, pp. 79-102 (on reserve)

                  Be reading: Kinsbruner

                  Due: prospectus and bibliography


Oct 9         Equality under Liberalism

                  Be reading: Kinsbruner

evening    Film: Camila

Oct 11      Discussion: Camila

                  Due: narrative outline and annotated bibliography


Oct 16      African-Americans in a colonial setting

                  Discussion: Kinsbruner

                  Show: First draft of Kinsbruner

Oct 18      (White) Immigration

                  Read: Keen, pp. 222-223 (on reserve)

                  Due: Kinsbruner paper


Oct 23      The racial politics of independence

                  Be reading: Vanderwood

Oct 25      NO CLASS -- Fall break


Oct 30      The racial politics of citizenship

                  Discussion: Vanderwood

Nov 1       Racism as foreign policy

                  Due: first draft of research paper


Nov 6       Nationalizing blackness

                  Read: Chomsky & Lauria Santiago, eds., pp. 1-25, 335-365, 229-292

Nov 8       meetings with instructor and writing assistant

                  Bring: your papers, with a "to-do" list


Nov 13     Indigenous mestizos

                  Read: Chomsky & Lauria Santiago, eds., pp. 25-94, 151-169

Nov 15     Indigenismo

                  Due: research paper


Nov 20     The sexual politics of nationalism

                  Read: Caulfield, pp. 1-105

Nov 22     NO CLASS -- Thanksgiving break


Nov 27     Family and nation

                  Read: Caulfield, pp. 105-195

Nov 29     The class politics of citizenship

                  Read: Chomsky & Lauria Santiago, eds.,  pp. 94-151, 169-226, 292-235


Dec 3        evening: senior conference!

Dec 4        Film: Mirrors of the heart, Americas Series



Dec 6        Race and class in Brazil

                  Read: Hanchard

                  Show: first draft of Hanchard paper


Dec 11     Wrap-up

                  Due: paper on Hanchard

                  Read again: Chomsky & Lauria Santiago, eds., pp. 1-25, 335-365

Dec 13     Second partial exam