Course Synopses

590:100 Themes in Latin American Studies Unity in Diversity - A Brief Introduction to Latin America

Pre-requisite: None
This course is designed to introduce students to Latin America, a region of great diversities of peoples, institutions, and geography, yet sharing a common basis in language, religion, history, culture, law, colonial experience and overall social, political and developmental patterns. This is the fundamental theme of “unity in diversity” that makes Latin America a very exciting field for study. In sum, this course emphasizes the significance of the area as a whole along with ample references to the individual countries in the region. The following issues will be discussed: the physical and human geography, the Iberian colonial experience, the political and economic systems, race and ethnicity, class, gender, and inter-American affairs.

Course Learning Goals:
Upon completion of the course, students will demonstrate:
• Knowledge of basic definitions and relevant background;
• An understanding of the current political, social, and economic developments in the region;
• An appreciation of the increasing global importance of the region;
• The ability to recognize and challenge stereotypes and myths about Latin American culture and Latin American peoples.

Textbook:
Richard S. Hillman & Thomas J. D’Agostino (eds). Understanding Contemporary Latin America. Fourth Edition. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-58826-791-7

Evaluation:
Class Grade: 15%
(daily attendance and participation)
Two tests: 50%
(tests consist of multiple choice questions; the second test covers material from the last weeks of the course)
Four quizzes: 20% (5% each)
Presentation: 15%
(in-group work; students choose a topic discussed in the course in consultation with the instructor)
Grading Scale: A=90+; B+=87-89; B=80-86; C+=77-79; C=70-76; D=60-69; F=59-

Contact Geisa M. Rocha, Ph.D.(gerocha1@aol.com) if you have questions about the course.