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Unit information: Modern Latin American Revolutions (Level H Lecture Response) in 2014/15

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Unit name Modern Latin American Revolutions (Level H Lecture Response)
Unit code HIST39011
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Cervantes
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Modern Latin America has been unduly neglected by historians since the fall of the Berlin wall and the consequent decline in interest in Revolutions and peasant studies, all of which had made the region highly popular in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. This unit centres on a reassessment of the study of Revolutions and the role they have played in the development of modern American nations. It will study four major Latin American revolutions in chronological order  the Mexican (1910), the Bolivian (1952), the Cuban (1959) and the Nicaraguan (1979)  each time aiming to highlight common problems that are central to our understanding of modern Latin America. Among these are issues of nation building, land reform, militarism, democracy, the church and liberation theology, neo-liberalism, and the return of left-wing populism. Students will also be encouraged to come up with their own suggestions for independent study.


Level H Lecture Response units offer students a further opportunity to work within a long term historical perspective, both chronological and thematic, across different time frames and a range of countries/cultures/societies. The combination of interactive lectures and written work enable students to respond in a critical way to the particular approach taken within the individual options and allow them to develop their own ideas. The level H unit differs from the level I LRU in that it will normally have a slightly narrower focus, be more interactive and more interpretative.

This particular unit aims:

  • To provide a broad grounding in the history of revolutions in modern Latin America
  • To provide a particular perspective from the tutor to which students can react critically and build their own individual views and interpretations.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have achieved:

  • a wider historical knowledge of a range of periods/geographical areas/themes
  • a deeper awareness of how to approach a long term historical analysis
  • the ability to set individual issues within their longer term historical context
  • the ability to analyse and generalise about issues of continuity and change
  • the ability to select pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate more general historical points
  • the ability to derive benefit from and contribute effectively to large group discussion
  • the ability to identify a particular academic interpretation, evaluate it critically and form an individual viewpoint.

Teaching details

  • Weekly 2-hour interactive lecture sessions
  • Tutorial feedback on essay
  • Access to tutorial consultation with unit tutor in office hours

Assessment Details

1 x 3000 word essay (50%) and 1 x 2 hour exam (50%)

Reading and References

  • Edwin Williamson, The Penguin History of Latin America (2003)
  • T. Skidmore and P. Smith, Modern Latin America, 6th edition (2004)
  • Alan Knight, The Mexican Revolution, 2 vols (1986)
  • James Dunkerley, Rebellion in the Veins (1984)
  • James Dunkerley, Power in the Isthmus (1989)
  • M. P�rez-Stable, The Cuban Revolution, 2nd ed. (1999)