How to Read Modern Latin America

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HOW TO READ
MODERN LATIN AMERICA
LATI 50
INTRODUCTION TO LATIN AMERICA
… and learn to love it!
CASE STUDIES
 Mexico: The Taming of a Revolution
 Central America and the Caribbean: Within the U.S.
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Orbit
Cuba: Key Colony, Socialist State
The Andes: Soldiers, Oligarchs, and Indians
Colombia: Civility and Violence
Venezuela: The Perils of Prosperity
Argentina: Progress and Stalemate
Chile: Repression and Democracy
Brazil: The Awakening Giant
ANALYTICAL THEMES
 economic transformations induce social changes which,
in turn, lead to political consequences
 shifting alliances among social class groups give shape
to patterns of political conflict over time
 a country’s place in the international division of labor
defines the shape of available paths to economic growth
 differences in economic processes have produced
different forms of social structure and patterns of social
change
SOCIAL STRUCTURE
 Upper Class:
 Urban (industrialists, bankers)
 Rural (landowners)
 Middle Class:
 Urban (merchants, lawyers, etc.)
 Rural (small farmers)
 Popular/Lower Class:
 Urban (workers)
 Rural (peasants, campesinos)
 National Institutions:
 State (including military)
 Church
 External Sector:
 Economic (investors, merchants)
 Political (foreign governments)
CHRONOLOGY OF CHANGE
 Liberal Era (1880s-1920s)
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Export-import development
Oligarchs and strong men
 Import-Substitution Industrialization (1930s-1970s)
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Industrialization
Populism and dictatorship
 Socialist Alternative (1950s-1980s)
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Revolutionary movements
State-controlled economies
 Neoliberalism (1980s-present)
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Pro-market policies
Democracy (of sorts)
COMPARING POLITICS
 Mexico: Revolution of 1910 + dominant-party system
 Central America and Caribbean: plantation society, U.S. influence,
dictatorship and protest
 Cuba: plantation society, socialist revolution, resistance to United
States
 Question A: Compare Mexican and Cuban revolutions
 Question B: Trace colonial legacies in Mexico and CA + Caribbean
 Question C: Why not more revolutionary ferment in CA + Caribbean?
THE MLA WEBSITE
 Address: <library.brown.edu/modernlatinamerica>
 Overall structure
 Documents 35, 37
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