LAS 386 • COMPAR LATIN AMER REVOLUTIONS
5:00 PM-8:00 PM
In this course, students will study and compare two social revolutions in twentieth century Latin America: the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the Cuban Revolution of 1959. Each qualifies as a social revolution because it experienced an abrupt - and violent - transformation of political, economic, and social relationships. In addition, both the Mexican and Cuban Revolutions have challenged the foreign policy of the United States. Yet the different outcomes of these revolutions present the student with a paradox that begs explanation. Why did the Mexican Revolution, despite the massive participation of peasants and workers, not result in the same degree of radicalism as did the middle-class revolution in Cuba? Discussions in this course will focus on the theory of revolution, especially the recent work of Theda Skocpol and Alan Knight. The subjects for comparative analysis include: the reasons for revolt, leaders and participants, post-revolutionary reforms, and the international consequences of Latin American revolutions. One's grade is based upon the student's contributions to seminar discussions, a mid-term essay on the Mexican Revolution and an final essay on the Cuban Revolution. For the essay, each student will focus on a different aspect of social revolution such as the army, peasants, labor, middle class, elite, the state, the church, foreign interests, economic nationalism, etc.
REQUIRED READING Alan Knight, The Mexican Revolution, 2 vols Julia Sweig, Inside the Cuban Revolution Louis A. Perez, Jr. Cuba Between Reform and Revolution And others.