LAS 386 • U.S. PRESENCE IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (RESEARCH SEMINAR)
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
This course is a research seminar designed for graduate students undertaking advanced independent research in the history of the U.S. presence in Latin America and the Caribbean. It takes up the challenge posed by recent scholarship on empire and transnationalism by training graduate students in the theories and methodologies of this rapidly changing field. The ultimate goal of the course is to encourage students to conceptualize the United States and Latin America as part of a broader American interconnected transborder space, rather than a hemisphere of different nation-states. Thus, this is not a course in U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America. Instead, it intentionally seeks to blur the boundaries that we use to separate U.S. and Latin American/Caribbean history in order to challenge students to think about writing post-national or transnational histories of the U.S. presence in the Americas.
The first eight weeks of the semester covers some of the recent scholarship on the U.S. Presence in the Americas during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, emphasizing the contributions of cultural history. In the second half of the semester, we will shift our focus to the specific research projects of the students in the course. Seminar participants will conduct archival research on their own and produce a 20-25 page research paper that might serve as a stepping stone to a dissertation topic. A significant portion of the term will be devoted to peer reading and workshopping of each others' papers so that students gain hands on experience with the pleasures and challenges of crafting research papers. Thus, the course is designed for students who are willing to conduct archival research or for those who have available research data that they want to use for their final paper. Seminar participants are expected to have a solid background in Latin American/Caribbean historiography. A reading knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese is highly desirable, but not required.