No pre requisites needed
At the end of the course, students will have acquired theoretical and methodological tools to understand the complex evolution of contemporary Latin American history, from a social, political and in particular the cultural dimension, in relation to U.S. power.
Students will develop, in particular, analytical skills in order to critically understand recent Latin American history, within the whole region and in relation to the Inter-American context.
The goal of the course is to provide with notions of the main events and processes which characterise the historical development of the American subcontinent, with specific references to inter-American relations, across the whole XX century and placing particular emphasis on the analysis of contemporary events.
Students will also have improved their critical approach and understanding toward a broad issue: that of cultural diplomacy, in theory and practice, from an inter-American perspective.
The course, which centres particularly on social and cultural processes, as well as on political and institutional relations, aims at reflecting critically on themes and problems connected with the relationship between Latin America and the United States. Once the terms of the historiographical debate regarding the origins of North American imperialism in Latin America have been clarified, the reflection will focus on certain salient moments, frequently comparing events and forms of representations. A special attention will be dedicated to the models of periodisation which have hypothesized by different historiographic stances, which sometimes emphasise continuities, or on the contrary discontinuities, among the course of this time frame.
After the topic of the Spanish-American War of 1898 and that of the 1920 s (a crucial turning point for the Latin American collective identity), we will analyse another crucial moment of U.S. cultural diplomacy toward Latin America, the origins of Latin American Studies.
The course will then focus particularly on the Cold War. Not only a geo-political phenomenon, but also a real popular culture, nurtured and testified by a plurality of sources (i.e. films, comics, graphic novels etc.) and a plurality of socials actors (i.e. cultural foundations, student exchange programs, artistic exhibitions and so on).
The teacher will organize lectures and power point presentations but will also constantly stimulate the debate in class and the rising of potential questions coming from the students. Students’ active participation will be crucial for the course success and highly appreciated.
Class will be supported by slides, audiovisual material and Internet navigation through digital archives to show primary sources online (i.e. digital archives on the cultural cold war). In some cases there will be organized conferences with specialists of cultural diplomacy and Inter-American relations.
Learning skills will be assessed through a final written exam during two hours and a half. There will be also the possibility of attending an oral exam, a previous written test and or written papers. The test will include open ended questions and multiple choice questions in order to explore the specific notions acquired while attending the course and studying the course texts. Open ended questions will be naturally scored more than multiple choice questions.
In answering the open ended questions will be particularly appreciated clarity, synthesis, pertinence of answers regarding how questions are formulated. All students are invited to read carefully the entire questions before answering. It will be very important, also, to write clearly in terms of spelling and syntax, otherwise it can be penalized the teacher’s understanding of the answers.
The tests will differentiate between students attending and not attending the course. For the first ones, the test will refer also to the historiographic stance adopted by the teacher and to all audiovisual material used during the course. In any case, textbooks must be thoroughly studied, and can’t be replaced by the test scores. For the second ones, the test will be essentially focused on the written texts. For both there will be the possibility to have further elements of assessing advancements during the course and before the exams, such as short papers on topics whose content will be discussed with the teacher during specific private sessions. For students who will prefer the oral exam, it will also be very appreciated clarity and synthesis while speaking, critical ability of articulate theoretical concepts, beyond single specific notions. The final goal is to assess the basic knowledge of Latin American contemporary history, in relation to US history and culture.