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AP/SOSC4450 3.0A

Aspects of Modern Latin American and Caribbean Studies: Culture and Politics

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AP/POLS6566/SPT 6305
Advanced Topics in Latin American and Caribbean Studies


Curriculum Vitae




SOSC 4450 3.0 / HUMA 4300 3.0
Aspects of Modern Latin American and Caribbean Studies: Culture and Politics

Fall 2014

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Tuesdays 11:30 AM -2:20 PM
Room: 2000 Vari Hall

Course Director: Professor J.A. Hellman
Office 133 Founders College
Telephone: 736-2100 ext. 44087
Web site:
Office hours: Fall term:  Drop in:  Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10:30-11:20 AM or at all other times by appointment.

Week 1:
September 9th

Introduction to the Course

and screening of the first half of a film by Gillo Pontecorvo, “Burn!” (“Quemada” in the original)

Week 2:
September 16th

Colonial Rule/Independence/ Neocolonial Rule

Eric R. Wolf, "Iberians in the Americas," Europe and the People Without History, (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1982), pp. 131-157;

Franklin W. Knight, "The Political Geography of the Pre-Hispanic Caribbean,"  in The Caribbean:  The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism, 1st edit., (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1978); pp. 3-22;

[Recommended for those interested:  Alfred W. Crosby, Jr., "The Biological Consequences of 1492,"   NACLA, "The Conquest of Nature, 1492-1992;" Report on the Americas, Vol. 25, N. 2, Sept. 1991; and Carolyn Fick, “The Saint Domingue Slave Insurrection of 1791: A Socio-Political and Cultural Analysis,” Journal of Caribbean History, Volume 25 (1&2) 1991, p. 1-40.]

Film: Gillo Pontecorvo,   “Burn!”: Part II

Week 3:
September 23th

The Mexican Revolution

Judith Adler Hellman, Mexico in Crisis, (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1978, 1983), Chapter 1, “The Revolution,” pp. 3-31. 

Ricardo Pozas, Juan the Chamula, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971).      

Film: (6.5 minutes, with subtitles) (13.5 minutes, in Spanish)

Week 4:
September 30th

Patterns of Land Tenure: Debt peonage and agricultural wage labour on hacienda and plantation

Begin reading:  Sidney Mintz, Worker in the Cane, (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1974) “Preface,” and Chapters 1-4.

Week 5:
October 7th

The Plantation

Sidney Mintz, op cit, Chapters 5-8.  (Especially note pp. 123-2 and 168-176)

Film: “Sugar Cane Alley”

[Highly recommended reading:  Sidney Mintz and Eric R. Wolf , “Haciendas and Plantations in Middle America and the Antilles,” Social and Economic Studies, Volume VI, September 1957, pp. 380-412.]

Week 6:
October 14th

Independence, Neo-Colonialism, Revolution and Resistance:  The Oral History Project

“Introduction” plus Chapter One: Nadine Ramharack,  “Resilience: Life in Rural Trinidad;” Chapter Two:  Alyssa Sewlal, “An East Indian in the West Indies;” Chapter Three:   Richard Lanns, “From Plantation to Tourist ‘Paradise’ in St. Lucia;” Chapter Four: Kevin Edmonds, “Green Gold and Dark Days: The Life of a St. Lucian Banana Farmer ”  in Judith Adler Hellman, ed. Changing Times and Changing Lives in the Caribbean and Latin America:  Ten Oral Histories, (Toronto:  CERLAC, 2013).

Week 7:

The Oral History Project (continued) 

Chapter Five: Ashleigh Phillips, “Race, Class, Revolution and the U.S. Invasion of Grenada”
 plus any two of the following five chapters:

Chapter Six:  Judith Adler Hellman, “Invasion and Resistance in the Dominican Republic;”
Chapter Seven: Michael McLean Ayearst:  A Life on the Meskito Coast During the Nicaraguan Revolution;”
Chapter Eight: Lorenzo Vargas, “Winding Road of Fear;”
Chapter Nine:  Juan Manuel Vidal, “Civil War and Peace in El Salvador” or
Chapter Ten: Maria Elena Hernández, “A Defiant Woman in Post Revolutionary Mexico”

In class midterm exam:   1.5  hours.

Week 8:
October 28th

Resistance in the Caribbean

Julia Alvarez,  In the Time of the Butterflies. ( Chapel Hill, NC:  Algonquin Books, 1994), Chapters 1-6.

Week 9:
November 4th

Resistance in the Caribbean (continued)

Julia Alvarez, op. cit. Chapters 7-12

[Recommended:   Patrick E. Bryan and Karl Watson, eds., Not for Wages Alone:  Eyewitness Summaries of the 1938 Labour Rebellion in Jamaica, Introduction, pp. 1-14; Roderkick Francis, pp. 41-50; Ken Hill, pp. 51-4; Kathleen Cross, pp. 102-3]

Week 10:November 11th

Strategies:  Resistance and Migration

J. A. Hellman, The World of Mexican Migrants: The Rock and the Hard Place, ( New York:  The New Press, 2008),   Preface, Introduction, Chapters 1 -9; plus “A Note on Methodology,”  pp 233-241. 

(with chapters 10-13  recommended only.)

Week 11:
November 18th

Resistance and Migration (continued)

 J. A. Hellman, The World of Mexican Migrants: The Rock and the Hard Place, chapters 14, 16, 17, 19 
(with chapters 15, 18, and “Conclusions”  recommended only. )

Edwidge Danticat, “Marie Micheline: A Life in Haiti, The New Yorker, June11 & 18, 2007, pp. 96-103.

Week 12:
November 25th

Between Diaspora and “Home”

Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, (New York: Riverhead Books, 2007), pp 1-207.

Film: “In the Time of the Butterflies

December 2 is officially listed as a “Study Day” 

However, anyone who wishes to come to our usual seminar room at the usual time can participate in a Review of the Course  and a discussion of

Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, pp. 210-345.   Attendance is voluntary.

Final Exam:    25% of final grade, to be held in the regular examination period.  


You may submit an oral history with a final deadline for submission of December 5, 2014


York University