Latin America in the 20th Century (HIH2136A)

StaffDr Tobias Rupprecht - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to help you develop your skills in researching, interpreting, and analysing both primary and secondary material, and in reporting on your work. It provides you with an opportunity to explore broadly the rich and fascinating history of a non-European world region, and it helps you to develop the depth of understanding you will require to study more specialised areas of history. It will also give you an opportunity to work in a team on a group presentation.

In exploring the events and developments of Latin American modern history, you will be invited to view regional histories in global context, and to learn the techniques of transnational and transregional history necessary to understand the political, economic and cultures flows across the world. By the end of the module, you will be able to analyse the factors and events that have shaped modern Latin America, and forge independent arguments through critical engagement with translated primary sources and secondary material.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Display a broad knowledge of main political, social, economic and cultural developments in the history of modern Latin America.
  • 2. Understand a number the key historiographical debates in the field.
  • 3. Evaluate the main themes in the subject and to collate information upon, and evaluate in greater detail, those aspects of the module discussed in seminar and especially those topics selected by students for their coursework.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Analyse the key developments of the 20th century outside of the North-Atlantic world.
  • 5. Collate data from a range of sources, both primary and secondary, in English.
  • 6. Interpret primary sources.
  • 7. Trace long-term as well as short-term historical developments.
  • 8. Recognise and deploy historical terminology correctly.
  • 9. Assess different approaches to historical writing in areas of controversy.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Work both independently and in a group, including participating in oral seminar discussions.
  • 11. Identify a topic, select, comprehend, and organise primary and secondary materials on that topic with little guidance.
  • 12. Produce to a deadline and in examination conditions a coherent argument.

Syllabus plan

The lecture and seminar programme will cover such topics as Latin American revolutions and political upheavals, the emergence of populism, Argentinean nationalism, the role of Latin American states in the Second World War, the Cold War in the Americas, the Cuban Revolution and its repercussions in the Caribbean and on the continent, Latin America’s role within the Third World, military dictatorships, guerrilla movements, the civil wars in Central America, the return to democracy; the reactions to the Great Depression, economic nationalism and import substitution, dependency theory, Chile as an authoritarian laboratory for neoliberalism; the role of Latin American intellectuals, the export of popular culture; European and Asian migration to South America, Latinos in the United States; Brazil and the group of BRIC states, the return of leftist populism in Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22 hoursLectures
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22 hoursSeminars; these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar and present on a given topic in groups of 4 on 4 occasions
Guided independent study22 hoursWeb-based activities located on ELE – preparation for seminars and presentations
Guided independent study234 hoursReading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan x 1500 words1-12Verbal and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay303000 words1-12Verbal and written
Group Presentation2025 minutes1-11
Exam502 questions in 2 hours1-12Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay3000 words1-12Referral/deferral period
Group PresentationScript as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes1-11Referral/deferral period
Exam2 questions in 2 hours1-12Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic Reading:


Hal Brands: Latin America’s Cold War, Harvard University Press 2010


Greg Grandin: Empire's Workshop. Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism, Owl Books 2006


Eduardo Galeano: Open Veins of Latin America. Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. Monthly Review Press 1973


Plinio Mendoza et al.: Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot. Madison Books 2000

Nicola Miller: In the Shadow of the State. Intellectuals and the Quest for National Identity in Twentieth-Century Spanish America. Verso 1999


Peter H. Smith: Talons of the Eagle. Latin America, the United States, and the World, Oxford University Press 2008

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?