Introduction to Latin America and the Caribbean: History, Politics, Culture

The details
Interdisciplinary Studies Centre (ISC)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
13 May 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA T711 Latin American Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA T721 Latin American Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA T731 Latin American Studies,
BA T7N3 Latin American Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA T7N2 Latin American Studies with Business Management,
BA T7N4 Latin American studies with Business Management (Including Foundation Year),
BA T7M8 Latin American studies with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA T7M9 Latin American Studies with Human Rights

Module description

This interdisciplinary module introduces the history, politics and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean, offering insights into major trends and processes that have shaped the region. As we move from pre-Columbian indigenous cultures up to the mid-twentieth century revolution, we will draw on perspectives from a broad range of academic disciplines, ranging from anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies, as well as economics, politics, and history.

The weekly lectures and seminars will examine a series of core topics, such as: indigenous societies, European conquest, colonial life, the quest for independence, the challenges of nation building, and revolutionary struggle. As well as engaging with scholarly texts, we will also explore the topics covered in the module through the rich cultural production of Latin America and the Caribbean, by engaging with historical documents, digitised primary sources, political manifestos, films, documentaries, literary texts and artworks, including those held at the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA), the University's unique resource.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

1. To gain a critical awareness of the key historical processes that shaped the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean

2. To study historical phenomena in interdisciplinary frameworks

3. To explore links between historical processes, socio-political formations, and cultural production

4. To gain an understanding of geo-historical relations between centres and peripheries in a broad historical context.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, the student should have:

1. Interdisciplinary understanding of core processes that have shaped pre- and post-colonial Latin America and the Caribbean;

2. Comprehension of how primary sources (historical documents, cultural production) shed light on these processes;

3. Ability to identify links between social, political, economic and cultural phenomena;

4. Preliminary grasp of comparative reasoning and of the links between macro and micro processes;

5. Capacity to comprehend and summarise primary and secondary sources;

6. Core skills to support independent research (text comprehension, analysis and summary; search methods for bibliography; essay writing)

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

There will be a one hour lecture and one-hour class/seminar each week. All teaching events will be accessible to students on and off campus either face-to-face or remotely through online teaching. Week 8 is Reading Week.


  • Quilter, Jeffrey. (2008) 'Tradition and Change in the Central Andes', in A Companion to Latin American History, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
  • Renda, Mary. (2008) Practical Sovereignty: The Caribbean Region and the Rise of US Empire, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
  • Helg, Aline. (2008) 'Abolition and Afro-Latin Americans', in A Companion to Latin American History, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
  • Chambers, Sarah. (2008) 'New Nations and New Citizens: Political Culture in Nineteenth-Century Mexico, Peru, and Argentina', in A Companion to Latin American History, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
  • Holloway, Thomas H. (2008) A companion to Latin American history, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
  • Bantjes, Adrian. (2008) 'The Mexican Revolution', in A Companion to Latin American History, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
  • Phillips, William Et al. (2008) 'Portuguese and Spaniards in the Age of European Expansion', in A Companion to Latin American History, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
  • Martinez- Fernandez, Luis. (2008) 'The Cuban Revolution', in A Companion to Latin American History, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
  • Rodriguez, Jaime. (2008) 'The Process of Spanish American Independence', in A Companion to Latin American History, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
  • O'Toole, Rachel. (2008) 'Religion, Society and Culture in the Colonial Era', in A Companion to Latin American History, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Reading Summary (750 words)    25% 
Coursework   Essay 1 (1000 words)    35% 
Coursework   Essay 2 (1500 words)    40% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Lisa Blackmore, email: lisa.blackmore@essex.ac.uk.
Interdisciplinary Studies Centre General Office - 6.130; Email: istudies@essex.ac.uk.



External examiner

Dr James Scorer
University of Manchester
Senior Lecturer in Latin American Cultural Studies
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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