Latin America

The Latin America regional pathway explores the entangled histories of the Americas, from pre-Columbian times through the present.  Through often fragmentary and conflicting sources, we consider tales of environmental transformation and spiritual, political, and military contests both before and after European contact, from the central Mexican valley to Andean highlands. Prior to 1800, nearly three in four people crossing the Atlantic were being brought in slavery; most were brought to sugar plantations.  The colonies of Latin America and the Caribbean were at the heart of transformations across the Atlantic, including the growth of early modern capitalism.
Revolutions and rebellions also figure centrally into this field of study.  The Haitian Revolution, from 1791-1804, inaugurated decades of struggle for liberty and independence throughout the hemisphere and beyond.  As Latin America became independent, contests emerged over nation building, citizenship, and political and economic inequalities.  By the dawn of the twentieth century, U.S. imperialism began to cloud the region’s democratic experiments. Courses in this regional field explore competing narratives and political systems forged in response to these pressures, from dictatorships to social movements and revolution, while also considering popular movements and neoliberal economic challenges of the present day.  This pathway engages students in critical debates across centuries, as we study the making and unmaking of racisms, socioeconomic systems, and political projects forged in the hopes of a more democratic future, for Latin America and the world.