Revolt and Revolution in Latin America


Purpose of the Course

Weeks 1-3
Weeks 4-6
Weeks 7-10
Weeks 11-15

Latin American & Latino Studies Events


Dr. A. Lauria Santiago

Contact Info


This course providesa critical analysis of twentieth-century revolts and revolutionary movements in Latin America, focusing especially on Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, Colombia, and El Salvador. What were the socio-political origins that led to a revolutionary situation or revolt? What were the differing responses to those conditions? What did these revolts or revolutions seek to accomplish? What were the outcomes of these revolutionary movements or revolts? In order to answer these questions this course will stress the relationship between nation-state formation and imperialism, class relations and conflict, and the role of gender and ethnicity in revolutionary movements.


Your participation in this class constitutes a contract between us (click here to read it and agree to it).  As part of this contract I expect you to follow the guidelines presented below and I, in, turn will do my best to facilitate to you, in a variety of manners, a body of knowledge that is both polemical and shifting.  Most important, I expect from all students a reasonable degree of enthusiasm and interest through active engagement with course materials.  You will have to complete all requirements in order to receive a grade in this course.  I expect you to come to all class sessions prepared and on time.  In return, I will provide you with feedback on your progress.

There is a lot of reading in this course--it is important that you keep up to date with the readings. Expect to spend at least 5 hours a week reading for this course.

Short assignments will be not be returned or graded beyond ok or plus. Midway through the semester I will give you an estimated class participation grade based on these short assignments and your participation in class.

Participation:  Your participation in class activities, including attendance, will be an important component of your final grade.  The short assignments that form part of the participation grade include occasional short response papers.  They should be about one page long unless otherwise specified, and need not be typewritten as long as your handwriting is legible.   Occasionally we will break down into small discussion groups  in order to tackle a particular question or designate students as discussion leaders for a particular session.

Discussion Papers:  I will provide the topics these papers.  They will be based on class readings and discussion and some outside reading.  These papers will need to be 6-7 pages in length and reflect your participation in class, your completion of readings, and your own analysis of these materials.  They will also provide the basis for class discussion. 

All papers will have to be properly footnoted and formatted according to Prucha’s handbook which is available in the bookstore and online through our webpage.  This implies the usage of footnotes and not parenthetical citation.  Students are required to be familiar with departmental and College guidelines on plagiarism and the submission of written work--READ IT!  I do not hesitate to have students processed for plagiarism! Stringing together fragments of notes taken from the reading materials or from a web page does note constitute paper-writing!  Your papers will require analysis of relationships, not mere recitation of facts or stories.  Late papers will be penalized for each day of lateness at the rate of a grade per day.  There will be a writing center tutor assigned to this course and I encourage you to take advantage of this resource.  You are also required to meet with me individually to discuss your strategy for the first paper assignment.

Films:  There will be two or three film showings and one or two public lectures as part of this course. Attendance is required.

Determination of Grade:

The Testimonio/Document project:

Everyone will pick either a personal account of revolution or a major document from any of the countries discussed in the course. Cuba trip participants will prepare a written report and a presentation on aspects of the trip in lieu of this requirement.

Web Materials:  Please notice that this web page is not an optional component of the course but a vital guide to our class discussions and readings. You should check it once or twice a week and your email daily.

Electronic Reserve Reading System

This course relies on the library's E-Res system for some of its reserve readings. Please learn how to use the system. The links from the web pages take you directly to the reading in most cases. If for some reason this does not work, you can access the E-Res system direcatly and enter our course info.

The digitized readings are in PDF format. In order to read or print PDF format documents you must have Adobe's Acrobat Reader installed. In order to read documents in MS-Word format you must have MS-Word or a word processor that can import files in MS-Word format (most of them can).

The password for our E-Res course site is revo.


The following books have been ordered by the bookstore.  Other readings for this course are available on reserve or will be photocopied for you.


Week 1: [1/16] Conceptualizing Revolt and Revolution

Week 2: [1/21, 1/23] The Mexican Revolution: Origins

Week 3: [1/28, 1/30] The Mexican Revolution: War and State-Formation, 1911-1940

Week 4: [2/4, 2/6] El Salvador: The 1932 Peasant Revolt and Massacre

Week 5: [2/11, 2/13] Cuba Nationalist/Reformist Revolts 1895 and 1932

Week 6: [2/18, 2/20] Cuba: Origins and Creation of a New State, 1957-1963

Week 7: [2/25, 2/27] Cuba: The Meaning of Socialism

Spring Break/Trip to Cuba

Week 8: [3/11, 3/13] Chile: The Electoral Path to Social Democracy?

Week 9: [3/18, 3/20] Chile: Industrial Workers and Revolution

Week 10: [3/25, 3/27] Salvador 1977-1992: Social Origins and Effects of Insurgency

Week 11: [4/1, 4/3] El Salvador/Colombia: La Violencia-Classic Period

Week 12: [4/8, 4/10] Colombia: La Violencia-Classic Period/Nicaragua

Week 13: [4/15] Nicaragua 1920-1979: The Origins and Practice of Sandinismo

Week 14: [4/22, 4/24] Nicaragua 1979-1990: The Peasantry and Rural Elites in the Balance

Week 15: [4/29] Mexico under the PRI and Since: Resistance and Revolt, 1968-1999