Tutor: Helen Cowie
Module type: Histories and Contexts
Module Code: HIS00064I
Spain and Portugal ran the biggest and, for centuries, the most lucrative empires in the Americas; then, in just a few years, those empires fell apart. The independent states that were forged in this convulsive period faced an uncertain future in the nineteenth century as they tried to establish themselves as modern nations. ‘America is ungovernable’, despaired independence hero Simón Bolívar, as he reviewed the state of the continent at the end of his life. ‘Those who have served the Revolution have ploughed the sea’.
This module examines Latin America's transition from imperial rule to independence, and explores both the Atlantic world that shaped American empires and the political and social turbulence that followed the formation of independent Latin American states. Beginning in the mid-eighteenth century, the module looks at the attempts made by the Spanish and Portuguese monarchies to reform and modernise their respective colonies. It then goes on to study the revolutions of 1810-1826, emphasising their wider transatlantic context. The second half of the module focuses on the creation of new nations in the Americas and the construction of national identities in the former Spanish and Portuguese states. Concentrating on three countries as case studies - Mexico, Brazil and Argentina – we explore how slavery, immigration and racial theory shaped the politics, economies and societies of postcolonial Latin America, and how national governments attempted to modernise and ‘civilise’ their respective populations.
The lecture programme will include the following:
Week Two: Colonial Latin America
Week Three: Reform and Reaction in 18th-Century Latin America
Week Four: Independence in Transatlantic Perspective
Week Five: Nation Building
Week Six: Mexico
Week Seven: Argentina
Week Eight: Brazil
Week Nine: Nation and Culture
Discussion groups will deal with the following:
For more information, please visit the module catalogue.