Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Advisory: Demonstrated proficiency in English by placement via multiple measures OR through an equivalent placement process OR completion of ESLL 125 & ESLL 249.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area IV: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • A successful student will be able to analyze the impact of colonialism and imperialism on Latin America.
  • A successful student will be able to discuss and analyze patterns and themes in religion, culture, and politics (general and discrete) within the Latin American and Caribbean world.


History of Latin America from pre-Columbian times to the present. Emphasis upon Native and European contributions to present Latin American culture. Special emphasis on governmental systems and social and economic progress. Includes revolutionary movements and their present status.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. describe the geography of the Americas and explain its impact on the region's inhabitants.
B. discuss the cultural background of Spain, Portugal, Africa and pre-Columbian America, and the synthesis of these cultures into modern Latin America.
C. trace the emergence of Latin American independence movements and describe the challenges faced by the newly independent nations.
D. explain the evolution of social and governmental structures and practices in the newly independent nations of Latin America.
E. analyze the influence of the European social, political, economic and intellectual heritage on contemporary Latin America, and evaluate the importance of this heritage in modern political movements.
F. interpret current developments in Latin America and the importance of such developments to all the Americas and the world.
G. apply skills developed in analysis of historical evidence and in constructing and defending historical arguments.
H. demonstrate a knowledge of key historiographical arguments and issues related to the history of Latin America.

Course Content

A. Geography of Latin America
1. Examination of major topographical and climatic features
2. Assessment of impact on pre-Colombian cultures
3. Assessment of impact on subsequent social, political, and economic development
B. Pre-Columbian Societies
1. Competing theories of migration to Americas
2. Evaluation of patterns of settlement and development
3. Examination of lesser native societies
4. Rise of complex civilizations
5. Comparison of social, political, economic, and religious aspects of native civilizations
C. Exploration and Encounter
1. Iberian background and early exploration
2. Reconquista
3. Encounter and conquest
4. Native reaction and resistance
5. Assessment of impact of Columbian Exchange
D. Colonial Period
1. African background and introduction of slavery
2. Portuguese colonization of Brazil
3. Transfer of Iberian political, social, and economic institutions
4. Evaluation of role of church in empire
5. Racial stratification and the castas system
E. Wars of Independence
1. Analysis of eighteenth century reforms and reaction
2. European and American influences on independence
3. Comparison of independence movements in Mexico, Venezuela, and the Southern Cone
4. Brazilian independence
5. Assessment of immediate impacts of independence
F. Post-Colonial Period
1. Evaluation of social, cultural, and economic changes after independence
2. Development of modern Latin American states
3. Patronage politics and caudillismo
G. Order and Progress
1. Achieving political stability
2. Rise of liberalism
3. Evaluation of political, social, and economic reforms
4. Assessment of impact of foreign investment and industrialization
5. Political evolution towards authoritarian governments
H. Revolutionary Option
1. Causes of Cuban War of Independence
2. American involvement and development into Spanish War of 1898
3. Causes of the Mexican Revolution
4. Course and consequences of the Mexican Revolution
I. U.S.-Latin American Relations
1. Evaluation of origins in the Monroe Doctrine
2. Expansion of U.S. influence, 1865-1898
3. Analysis of evolving U.S. policies after acquisition of Panama Canal
4. Assessment of neocolonialism
5. Impacts of the Good Neighbor Policy
J. Nationalism
1. Indigenismo movements and cultural change
2. Import substitute industrialization
3. Impacts of World War I
4. Comparison of populism in Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina
5. Political revolutions in Cuba and Guatemala
K. Reactionary Period
1. Latin America during the Cold War
2. Rise of the Bureaucratic Authoritarian State
3. Reactions to military dictatorships
L. Post-Cold War Latin America
1. Economic crises
2. Free trade agreements and reactions
3. Latin America and the War on Terror

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

When taught as an online distance learning section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous internet and email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

A. Class discussion
B. Quizzes
C. Midterm and final essay examinations
D. Student presentations
E. Research paper

Method(s) of Instruction

A. Lecture
B. Discussion
C. Cooperative learning exercises
D. Oral presentations

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Burns, E. Bradford, and Julie A. Charlip. Latin America: An Interpretive History. 10th ed. Pearson, 2016.

Chasteen, John Charles (ed). Born in Blood and Fire: Latin American Voices. 2nd ed. W.W. Norton & Company, 2016.

Supplemental texts and readings as assigned by instructor.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. 40-50 pages of weekly reading from the assigned text.

B. Supplemental readings from journal articles, monographs, or other historically relevant sources.

C. Written papers.