Course Description

Course Name

U.S. - Latin America Relations

Session: VCSF1122

Hours & Credits

45 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


This course is strictly for ISA students. Students from outside ISA are not allowed to attend.
45 Contact Hours distributed during the semester in 30 sessions of 90 minutes each.
This class introduces students to the complexity of the hemispheric relations of Latin America and the United States throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will survey chronologically the major processes, events, and policy frameworks that structure the approach of the United States has had towards Latin America, such as the Monroe Doctrine, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, the construction of the Panama Canal, the Good Neighbor Policy, and the role of Latin America during the Cold War, among others. We will parallel this narrative grounding with our political understanding of the local experiences of Latin American populations who lived through stressful times of sociopolitical disarray. These experiences shaped hemispheric policy-making and local material cultures, often resulting in conflict.
At the end of this class, students will be able to:
1. Carefully select primary and secondary sources that shed light upon any aspect of the history of United States-Latin America relations.
2. Offer a comprehensive understanding of United States-Latin America relations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, being able to combine historical resources with a critical analysis of contemporary events.
3. Identify the major forces, both hemispheric and local, that have shaped the nature of United States-Latin America relations over the past two centuries.
4. Elaborate an academically informed argument about the current situation of United States-Latin America relations, grounded on a historical evaluation of the multiple trajectories of hemispheric interactions.
There are no prerequisites for this course.
The methodology to be used includes a combination of tools in order to facilitate the enhancements of knowledge, promote debate in class and increase students? ability to formulate proposals, such as: presentation-debate classes and case studies.
The structure of each unit includes a daily compulsory reading, followed by oral presentations by the students which will lead to class debates, group works, and other practical activities. Fieldtrips are essential to the course, which are programmed in a every other week basis. All these activities will be complemented by lectures.
Smith, J. (2005). The United States and Latin America. A history of American diplomacy. 1776 ? 2000.
Evaluation will be ongoing and will take in consideration the issues established in the competencies and in their use by each student. The dates for the Midterm and Final Exam will be indicated by ISA. Readings, tasks, class work and written reports are evaluated.

30% - Ongoing evaluation (reading sessions and discussions)
20% - Participation in Class (homework, reports, oral participation, discussion, and attitude in class)
20% - Final Debate
30% - Final Paper

Attendance and punctuality are basic requirements for an effective discussion and team based course. Beyond that, each person's frequency and quality of contribution to the class discussion will be assessed and reflected in the class participation score.
Three unexcused classes lower the final course grade by five points (approximately a half letter grade). The final course grade will be lowered an additional five points for each class missed over and above the first three. If the student accumulates more than five unexcused absences, he/she will be placed on academic probation and the home university will be notified. In the event of an emergency or illness, students should petition for an excused absence from the professor with the appropriate documentation within a week of the absence.
There are no makeups for presentations, leading reading sessions, and exams unless the student demonstrates in advance (and the Professor agrees) that a significant life-event prevents him/her from attending class or if a documented emergency is provided. The following are not acceptable excuses: scheduled flights or trips, scheduled non-emergency doctor appointments, picking up relatives or friends at the airport, etc. If a student schedules something else during a class when is to give a presentation, lead a discussion session, or take an exam, the student will get a zero for that grade.
In the event of an excused absence, students will be expected to confer with the professor regarding the possibility of making up any missed coursework, homework and/or exams. In the event of an unexcused absence students are responsible for any missed coursework and notes, but late homework will not be accepted.
The third time a student is more than 10 minutes late to a class; it will be considered an unexcused absence.
Missing a reading/video session counts as 1.5 absences, Missing a field trip counts as two absences.
Bear in mind you are in a professional school, and a member of a learning community. Thus you are expected to comport yourself as a professional person. For instance, be on time for class, do not leave the class while it is in progress for other than emergencies -if you need to do so make sure you ask the professor for permission-, turn off cell phones, be respectful of others? viewpoints even if you disagree with them, do not use improper language, do not put your feet up on your desk, raise your hand if you want to participate, and dress appropriately for a professional activity. Eating is not allowed during class.
Personal computers, tablets and smartphones are allowed as long as they are being used for class purposes (PDF files, Class PowerPoint slides, etc).
All individual readings included above.

*Course content subject to change