The thing about the object that we are studying, the object that gives this course its name and its purpose, is that it is by no means obvious what or where it is. Latin America is hardly a natural or God-given entity. Indeed, in some ways it is not really an entity or object at all. It might be better to say that Latin America is an idea, and that what we will be studying is as much the idea of Latin America as the thing itself, especially if (as we will see) this idea doesn’t correspond all that well to any thing or object that we can easily pin down. So even a simple question such as “Where is Latin America?” turns out to be a puzzle.
- Alexander Dawson, "Introduction: Latin America's Useable Past". In Latin America Since Independence: A History with Primary Sources. 2nd Edition. New York: Routledge, 2014. 1-8.
Note that each chapter of the textbook comes with online resources on the publisher's website. Simply click on the relevant tab for this week's reading.
A sneak peak behind the scenes of LAST100, welcoming and introducing you to the course…
Alec Dawson (History and International Studies, SFU) offers an introduction to Latin America. Brought you with the help of Chris Farley, Speedy Gonzales, Princess Cruises, Hugo Chávez, Calle 13, and the music of the Andean Pan Flute.
Alec Dawson (Professor, History and International Studies, Simon Fraser University), author of Latin America Since Independence: A History with Primary Sources, considers what we mean when we talk about “Latin America,” and what it might mean to study this region.
This podcast is designed to complement the introduction to his textbook.
- Marshall Eakin, "Does Latin America Have a Common History?" Vanderbilt E-Journal of Luso-Hispanic Studies 1 (2004).
- Michel Gobat, "The Invention of Latin America: A Transnational History of Anti-Imperialism, Democracy, and Race". The American Historical Review 118.5 (2013): 1345-1375.
- Walter Mignolo, The Idea of Latin America (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005). Download chapters one and two from academia.edu.
- Fernando Ortiz, Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar. Trans. Harriet Onís. Durham NC: Duke UP 1995. 97-101