Reconsidering Latin America’s Cold War

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Tuesdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m. 6-week course begins 11/9

Latin America’s Cold War conjures up images of guerrilla insurgency, dirty wars, mass graves, and the disappeared. As riveting as these topics are, they lend themselves to an all-too-familiar narrative, one where the region is cast as either witting or unwitting proxies of Moscow or Washington. This course seeks to complicate our understanding of this era, presenting Latin Americans as protagonists rather than unfortunate victims of a conflict not of their making. Among the topics to be examined: U.S. intervention in Guatemala (1954); the Cuban Revolution (1959-present); Chile’s peaceful road to socialism (1970-1973); the Argentine Dirty War (1976-1983); and Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution (1979-1990). A variety of course materials, including primary documents, photographs, memoirs, films, music, and fiction, should lend themselves well to a spirited discussion of such topics as revolutionary movements, dictatorships, human rights, liberation theology, and U.S. foreign policy. Required reading: Antonio Skármeta, The Postman, ISBN- 978-0393330397. For further reading on the topic, see Hal Brands, Latin America’s Cold War, ISBN-978-0674064270. Allen Wells taught Latin American history at Bowdoin College (1988-2019) and Appalachian State University (1979-1988).