Latin America in a Post-colonial Perspective & its Relationship with Spain

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Latin America in a Post-colonial Perspective & its Relationship with Spain

  • Host University

    Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

  • Location

    Madrid, Spain

  • Area of Study

    History, Latin American Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Latin America in a Post-colonial Perspective, and its Relationship with Spain

    Course Description:

    Slightly over 200 years ago, Latin America started breaking the bonds of colonialism. This, however, far from unleashing the potential of new sovereign states, compelled them into dynamics of prostration and rebellion which failed to break from imperialism altogether. Substituting one master for another, one form of dependency for another, Latin America became the laboratory of global capitalism. In many ways, it still is being observed as the playing field where different processes, ideologies and priorities are interacting, constantly creating novel solutions to address. In order to achieve this, postcolonial criticism will be a necessary theoretical framework. Students will exercise their critical understanding by focusing on Latin America during the post-colonial period. Spain, the imperial master of most of Latin America, will serve as a measuring stick of historical development, and a key for the critical engagement of historical processes.


    Learning Outcomes:

    This course will provide students with the following skills and knowledge:

    • A broad knowledge of the modern and contemporary history of Latin America and Spain.
    • Tools for the understanding of history as broad processes, reciprocally interacting, and occurring within a context.
    • Have a thorough comprehension of the processes that shape the world today.
    • Use of critical analysis for research.


    Teaching/Learning Strategies:

    The course format will be a structured mixture of lectures, discussions, classroom activities and student presentations.


    Recommended Readings:

    • Bhabha, Homi. The Location of Culture. New York: Routledge, 1994. Print.
    • Centeno, Miguel, and Agustín Ferraro, eds. State and Nation Making in Latin America and Spain:  Republics of the Possible. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2013. Print.
    • Donghi, Tulio Halperin. The Contemporary History of Latin America. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1993. Print.
    • Francis, John Michael, ed. Iberia and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History (Transatlantic Relations), 3 vols. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2005. Print.
    • Malamud, Carlos. Historia de América. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2010. Print.
    • Meade, Teresa. A History of Modern Latin America: 1800 to the Present.  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Print.
    • Rama, Carlos Manuel. Historia de las relaciones culturales entre España y América Latina en el siglo XIX.  Madrid:  Fondo de Cultura Económica de España, 1982. Print.
    • Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Knopf, 1994. Print.
    • Seth, Sanjay. Postcolonial Theory and International Relations:  A Critical Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2012. Print.
    • Spivak, Gayatri. In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics. New York: Routledge, 1987. Print.


    Class assignments (TENTATIVE):

    • “Intro to ideologies”, video
    • “The Cold War in Latin America” video
    • Allende, 1970, link
    • Allende, 1973, link
    • Andrews, 1985.
    • Annenberg Foundation
    • Ariel, 1900, vínculo
    • Bolívar, 1815, link
    • Burdiel, 1999
    • Delrio et al, “Discussing Indigenous Genocide in Argentina: Past, Present and Consequences of Argentinean State Policies Toward Native Peoples”
    • García Márquez, 1982, link
    • González de Prada, “Our Indians”
    • Hobsbawn, 1983
    • Horshman, “Scientific Racism and the American Indian in the Mid-Nineteenth Century”
    • Jackson & Warren,.
    • Majumdar: 23-47.
    • Martí, 1891, link
    • Meade, Teresa (2010): “Latin America in 1790”, Meade, T. (ed.) A History of Modern Latin America: 1800 to the Present: 23-47.
    • Prados, 2005
    • Propuesta de los trabajos individuales presentadas al profesor
    • Robertson, 200
    • Ruiz et al., “History of Iberian Archaeology”
    • Sábato, 2001
    • Storm
    • SubComandante Marcos “Declaración de la Selva Lacandona,” 1994 vínculo
    • Tyson, Lois (2006) “Postcolonial criticism”, Tyson, L. (ed.) Critical theory today; A User-Friendly Guide, 2nd ed.: 417-449.
    • Video: Evo Morales speech at the UN (19 Sept. 2006)
    • Williams


    Evaluation Methods:

    There will be a final exam, a group project and an individual research paper. All work must be submitted electronically, presented or –as in the case of exams– attended on time in order to receive a grade. The total points (of your final grade!) will be distributed as follows:


    Participation (15%)

    Participation grade will be based on the following factors, and is applicable in all sessions, whether they are in-class or during excursions:



    Assignments are turned in in a timely manner

    Behavior that is disrespectful or harmful to the class

    Assignments reflect adequate effort and content quality

    Not participating or doing so in a non-academic manner

    Voluntary participation in class activities and discussion

    Leaving the class without permission

    Display of knowledge improvement and dedication

    Using digital materials in a non-academic manner




    Group project (20%)

    This innovative project will challenge students to develop and defend positions regarding a contemporary debate in Latin America. These positions will be in opposition to each other, so students do not only have to justify a certain position, but also prepare their defense against attacks from the other positions. The work will culminate in a Group Position Paper which will include these two dimensions.

    The Group Position Paper shall have to be minimum 4 pages long, not counting images, figures, reference list or other features, and like any academic paper, must include in-text citations and the use of academic references, or public databases, is preferable.

    The paper must be a minimum 1000 words. Students must attend class to submit work on the day it is due; submissions after deadline, except for excused absences, will not be graded for credit.


    Individual Research Paper (35%)

    Students will write and present an original individual research paper on any topic of their choosing, as long as it is related with contemporary Latin America. Students are encouraged to choose a topic of particular interest to them, and be creative about it. The teacher will always be available for feedback and brainstorming.

    Each paper can opt to do: comparison between Latin America and Spain, or any other place; a comparison between parts of Latin America; or use single case-studies. A research paper must use the available scholarly sources (journal articles, book chapters, databases, video documentaries, photographs, etc.) as well as other pertinent sources such as newspapers, blog entries, or social media contributions. All references must be included in the final part and cited in-text following any citation format. The quality of the sources used, as established in the order cited in the previous sentence, will be very important,

    Research papers will argue a point or evaluate a perspective but, in order to be outstanding, the paper needs to present the student’s own interpretation and voice supported by reliable and valid sources of information (peer-reviewed academic articles, official reports and databases).

    There will first be a proposal to be turned in during the early part of the semester, including the theme, the structure of the paper, and the references to be used in the different parts of the paper. If students wish further feedback for the paper, they can directly submit a draft by that date.

    The papers must be 4000 words, and must include an introduction, main body, and conclusion. It will be submitted in class on Week 12. Students must attend class to submit work on the day it is due; submissions after deadline, except for excused absences, will not be graded for credit.


    Final exam (30%)

    The final term exam will serve to assess the degree of understanding of the course. Students will be expected to contribute information learned in class, provide examples, and other information learned. Also, focus will be placed on the overall understanding of the processes in play.


    Evaluation Summary:



    Group project


    Individual Research Paper


    Final exam



    100 %



    Attendance Policy:

    Class attendance is expected of all students up to and including the last day of scheduled classes in the semester. Any excused absences must be referred to and accepted by the UC3M International School. Unexcused absences have an automatic effect on the course grade:

    Unexcused absences

    Final grade penalty






    Failing grade


    Expulsion from the course



    Electronic devices:

    Using a Smartphone during class is forbidden unless expressly allowed by the teacher. Students should put their phones on silence and keep them out of sight. Laptops or Tablets may be used if solely for note-taking purposes. If these requirements are not complied with, the student will be asked to leave the class and marked as absent.


    Assignment submissions

    The group project must be submitted electronically on the day specified in the program. Work submitted at any other place or time or in any other form will not be accepted.


    Late submissions

    Late work will not be accepted.


    Smartphones and laptops:

    These devices will be only allowed during designated research times, when the teacher specifies their use. Otherwise, their use is forbidden in class. If caught, the student will have to leave class, and that class will be considered an absence.

Course Disclaimer

Please note that there are no beginning level Spanish courses offered in this program.

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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