a latin american history seminar

assignments and grading

This semester, I have decided to dispense with my normal large historiography project, traditionally constituted of a review of 15-20 additional works to the reading list. Instead, we will spread the reading and writing out through the course of the semester.

Student’s overall grade will be based on a combination of three review papers and participation/leading discussion.

  1. Review Essays (70% of grade). Students must write three review essays during the course of the semester. The first two essays (20% of final grade each) cover the historiographical development of work in the field in two stages. The first should analyze the development of work from the first chronicles through the emergence of social history. The second should review the shift to New Conquest History. Particular attention should be paid to the evidential base of the books, how they relate to one another, and the historiographic role they play in the field of Conquest history. What are the most and least persuasive elements of the argument? How persuasive is the general argument? Which source base was most important for the works under consideration? How do individual works conform with or deviate from the general stages of the historiography as identified by Lockhart and Restall?

    The final essay (30% of final grade) will require students to read Todorov, and critique his work based on their views of Conquest at the end of the seminar.

    Please be concise, yet erudite. If you need guidance, you might read some essays in Reviews in American History or imagine shorter versions of what is done in History Compass. Pay attention to your writing. Consult Joseph Williams’ Style: Toward Clarity and Grace (you can dispense with Strunk and White, already!).

    Review essays are due at the start of class.

  2. Leading Class Discussion (30% of grade). Each student will pick a week to lead discussion. For each week, even those in which no student is assigned, everyone must email the collective with a short reaction for the discussion of the books – questions, observations, etc. Questions/observations must be submitted no later than Wednesday morning. Leaders should also research authors and reviews of the books, try to chart the intellectual and historiographical lineage of the work under consideration.

And that is it.