weekly reports (30%)

For ten of the semester’s weeks, students will write a 1 page paper that synthesizes the readings and our synchronous and asynchronous sessions. Weekly Reports are due by midnight on Friday, uploaded onto Canvas. The report should be three paragraphs long, a respond to all four of the following prompts:

  • Identify at least one concept, event, claim, or proper noun mentioned in the readings that is unfamiliar to you. Use Reference Tools on the library website to look up information about it and report your findings, along with the source(s) of any information you find. Anything that could be answered with a fact-check, quick definition, or basic research might be included under this prompt. Be sure to indicate when you are quoting directly from another source by using quotation marks.

    For example, if a weekly reading referenced the encomienda, and I did not know that that is, I would start by using OneSearch to find information on the encomienda.

    That search brings me to the Columbia Research Encyclopedia, where I learn that the encomienda is “system of tributory labor established in Spanish America,” along with other information on its origins and use in the Americas. I’ll summarize this in my first paragraph, and then make sure to cite my source.[^1]

  • Identify one of the Questions or Themes raised in earlier weeks that one of the assigned readings helps to answer. Then explain why you think this source sheds light on this specific question.

  • Connect at least one of the readings to the lectures from the week they were assigned. How do the readings complement or contradict or expand on topics discussed in class?

  • Finish with a question of your own on the readings, sessions, or themes that you feel has significance.

The entire report will be no more than about one typed, single-spaced page.

take home exams (25% each)

There will be two take home exams- roughly a midterm and final. You will need to write a well-formed essay from a selection of questions that I will provide you. Your essay must draw off of only our readings and sessions.

film reaction (20%)

Students will pick one of four films this semester to view, research, and write about. You must write a 4-6 page analytical review of the film informed by a list of specific readings. There [will be] separate instruction pages for each film.

  1. Roma (2018) - Set in Mexico City, this film explores a middle class family’s experience of social unrest and family problems in 1970. The main character, Cleo, is a young indigenous woman who works as a domestic in the family home. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. For more information on the assignment for this film, go here. Roma is available on Netflix.

  2. Birds of Passage (2018) – Colombia. A beautifully shot film that tells the historically-inspired story of the marijuana trade and the Wayúu people in Colombia. If you’re interested in indigenous people, in modernity, in narcotrafficking, in the tension between the market, traditional cultures, and violence, this is the film for you. Directed by Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego. For more information on the assignment for this film, go here.

  3. The Motorcycle Diaires (2004). Before Ernesto Guevara became Che, he took a trip with his friend Alberto Granados and an unreliable motorcycle through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. The experiences along the way had a transformative effect on the future revolutionary’s commitment to a fundamental humanism. Directed by Walter Sales and based on Guevara’s diaries from the trip. For more information on the assignment for this film, go here.

  4. La historia oficial (1985) – Argentina. During the military dictatorship in Argentina, women disappeared by the regime who birthed children in detention had their babies stolen. Elite families adopted them without asking questions. The truth went against the official story. Directed by Luis Puenzo. For more information on the assignment for this film, go here. The Official Story can be rented on Amazon Prime.