General Seminar: 19th-Century Latin America


Fall 2006
Wednesdays 3:30-6:00pm
Taliaferro 2110

Prof. Daryle Williams
Department of History
2131A Francis Scott Key Hall
(301) 405-4267
Office Hours: By appointment

Objectives | Organization and Requirements | Grading | Academic Integrity | Reading Availability | Readings | Schedule


This course offers a broad overview of important historical literature—mainly published in the English language, but transnational in scope—about nineteenth-century Spanish and Portuguese America.

The reading assignments, which cover a variety of topics in nineteenth-century history, from the independence period through the belle époque, have been selected for their narrative, empirical, methodological, and historiographic value. Each assigned reading should be treated as an individual work of research that illuminates specific issues in modern Latin American history, as well as a component of a larger set of interrelated questions, problems, and approaches.

The ongoing efforts to rethink the nineteenth century will be an important focus of this course. Most of the readings will be recent works that self-consciously contribute to this revisionist approach to "postcolonial" Latin America and offer new insights into topics such as liberalism, caudillismo, nation-building, race and nation, gender and nation, slavery and emancipation, development and underdevelopment, civilization and barbarism, and the politics of identities.

The weekly readings and writing assignments have been selected in order to: 1) introduce major concepts, arguments, and figures in the field of post-independence Latin American history; 2) appreciate the evolution of the field of Latin American history over the past three decades; 3) sharpen analytical writing; and, 4) prepare field concentrators for comprehensive examinations.


In-class discussion will focus on the weekly reading assignments, which have been loosely organized around a chronological overview of the nineteenth century.

Once during the semester, each student will lead the discussion of a week's required reading. Individually-assigned readings may also be discussed, based upon time and interest.

On a rotating basis, each student will be expected to write three concise (1000 words maximum) critical reviews of the weekly common reading. The book review should summarize, analyze, and contextualize the main argument of the selected monograph. The regular book reviews published in the Hispanic American Historical Review, the American Historical Review, and H-LATAM should be used as guides.

At the end of the course, each student will be responsible for writing a fifteen-to-twenty page historiographic review essay on 6-8 monographs and articles about a chosen subject related to the nineteenth century. Up to two monographs from the common readings may be used for the review essay. The other readings should be drawn from outside the common readings. Field concentrators are expected to incorporate at least one relevant work published in Latin America.

This review essay should assess the connections and disjunctures between the chosen monographs, looking for the ways in which subject matter, theoretical models, use of sources, and methodology are presented by individual authors, as well as the collective. Review essays appearing in the Latin American Research Review and the Hispanic American Historical Review should be used as guides.


Final grades will be determined usually the following formula:

Reviews 30% (10% each)
Participation 20%
Final Paper 50%

Active participation and lively discussions enrich everyone's learning experience.


The Code of Academic Integrity guides this and all other courses taught at the University of Maryland. Violations may result in a failing grade and/or referral to a University disciplinary committee.


All required readings will be available through course reserves, electronic journal databases, and/or the University Book Center.

The Reserves Desk will only hold one copy of assigned monographs (24-hour reserve) and edited collections (two-hour reserves). It is important that class participants coordinate their reading schedules so that everyone has an opportunity to read the assigned book before clasx.

Full-text journal articles and other electronic-format materials can be freely accessed, read, and downloaded through the University Libraries' ResearchPort. When possible, stable links to these databases are included in the syllabus.

Amazon.com and Google Scholar have each initiated ambitious plans to digitize in full-text a wide range of scholarly publications. Some of the assigned monographs may be found on these sites.

There is no expectation that a student purchase all of the assigned books. Rather, you are encouraged to buy books that are most related to your interests and your writing assignments.


Agostoni, Claudia. Monuments of Progress: Modernization and Public Health in Mexico City, 1876-1910. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2003.

Ades, Dawn. Art in Latin America: The Modern Era, 1820-1980. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities, Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Rev. ed. London and New York: Verso, 1991.

Andrews, George Reid. Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Appelbaum, Nancy P., Anne S. Macpherson, and Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt, eds. Race and Nation in Modern Latin America. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

Beattie, Peter M. "The House, the Street, and the Barracks: Reform and Honorable Masculine Social Space in Brazil, 1864-1945," Hispanic American Historical Review, 76:3 (August 1996): 439-473. [JSTOR]

Chambers, Sarah. From Subjects to Citizens: Honor, Gender, and Politics in Arequipa, Peru, 1780-1854. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999.

Chasteen, John C. “Fighting Words: The Discourse of Insurgency in Latin American History,” Latin American Research Review 28:3 (1993): 83-111. [JSTOR]

Coatsworth, John. “Obstacles to Economic Growth in Nineteenth-Century Mexico,” American Historical Review 83:1 (February 1978): 80-100. [JSTOR]

de la Fuente, Ariel. Children of Facundo: Caudillo and Gaucho Insurgency during the Argentine State-Formation Process (La Rioja, 1853-1870). Durham: Duke University Press, 2000.

Diaz, Arlene. Female Citizens, Patriarchs, and the Law in Venezuela, 1786-1904. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.

Drescher, Seymour, "Brazilian Abolition in Comparative Perspective," Hispanic American Historical Review, 68:3 (August 1988): 429-460. [JSTOR]

Earle, Rebecca, “Sobre Héroes y Tumbas: National Symbols in Nineteenth-Century Spanish America,” Hispanic American Historical Review 85:3 (2005): 375-416. [Duke University Press e-Journals]

Ferrer, Ada. Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.

González Echeverria, Roberto. Myth and Archive: A Theory of Latin American Narrative. Rev. ed. Durham: Duke University Press, [1990] 1998.

Gootenberg, Paul. Imagining Development: Economic Ideas in Peru’s "Fictitious Prosperity" of Guano, 1840-1880. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

__________. “The Social Origins of Protectionism and Free Trade in Nineteenth-Century Lima,” Journal of Latin American Studies 14:2 (1982): 329-358. [JSTOR]

Graham, Richard. Patronage and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Brazil. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990.

Grandin, Greg. “Can the Subaltern Be Seen? Photography and the Affects of Nationalism,” Hispanic American Historical Review 84:1 (February 2004): 83-111. [Duke University Press e-Journals]

Guardino, Peter. "Barbarism or Republican Law? Guerrero's Peasants and National Politics, 1820-1846," Hispanic American Historical Review 75:2 (May 1995): 185-213. [JSTOR]

Haber, Stephen, ed., How Latin America Fell Behind: Essays on the Economic Histories of Brazil and Mexico, 1800-1914. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997.

Halperin-Donghi, Tulio. The Contemporary History of Latin America. John Charles Chasteen, ed. and trans. Durham: Duke University Press [1967; 1990] 1993.

Klor de Alva, J. Jorge. "The Postcolonization of the (Latin) American Experience," in Gyan Prakash, ed., After Colonialism: Imperial Histories and Postcolonial Displacements. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995, 241-75.

Liss, Peggy K. Atlantic Empires: The Network of Trade and Revolution, 1713-1826. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983.

Mallon, Florencia. Peasant and Nation: The Making of Postcolonial Mexico and Peru. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Morse, Richard. "Claims of Political Tradition" in his New World Soundings: Culture and Ideology in the Americas. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989, 95-130.

Needell, Jeffrey. "Provincial Origins of the Brazilian State: Rio de Janeiro, the Monarchy, and National Political Organization, 1808-1853," Latin American Research Review 36:3. (2001): 132-153. [JSTOR]

__________. "Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires: Public Space and Public Consciousness in Fin-de-Siecle Latin America," Comparative Studies in Society and History, 37:3 (July 1995): 519-540. [JSTOR]

Poole, Deborah. Vision, Race, and Modernity: A Visual Economy of the Andean Image World. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Reis, João José. Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

Sabato, Hilda. "Citizenship, Political Participation and the Formation of the Public Sphere in Buenos Aires 1850s-1880s," Past and Present, 136 (August 1992): 139-163. [JSTOR]

__________. The Many and the Few: Political Participation in Republican Buenos Aires. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001.

Schultz, Kirsten. Tropical Versailles: Empire, Monarchy, and the Portuguese Royal Court in Rio de Janeiro, 1808-1821. New York: Routledge, 2001.

Scott, Rebecca J. Slave Emancipation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labor, 1860-1899. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, [1985] 2000.

Slenes, Robert W. "African Abrahams, Lucretias and Men of Sorrows: Allegory and Allusion in the Brazilian Anti-slavery Lithographs (1827-1835) of Johann Mortiz Rugendas," Slavery and Abolition 23:2 (August 2002): 147-168. [Ingenta ConnectComplete]

Sommer, Doris. Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

Stein, Stanley J. Review of Stephen Haber, ed., How Latin America Fell Behind in Hispanic American Historical Review 78:3 (August 1998): 535-537. [JSTOR]

Thurner, Mark. “‘Republicanos’ and ‘la Comunidad de Peruanos’: Unimagined Communities in Postcolonial Andean Peru,” Journal of Latin American Studies 27:2 (May 1995): 291-318. [JSTOR]

Thurner, Mark and Andrés Guerrero, eds. After Spanish Rule: Postcolonial Predicaments of the Americas. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003.

Van Young, Eric. “The Raw and the Cooked: Elite and Popular Ideology in Mexico, 1800-1821,” in Mark Szuchman, ed., The Middle Period in Latin America: Values and Attitudes in the 17th-19th Centuries. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1989.

Viotti da Costa, Emília. "Liberalism: Theory and Practice" in her The Brazilian Empire: Myths and Histories. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press [1985] 2000, 53-77.


Week and Date Themes and Assigned Readings Disscussion Leader
Week I
August 31
Introduction: Latin America’s Postcolonial Century?  
Required Thurner, “After Spanish Rule,” in After Spanish Rule, pp. 12-57
Klor de Alva, "The Postcolonization of the (Latin) American Experience"
Recommended Halperin-Donghi, Contemporary History, pp. 1-158  
Week II
September 6
Atlantic Empires and American Independence
Required Schultz, Tropical Versailles  
Recommended Liss, Atlantic Empires  
Week III
September 13
Ideologies and Imaginaries

Required Anderson, Imagined Communities, 47-65
Morse, "Claims of Political Tradition"
Van Young, “The Raw and the Cooked"
Lasso, “Revisiting Independence Day" in After Spanish Rule, pp. 223-247
Recommended Earle, “Sobre Héroes y Tumbas” [Duke University Press e-Journals]  
Week IV
September 20
Making Citizens

Required Chambers, From Subjects to Citizens
Diaz, Female Citizens, Patriarchs and the Law
Recommended Beattie, "The House, the Street, and the Barracks" [JSTOR]  
Week V
September 27
Caudillos and Caudillismo

Required de la Fuente, Children of Facundo  
Recommended Chasteen, “Fighting Words" [JSTOR]  
Week VI
October 4
The Hegemonies of the Liberal State

Required Mallon, Peasant and Nation  
Recommended Guerrero, “The Administration of Dominated Populations" in After Spanish Rule, pp. 272-309
Thurner, "'Republicanos' and la Comunidad de Peruanos'" [JSTOR]
Week VII
October 11
Latin America's "Black Atlantic"

Required Reis, Slave Rebellion in Brazil  
Recommended Andrews, Afro-Latin America  
October 18
Race and Nation

Required Ferrer, Insurgent Cuba  
Recommended Appelbaum, et. al., Race and Nation in Modern Latin America, pp. 1-31.  
Week IX
October 25
The Practices of Liberal Politics

Required Sabato, "Citizenship, Political Participation" [JSTOR]
Guardino, "Barbarism or Republican Law?" [JSTOR]
Graham, Patronage and Politics, 101-145
Viotti da Costa, "Liberalism: Theory and Practice"
Recommended Guardino, “Postcolonialism as Self-Fulfilled Prophecy?" in After Spanish Rule, pp. 248-271.
Needell, "Provincial Origins of the Brazilian State" [JSTOR]
Week X
November 1
Slave Emancipation and "The Problems of Freedom"

Required Scott, Slave Emancipation in Cuba  
Recommended Drescher, "Brazilian Abolition in Comparative Perspective" [JSTOR]  
Week XI
November 8
Beyond Dependency: 19th-Century Economic History

Required Haber, How Latin American Fell Behind
Coatsworth, “Obstacles to Economic Growth" [JSTOR]
Gootenberg, “The Social Origins of Protectionism? [JSTOR]
Stein review of Haber, How Latin America Fell Behind [JSTOR]
Recommended Gootenberg, Imagining Development, 38-83  
Week XII
November 15
Romancing the Nation

Required Sommer, Foundational Fictions  
Recommended Roberto González Echeverria, Myth and Archive, pp. 93-141  
November 22
  Happy Thanksgiving  
Week XIV
November 29
Visual Cultures of Nineteenth-Century Latin America
Required Poole, Vision, Race, and Modernity
Recommended Ades, Art in Latin America, pp. 1-110
Grandin, “Can the Subaltern Be Seen?" [Duke University Press e-Journals]
Slenes, "African Abrahams" [Ingenta ConnectComplete]
Week XV
December 6
Latin America's Fin-de-Siecle: Progress Triumphant?
Required Agostini, Monuments of Progress
Recommended Needell, "Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires" [JSTOR]  

Objectives | Organization and Requirements | Grading | Academic Integrity | Reading Availability | Readings | Schedule

Last updated: August 27, 2006