HI5040 - Dictatorship and Development: Central America, 1912-1996

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What will I learn on this module?

The tiny countries of Central America form a narrow land bridge between the continents of North and South America. For centuries a quiet

backwater, the region gained international importance in the twentieth century, thanks to the United States’ growing interest in its ‘backyard’ to

the south.

In this module, you will explore Central America’s tumultuous twentieth century via a variety of primary sources. You will use US military

archives to explore the US occupation of Nicaragua from 1912 to 1933, and discover how historians have used oral history to rescue

memories of the El Salvadoran massacre of 1932. In the second half of the course, you will look at how ideas about development intersected

with U.S. informal empire in the region, using CIA and State Department documents to uncover the roots of the civil wars which wracked the

isthmus in the 1980s. Finally, you will learn about the controversy surrounding Rigoberta Menchú’s memoir of the Guatemalan civil war, and

consider how historians navigate conflicting documents and imperfect, contested memories to create credible accounts of past events.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn on this module by attending lectures and seminars. The lectures will introduce you to the module’s core themes and key

historiographical debates related to the subject area. For the weekly seminars, you will be expected to undertake the required reading

(available via the electronic reading list) and sample the recommended reading. You will build on your independent reading by contributing

ideas and arguments to seminar discussions with your peers. Seminar discussions will incorporate both large and small group discussions,

built around focused questions on relevant themes and topics. Seminars will also include significant engagement with carefully selected

primary sources. You will receive formative feedback throughout the learning process and summative assessment will match your learning

against the learning outcomes for the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your academic development will be supported through your module tutor, engagement with your peers, and through the programme leader.

The module tutor will be accessible within publicised Feedback and Consultation hours and via email. Your peers will provide you with a

collaborative learning environment, and your programme leader will guide you through the requirements and expectations of your degree

programme, of which this module is part. You will also be supported through individual engagement with the academic literature, lectures, and

resources available on the eLP. Formative feedback will be on-going through seminar activities and assessment tasks.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding: 1. Knowledge and understanding of the history of twentieth-century Central America, and particularly the role played by discourses of development. 2. Display an understanding of events in more than one Central American country. Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities: 3. Demonstrate a range of transferable skills, including the ability to make independent critical judgements, to critically evaluate sources, to summarise the research of others, and to present arguments in a cogent and persuasive way. Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA): 4. Awareness of the historical origins of Central America’s current challenges. 5. Curiosity about the nature of evidence on which our knowledge of the past, and therefore our understandings of the present, depend.

How will I be assessed?

You will write two essays of 2,500 words each. Each assignment will make up half of your overall grade. The first essay will normally be dedicated to one specific country, (MLO 1, 3, 4, 5), while the second essay will deal with comparative or international questions (MLO 1-5). Formative feedback for each assessment will be provided in seminars. Verbal and written feedback will be given on all summative assessed work. Feedback on initial summative assessments will enable you to improve on later ones.

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

For centuries a quiet backwater, the tiny countries of Central America gained international importance in the twentieth century, thanks to the

United States’ growing interest in its ‘backyard’ to the south. In this module you will explore twentieth century Central America via a range of

primary sources. You will use US military archives to explore the US occupation of Nicaragua and discover how oral history has rescued

memories of the El Salvadoran massacre of 1932. In the second half of the course you will look at how ideas about development intersected

with U.S. informal empire in the region, using CIA documents to uncover the roots of the civil wars which wracked the isthmus in the 1980s.

Finally, you will learn about the controversy surrounding Rigoberta Menchú’s memoir of the Guatemalan civil war, and consider how

historians navigate conflicting documents and imperfect, contested memories to create credible accounts of past events.

Course info

UCAS Code LV21

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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