Latin American Studies

Latin American Studies

Order Description
Our readings thus far have introduced us to the the lofty ideals that inspired both the masses and the elites of post-independence Latin America, as well as the less than ideal ways they treated one another. In many ways the 19th century can be seen as a time of light and of darkness, of noble aspiration and cruel inhumanity. In a five paper essay I invite you to explore concrete examples of competing ideologies that were put into practice in both positive and negative manners. What did the post-Enlightenment faith in science and reason mean when it came to governance? How did different sectors of society think differently about gender and gender roles and how did these ideas change over time? What did trust in the economic benefits of free trade and an unfettered marketplace mean for the prospects of common citizens, and why was slavery sustained for so long in Brazil and the Spanish Caribbean? How was the logic of republican modernity, which celebrated federalism, democratic rule, and individual liberty, used to prop up privilege and to oppress large sectors of society? Did strong, centralized control protect society from anarchy, or did it lead to unique forms of lawlessness? And why, and for whom, was the concept of anarchy itself a virtue?

These general questions provoke different answers in different periods and local contexts. In constructing your essay, please draw on contrasting examples from at least three different periods and regions, exploring the arguments and logic that guided people’s actions, as well as the actions themselves, for both positive and negative ends. You should footnote your work, indicating the sources you draw on with in-line citations. Work with the textbook and the assigned readings, rather than going to outside sources.

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