UCL Institute of the Americas


AMER0040: The Making of Modern Latin America: History, Politics and Society

***NOT RUNNING IN 2023/24***


Module convenor: Dr Paulo Drinot

This course introduces students to key themes and debates in the history of Latin America since Independence until c. 1980. Some of the themes and debates to be considered include (may vary from year to year): the causes and consequences of Independence; the economic and political instability of the post-Independence period and the nature of caudillo rule; the persistence of slavery and the causes and consequences of slave emancipation; the rise of Latin American export economies; British informal imperialism; US economic and cultural expansion and influence; class, gender, and race and the making of ‘national’ identities; the rise of ‘populism’ and the social and economic consequences of ‘mass politics’; social revolutions; and authoritarianism and military rule.


This module is assessed by one x 4,000-word essays.

Introductory reading:

Those of you unfamiliar with the history of Latin America may want to read John Charles Chasteen, Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America. New York: Norton, latest edition, for background. Also useful, and more detailed, is Tulio Halperin Donghi, The Contemporary History of Latin America. Durham: Duke University Press, 1993. For overviews of relevant historiographies, see Thomas Holloway (ed.), A Companion to Latin American History. London: Blackwell, 2008 and José Moya, The Oxford Handbook of Latin American History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. The more economically-minded of you may well find the following of interest: Victor Bulmer-Thomas, The Economic History of Latin America since Independence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003 and Rosemary Thorp, Progress, Poverty and Exclusion: An Economic History of Latin America in the 20th century, Washington DC: IADB, 1998.