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HIST 215

Close Encounters with Empires: The Beginnings of Latin America

Empires, both indigenous and European, played key roles in shaping the early history of Latin America, a period defined by powerful and innovative native empires, European conquest and expansion, the formation of racial and patriarchal hierarchies, the slave trade, massive historical change, and surprising cultural continuities. From the Aztecs and the Incas to the Spanish and the Portuguese, early empires--as we will learn--made lasting marks on the societies, cultures, and peoples of this important region. These empires, however, would not have made such enduring impacts without the people that constituted them, those who by force, coercion, or voluntary action both constructed and became entangled in empire's web. Thus, this class pays close attention to the everyday people who experienced close encounters with colonial, imperial, and expansionary states during this early period, namely native peoples, the poor, Afro-Latin Americans, mixed-race individuals known as castas, and women. By focusing on marginalized groups' experiences under various empires and their essential roles in negotiating, resisting, constructing, and transforming their respective societies, this class demonstrates the profound ways people "from below" shaped the course of history and, by extension, our present reality.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities- or -Global Learning 1 course