Read Thomas Wright, Chpt 1, “Origins of the Colonial Legacies,” pp 7-16 and 20-31. (write a 350-word response to ONE of the questions below. Describe the consequences of the Spanish and Portuguese conquest of the New World.
a. After the Conquest, how did Spain impose an “authoritarian” form of governance on the New World? (12-16)
2. Listen to this short podcast about Simón Bolívar. Then write a 350-word response to ONE of the questions below.
a. In your own words, how would you describe Bolivar’s politics?
3. Watch the first 20 minutes of the film “Empire of Dreams” available at And the first 20 minutes of “Black in Latin America: Cuba, the Next Revolution” available at When you have finished watching, write a 350-word response to this question:
a. How does taking race into account change your understanding of the war of 1898?
4. Listen to the podcast This American Life, episode “Hearts and Minds,” on the overthrow of Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz in 1954:
a. When you have finished, write a 350-word response to the : What role did false propaganda play in the CIA’s overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala?
5. If you do not have access to Netflix, watch the film Fidel Castro, from minutes from 11:30-1:03:00, available at
a. When you have finished, write a 350-word response, drawing on the documentary film and the readings, that explain in your own words how and why relations between the US and Cuba deteriorated so rapidly between 1959 and 1961.
6. You may choose ONE of the following assignments.
Option 1: Watch the first 45 minutes of the film “The Day that Lasted 21 Years: How the US Propped Up a Latin American Dictatorship.” When you are finished, write a 350-word response to this question: According to this film, how and why did the US government support the military dictatorship that emerged in Brazil after 1964? Your answer should give specific examples of actions undertaken by US presidents and other government bodies such as the CIA, the military, the US Embassy in Brazil, etc.
Option 2: Watch the documentary film Mercedes Sosa: The Voice of Latin America available on Kanopy throughout 45:00, then from 1:05-1:10. Then write a 350-word response to this question: How does Mercedes Sosa’s life reflect political trends in Latin American history?
7. Watch the The Official Story (1985), available on Kanopy. Then write a 350-word response to ONE of the following questions.
a. Some people have criticized this film for asking the viewer to sympathize with a woman who is essentially on the side of the victimizers, rather than the victimized. What is your reaction to that criticism?
b. Would you consider The Official Story a “feminist” film? Why or why not?