- I learned the extent to which things can go wrong. I went to sleep last night having set my alarm for 7:30 thinking my exam was at 9:00, I plugged in my phone to charge and went to sleep. I woke up to my roommate coming into my room telling me that my exam had already started. My charger had fallen out of my phone and my phone ran out of power.
- I learned that I’m actually a halfway decent writer if I’m able to focus on what I’m doing. This class was a pretty good confidence booster when it came to me understanding my writing capabilities.
- I also learned how to read types of text that are difficult for me like legal documents and speeches. I also learned how to analyse historical documents as well as actual historical events to reach a conclusion.
- I learned that if you study a category like revolutions, wars, or causes for a political change involves patterns. An analysis can be made of similar events to see the similarities and differences of cause and effect.
- I learned that the cause of a change usually is dependent on an outside force as well as internal.
- I learned a lot more about Latin American history.
The first important thing that I learned was synthesizing primary and secondary sources. I feel that this is an important skill because they are both equally important when studying history. Primary sources provide you with what happened, secondary sources provide analysis. This then allows one to add their own analysis and conclusions.
The second important thing that I learned was how to critically read sources. I learned this mainly from our Wikipedia project. It taught me to understand the bias of the writer or writers of a topic and to understand why this bias occurs.
The third important thing that I learned was understanding multiple historical perspectives when looking at different periods of time. For instance, reading both the perspectives of people in power during the Pinochet regime and the victims of the regime.
- I learned that many revolutions followed similar patterns throughout Latin America, but each one had specific differences that made them unique.
- I learned of the massive influence of the United States on Latin American politics throughout history.
- I learned how to write a primary source analysis and a history essay in general
- I got to learn about the Mexican Revolution which was something that I was very intrigued about. It was interesting to see how everything played out between the different factions during the revolution.
- It was interesting to find out about the United States interfering with Latin American politics and how they actually helped create dictatorships in Latin America instead of democracies.
- I’m also glad that I got to learn about the important roles that women played during the revolutions of Latin America. It was great being able to see the war from the perspective of one of the soldaderas as it gives a greater understanding to what was occurring with their lives.
- That revolutions can follow a similar formats, and that there can be similar causes and trajectories.
- There are different forms of protest, and some of these forms can be feminine.
- How to write a primary source essay.
- Latin American political ideology is very distinct from other places in the world, and that uniqueness has played a big part in the history of the region.
- International and domestic politics during the cold war has affected Latin America greatly, and has had a big influence on what is happening there now.
- Different Latin American countries have very different geographic, cultural, social, political, and economic conditions which have affected their history in different ways.
- The theories on what it takes to make a successful revolution. DeFronzo’s factors are a very interesting way of quantifying the steps needed (though it seems to only apply to popular revolutions).
- A definition of reform versus revolution. I found the definition we used interesting because it focused on goals rather than means: you could theoretically have a revolutionary movement through constitutionalist means. I’m not sure of its usefulness in practice, as it is at odds with other more common definitions. It is something to think about though.
- Not to completely trust the OAS. With our analysis of the Cuban Revolution, and my own work with researching the coup in Bolivia, the credibility of the organization has been shaken for me. Even more generally, I’ve learned to be a lot more skeptical of graphs and charts, looking at what information they leave in and what they leave out. The OAS’s charts on Venezuela seemed nice and accurate, but it was still a good mindset to be wary about the organization’s motive. No data is free of bias.
The three most important things I learned in Latin American Revolutions this semester are as follows.
- Wikipedia has a much more extensive process than I first thought.
- There are many different career opportunities for people who major in History, including law, which is the field I want to go into.
- There are so many ways that the past and present connect, and there are so many ways that various historical events connect that are seemingly unrelated in any way.
- Differences in the political left and right in Latin America from that in the United States. Some usual associations (nationalism vs internationalism for example) I have with each do not hold true in the Latin American context.
- The importance of women in Latin America’s history, especially in roles where they were invisible to took on non-traditional gender roles. Women’s political activism and contribution to armed conflicts was far greater than I had originally thought.
- The extent of systemic inequality in Latin America, and the forces that served to create it. The United States had no small role in shaping Latin America’s current predicaments. This has made me far more skeptical of current news coverage of Latin America.