Class Notes 9/11/19

On Wednesday, Sep 11th, We started out class with more tips and tricks on our primary source essay that is due on Friday Sep13th.

Next, we heard from Elliot presenting his LA in the News piece. The headline chosen was Mothers Force to Sleep in the Hallways of the South Hospital due to a Lack of SpaceThis story was set in Honduras and was expressing the overcrowding in the maternity ward in a third world context. Elliot expressed the hospitals lack of concern given for these new mothers who’s children had fevers. This article told two different stories of women sleeping on the floor or on benches after giving birth to be with their sick baby. Elliot then tells a brief antidote about his personal time in Honduras and the conditions there. 

Professor Holt briefly defined Oral Tradition in context of Corridos in Mexico before we split into Then we split into discussion groups. Oral Tradition is a way of passing information, tradition spread by word of mouth, this could be stories, songs, folklore etc. In the context of class we were talking about Corridos; A popular narrative song and poetry that forms a ballad. Topics vary from oppression, history, daily life for peasants, gossip and other social relevant topics   We split into groups to talk about the Corrido’s we read about and how to analyze them. One of the discussion questions focused on was: What are Corridos and how can we use them as a primary source? We spent about ten minutes at the end of class to listen to Tiempos Amargos (, a Corrido we read about.

In our large class discussion one interesting question to come up was wether Corridos were just a northern tradition or if it was also southern. From what I could find there are some about Zapata but not much about specific southern culture. This doesn’t necessarily mean they did not exist in southern Mexico but they are harder to find today. Another topic we talked about was the fact that this was a masculine genera. We also noted the way Corridos have changed over time and now they are either folkish or they are about the drug environment. There is a new subcategory of corridos called Narcocoridos that are about the current drug situation in Mexico.   If you want some more Corridos you can listen to click here:

Here are some more Corridos lyrics that I found in english about notable events of the revolution:


What was the role of gender in this Corridos tradition? why is it considered masculine?

What is the benefit of looking at Corridos as a primary source? How can we use it to relate to other source we have looked at?

During the time of the revolution would one consider Corridos more as propaganda or as storytelling? or dose is it dependent on the context and not the time period?


Class Notes: 09/09/19

We start off class today with Prof. Holt asking the class about our weekends and making a comment about the party on the green; mentioning how Wooster is a small town and it’s not hard to hear things.  Prof. Holt then goes on to talk about the email she sent the class for signing up to wikipedia. ( that included a link to join the class wiki)  She asks if anybody had any advice for creating a wikipedia account and the general advice is to keep the username appropriate.  Then Prof. Holt talked about how she uses her own name and believes that it is her obligation to not hide behind an anonymous name.  She talks about how one student had issues changing the David Ortega KH: David Ortiz page because it is so disputed. Then we move onto questions about the primary source paper, and one of the questions is about a cover page/ word count and word count can be in the heading and cover page is optional.  Then someone asked about how to cite the primary source from Wasserman’s book and Prof. Holt showed us this website (  Then Prof. Holt reminded the class about the history lecture on 09/10/19.  

Dani begins LA in the News with an article titled Mexico Says It Has Cut the Number of Migrants Heading to the U.S.  Dani tells the class that Mexico has sent members of the National Guard and police officers to the border to reduce the migrants heading to the U.S.  When it comes to why Mexico decided to do this, it is because of Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on imports from Mexico. Andrez Lopez, the president of Mexico, is facing criticism because of this decision partly because it is unethical and partly because it makes Mexico look like the U.S’s puppet.  This decision also places migrants in danger, and Mexico has failed to meet their promise to return migrants to their homeland. Dani relates this article to one of the five criteria for a revolution which is tolerant world context. She wonders about the difference between the treatment of migrants in northern vs. southern Mexico because South Mexico is basically part of Central America.  Prof. Holt Another student suggested that migrants would probably be treated better in South Mexico.  

Now the class begins in earnest.  Prof. Holt puts up three questions: What were the key changes made in the 1917 Constitution? How well do changes to Agrarian Policy reflect Zapata and Villa’s goals? Those of Madero?  How revolutionary are the changes and what criteria are used to define “revolutionary?” Here we have two key terms, 1917 Constitution and The Agrarian Law. The 1917 Constitution was the new constitution for Mexico after the revolution and was actually written during the revolution.  The Agrarian Law (1915) was written by Victoriano Carranza and talks about the ownership of land with regards to villages. Prof. Holt asked the class what we thought about the Constitution and some notable things were the legal terms, the fact that a Constitution has multiple authors, when and why the constitution was written and about the workers’ rights shown in the Constitution. 

Then we split into groups and begin discussion.  My group talked about how the nation had the right to whatever land it wanted, as well as the nation’s right to give out private land.  We talked about how depending on your perspective Zapata may have actually liked some of the land changes. When we discussed how revolutionary the changes were we realized that it depended on your perspective.  From a U.S perspective, the changes weren’t particularly revolutionary but, when compared to the previous system, the changes were drastic. It went from unregulated to well-regulated. For question 2 we didn’t have very much to say, the changes were pretty revolutionary and we all liked them and we thought it was kind of funny how the Constitution that was written in the middle of a revolution allowed for unionization.  The group ended with Prof. Holt gaining our attention. She asked the class about different evaluations about what we read and some key points are that the language was very technical, there was a juxtaposition between maternity leave in the U.S and everywhere else in the world. Additionally, we also talked about the vaguely defined land, and the anticlerical sentiment during the revolution as well as how the compensation for land could be easily corrupted.  We ended class with Prof. Holt telling us about what we would be doing on Wednesday and dismissing us.


What is one way in which the more educated people in history have tricked less educated people with complex terms and sentence structures?

From a Latin American perspective, how does the difference in culture from the North to the South of Mexico affect their views on motherhood?

How can revolutionary leaders use language as an effective propaganda tool?

LA in the news: Paraguay Investigates Human Remains Found on Ex-dictator’s Former Property.

On September 8, 2019, the remains of an estimated four individuals were found buried under a bathroom in the house of the former Paraguayan rightwing dictator Alfredo Stroessner. Local authorities subsequently launched an investigation to verify whether the remains belonged to victims of the Stroessner regime –a regime that committed multiple crimes against humanity. One of the primary goals of this investigation, asserted María Stella Cáceres, director of the Museum of Memories, would be to advance efforts to identify and return the remains of the victims of Stroessner’s dictatorship.

 Bones found in the house of Alfredo Stroessner. Photograph: ABC

The article provides information on the Stroessner regime that is helpful in understanding the importance of the finding of the bone remains and the frustration of some Paraguayan groups by the government’s insufficient involvement in uncovering the crimes of the dictatorship. For instance, it addresses the regime’s “routine use of persecution, kidnap and torture” against opposition groups and the LGBT community. The article further highlights the horrors of the regime by stating that “at least 423 people were executed or ‘disappeared’, 18,722 tortured and 3,470 forced into exile.” Yet, as the article points out, only 37 bodies of those murdered under Stroessner have been discovered to date. This has led activist groups across the country to denounce the Paraguay government’s failure to adequately fund investigative work.

Gen Alfredo Stroessner

Through interviews of Paraguayan activists, the article portrays the Paraguayan government as passive and somewhat uninterested in uncovering the crimes that were perpetrated against its people. On the other hand, it highlights the involvement of independent groups and institutions in denouncing the Stroessner regime’s crimes and giving the victims’ families closure by returning the remains of their lost ones. It also seems to be written from a foreigner’s perspective, or is at least intended to a foreign audience. This is evident by the author’s emphasis on clarifying that families digging for hidden treasures in places where they were “squatting” (which is how the human remains were discovered) is common practice in Paraguay.

This article relates to our class themes in that addresses the dictatorship of a Latin American leader, which speaks to our discussions of Diáz’s regime. The persecution of indigenous people under Stroessner, especially, speaks to our extensive discussions of the rights and characteristics of indigenous populations in the context of the Mexican Revolution. Finally, the fact that this article addresses how the consequences of the Stroessner dictatorship persist today is reminiscent of our future discussions of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, whose roots can be traced by to the Diáz regime.


Source: Costa, William. “Paraguay Investigates Human Remains Found on Ex-dictator’s Former Property.” The Guardian. Sep 8, 2019.

LA In the News: Mothers Forced to Sleep in the Hallways of the South Hospital Due to a Lack of Space.

In Honduras, large numbers of postpartum mothers have been forced to sleep on the floors in the General South Hospital.  According to the article, “la falta de espacio en el albergue materno que tiene el Hospital General del Sur obliga a puérperas a tener que dormir en el suelo.”(El Heraldo)

The area for postpartum mothers to stay with their babies only has seven beds, however the weekly influx of mothers is around 20. KH Note: Small clarification, not to take away from the difficult conditions these Honduran mothers face: the article says that while there about 20 newborns admitted to the neonatal center at the hospital each week, the hospital only has seven beds available for mothers who want to sleep at the hospital to care for and breast feed their infants.   Now it is obvious that there is an issue.  In the article, two mothers share their experience with the hospital one named “Maria” and the other “Carmen.”  Both mothers got the all clear to leave the hospital, however were shocked to hear that their children had to be moved to a separate location due to complications.  They had to sleep on the floor because they were worried about their babies and needed to be there for them, “Carmen” even had a C-Section and was forced to sleep on the ground.  This event wasn’t only limited to these two women, this kind of thing happens all the time all over Honduras.

Ante el cansancio, las madres encuentran en el suelo un refugio. Foto: EL HERALDO

El Heraldo asked the directors of the hospital what they would do about the lack of space, and the hospital assures the public that they are doing things to increase the space in the maternity ward.

This article is by a Latin American newspaper for a Latin American audience, however, if more people were to see this then the portrayal would not be very good.  It shows a lot of the issues that Honduras has and why it has one of the largest wealth inequalities in the world.

Honduras experienced its own “revolution” in 2009 when there was a coup d’etat against the president Manuel Zelaya.  The after effects of the revolution are still felt today as partly evidenced by this occurrence.  Mel, during his administration, lost large sums of money that were meant for the educational fund.  Teachers went on strike for a large period of time (I actually remember this.)


Hcarrasco. “Madres Duermen En Los Pasillos Del Hospital Del Sur Por Falta De Espacio.” Diario El Heraldo. El Heraldo, September 9, 2019.


Class Notes 09/06/2019

On Friday, September 6th, Class began with another quick overview of the Primary Source Essay,  due on Moodle at the beginning of class next Friday, where Professor Holt reiterated the usefulness of Zotero (For The College of Wooster’s guide to Zotero, Click Here: Primary source was also a key term to define in preparation for class today, defined as a source written or collected by someone who experienced it first hand.

Next, we heard from Mia who presented her piece of Latin American News, an article centered around a culturally-rooted mezcal distilling and distributing operation, Yola Mezcal, headed by three diverse women. She explained the family roots of the company, beginning with the grandfather of the article’s featured partner, Yola Jimenez, who had a passion for growing agave and distilling mezcal in the region of Mexico known as Oaxaca. Mia drew a connection between that region being the area that Díaz was from. The familial culture of the region, centered around mezcal offered context to the kind of people that Diaz originated from, as well as how their unique culture shaped his experience and his views. Particularly on a day in which we spoke about the importance of soldaderas in the Mexican Revolution, it was refreshing to hear an article about a successful company run by women. Mia noted that there was more of a discussion around cultural significance on the Yola Mezcal website, which you can visit at:

Following the presentation, we were shown clips from a film called “The Storm that Swept Mexico” You can watch it again through a blog post of Professor Holts that contains the video ( Professor Holt explained that she liked the documentary as it included not just European or American historians, but included several Latin American historians, and left it as a bilingual documentary, only providing subtitles and not dubbing over the speakers. The first clip, around the 20-minute mark, discussed Villa and Zapata, the similarities between them despite their rivalries, largely rooted in the cultural differences from the regions where they lived. Both desired land and agrarian reform, but the context for which they desired that to happen was very different. Zapata who was from the south, pushed for communal land reforms, believing in the power of the community, whereas Villa, who came from the north had very individualistic ideas, and desired a weak central government. This highlights the role that regionalism had in the Mexican Revolution as well as the way that definitions of “justice” in the context of revolutionizing a country can vary from town to town.

Many of the soldiers who were fighting were young, and those with ranching backgrounds transitioned into cavalry quite easily, Villa was touted as something of a military mastermind, but at the root of it, he was a charismatic risk-taker. He made good use of the railroad system and with this ability to travel quickly, meant that it was easier to transport more people, and from this logistical success, the concept of the soldadera was born. Now the men fighting could bring along their wives and families and thus had someone too cook for and care for them, not to mention many of the women who took up arms and helped during the actual battles. Soldaderas was one of the key terms discussed in class and are described as, women who took up arms and participated in the Mexican Revolution. Many followed their men into battle as their ‘caretakers’.

During group discussion, we talked about the soldaderas at length, questioning whether they were defined as the caretakers or the women who actually fought in the war. The question of an anti-feminist narrative was also brought up, if we neglect the women who aided in caring for the soldiers in turn for favoring the women who actually fought, is placing more value on the women fighting in an of itself an anti-feminist claim as it devalues the roles women played in other aspects of the war? How can we define their roles without incidentally devaluing the other? We found it interesting that despite the many articles we read about soldiers in our reading before class, there was next to no accounts of the women who took up arms and only seemed to present soldaderas from the caretaker perspective. Which brought up other primary sources, as while there may not be many written sources about it, there are certainly photographs. To wrap up our discussion on soldaderas, we emphasized the adaptability of these women, who left their homes to care for or fight alongside the men, and their self-preservationist attitude in making sure they succeeded in keeping themselves alive.


How can we define soldadera to encompass the roles that all women played, while still giving each aspect the respect and recognition they require?

Define regionalism and the role that it played in the reforms demanded by revolutionaries.

How does the treatment of the soldaderas depict the culture and gender roles of the time?

LA In The News: Mexico Says It Has Cut the Number of Migrants Heading to the U.S

Trump threatened to place tariffs on all Mexican imports if Mexico did not stop the flow of migrants from coming into the U.S. The threat from the Trump administration enticed the Mexican government to take action on the migrants crossing the U.S-Mexico border, such as employing the National Guard and police officers to help combat migrants crossing. That action, in turn, has significantly dropped the number of migrants captured at the border, “63,989 in August, from 146,266 at the end of May” (Ahmed 2019). Rights groups have begun to quickly criticize President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s decision to one, comply with the Trump administration and two, “allow the United States to send migrants seeking asylum back to Mexico to await their hearings” (Ahmed 2019). Critics have also pointed out the Mexican administration’s failure to invest in programs to keep Mexican and Central Americans to stay in their homeland rather than emigrating. 

This article portrays Latin America, specifically Mexico as economic puppets to the U.S, doing everything as told. Even though Mexico clearly promised to keep migrant rights at the forefront of policies, the Mexican government clearly allows the U.S to hold power over their immigration policies.

Although the issue of immigration is not a revolution, Mexico making policies due to economic threats/pressure from the U.S reminds me of world context from the five critical factors of a revolutionary movement. It is quite clear that Mexico’s advances to stop migrants from crossing the border have to do with the U.S. This article also highlighted the dangers of asylum seekers awaiting their hearings in Mexico, “migrants are sent back to ultraviolet states like Tamaulipas and Chihuahua to fend for themselves while they await their hearing dates” (Ahmed 2019). I could not help but relate this account to our discussion of the differences between northern and southern Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution. During our readings and discussions about the revolutionary leaders, their goals varied, much because of where they were from. North and southern Mexico have different traditions, landscapes, demographics, all which made up what each revolutionary leader envisioned Mexico to be. To tie this in, many migrants are coming from the south to the north. I wonder if the treatment of migrants varies when they cross southern and northern Mexico? Or how migrants from Central America get treated in southern versus northern Mexico? Is there even a difference due to the differences between northern and southern Mexico?

Ahmed, Azam. “Mexico Says It Has Cut the Number of Migrants Heading to U.S.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Sept. 2019,



Lecture on Women & War by Distinguished Historian Tuesday 9/10 @4pm

Please join us for the inaugural Hayden Schilling Lecture, a talk by the distinguished historian, Susan Grayzel, on women’s experience in the First World War. The event, open to the public, will take place on Tuesday, September 10 at 4:00 pm in the Lean Lecture Room.

Grayzel is Professor of History at Utah State University, having previously served as Director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi. She is the author of several award-winning works, including War: Gender, Motherhood, and Politics in Britain and France during the First World War (1999) and At Home and Under Fire: Air Raids & Culture in Britain from the Great War to the Blitz (2012). She will also be leading a faculty workshop and meeting with students.

This talk is the first of what will be an annual event, The Hayden Schilling Lecture, supported by the Hayden Schilling Fund for History.

More details below. We hope to see you there!  Greg Shaya, History

Public Lecture 

Susan R. Grayzel, Utah State University

The Hayden Schilling Lecture: “Did Women Have a Great War? Reflections on Women’s Experiences 100 Years On”

Tuesday, September 10, 4:00 pm, Lean Lecture Room

This talk explores some of the ways in which women experienced the First World War in order to ask if women’s “had a great war.”  It examines not only what women across a range of backgrounds and circumstances did during the war—where, how, and why they participated and what they thought about this—but as important, what a focus on women might add to our understanding of the First World War itself.

Meeting with Prof. Grayzel

Prof. Grayzel will be available to meet with students during the day on Tuesday, September 10. If you are interested in meeting with Prof. Grayzel – perhaps if you are working on topics of British history, gender history, war and gender – please contact Greg Shaya in the Department of History (
Short Biography

Susan R. Grayzel joined the faculty at Utah State University in 2017, teaching classes in modern European history, gender and women’s history, and the history of total war, having previously been Professor of History at the University of Mississippi, where she was also Director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies. Her most recent publications include Gender and the Great War (Oxford University Press, 2017), co-edited with Tammy M. Proctor. Her previous books include Women’s Identities at War: Gender, Motherhood and Politics in Britain and France during the First World War (1999) and At Home and Under Fire: Air Raids & Culture in Britain from the Great War to the Blitz (2012). She is engaged in two current research projects; one tracing how the civilian gas mask came to embody efforts to address the consequences of chemical warfare in the British empire, c. 1915-45, and the second with Prof. Lucy Noakes (University of Essex) on gender, citizenship, and civil defense in twentieth-century Britain. She is spending the academic year 2019-20, first as a visiting fellow at All Souls College (Oxford) for Michaelmas term 2019 and then as UK Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the University of Leeds from mid-January to mid-July 2020.

LA in the News: Mezcal by Women

The article I read was about a woman run mezcal business called Yola Mezcal. The main focus of the article is Yola Jimenez, who started the company. She was born in Mexico City but her grandfather started distilling mezcal for fun but it grew into a business. All the agave is still grown in Oaxaca and from growing to distributing the mezcal is mainly made by women. The article quotes Jimenez saying “some of [workers] are the granddaughters of the distillery’s original workers.” This shows how much the mezcal business is a part of the culture, that it is more than a business but a part of society.

Yola Jimenez

The business spans the US-Mexican border with all the agave being grown in Mexico but the company being run from Silver Lake, LA. Jimenez runs the business with two other partners Lykke Li and Gina Corrnell Aglietti. Each partner running a different section of the business but Aglietti is the CEO of the company. The article also quotes Aglietti discussing the sales plan saying “we brought it up in an informal way, we brought it up as a family.” This choice of quote by the author shows how much of a family this company is and these three women who run this company. The article mentions a music festival organized by the company called Yola Día which had an all-female line up (including Megan Thee Stallion), was organized by women, and women lead security teams.

A bottle of Yola Mezcal ($69.99)

This article does not really focus on Mexico, more on the company itself. It was interesting how they are highlighting the business success in the US and less on the women in Mexico and the cultural significance. The article discusses how this was Jimenez’s grandfather started the discusses but not what it means to the culture.

In class we have been discussing Díaz who is from Oaxaca which is where Yola Mezcal has its farms. I know this is a bit of a stretch but I think it is a funny coincidence. The company’s website explains more about the importance of distilling Mezcal to the culture which informs us of the cultural background of Díaz. In class we also have mentioned the importance of women in the revolution so it is interesting the parallels between the strong women in the revolution and the women who run this company.

Thompson-Hernández, W. (2019, September 2). Mezcal by Women, and for Women’s Wallets. The New York Times. Retrieved from
YOLA MEZCAL. Retrieved September 5, 2019, from YOLA  MEZCAL website:

Class Notes 9/4/2019

We began class with a few questions about the primary source essay, some notes about that:

  1. When quoting Spanish sources, it is not necessary to translate anything from the quote itself.
  2. You’re welcome (and encouraged) to use more than one supplementary source in addition to the chosen primary source.

We then received Kate’s presentation on an archaeological sacrificial site in Peru with children’s and llamas’ remains thought to have come about to avert the impending El Niño storm. This brought to mind perceptions of indigenous sacrifice (especially that of children) by the dominant Western European culture in the world.

We then reviewed something that was left out of the previous class due to time, which was the application of DeFronzo’s revolutionary framework onto the Mexican Revolution. However, we noted that it isn’t ethical to cherry pick evidence and force a certain framework onto a given subject, and were also trying to find ways that DeFronzo couldn’t sufficiently explain the Mexican Revolution. We supplied the following:

Mass frustration – economic depression, land ownership (and lack thereof), elites also dissatisfied & angered when Díaz goes back on promises

Permissive world context – Madero’s promises to foreign governments and corporations in the Plan of San Luis Potosí (p. 36 Wasserman), (mention of) the Zimmermann Telegram, and port blockades performed by the US in Veracruz and other cities

Unifying motivations – Madero as a figure, though this was very short lived (only weeks before insurrection)

Elite divisions – argument over Díaz’ succession between científicos and generals

Political crisis – the election to be held by Díaz (surely to be rigged)

We then spent time elaborating the concept of an ejido: a communally owned and operated piece of land in the context of Mexico, as mentioned by Zapata in the Plan of Ayala (p. 39). This is important because the concept had existed in indigenous communities and, being owned by families, was easier to buy out. Especially after the Marxist Revolution in Russia and the onset of global communist sentiments, it took on a convenient use in Latin American communist circles. Professor Holt mentioned an article by the New York Times in which the same idea of family-owned lands and homes are targeted and bought out by those who hold power; in this context, Black. She’s posted it on the home page.

We broke out into groups to go over the HAP, but ran out of time before we could return to discussion as a class. My group spent time discussing the Plan of San Luis Potosí from Madero as a primary source and the concept of democracy in Latin America in general, as well as how it’s historically been received as a proposed system. Professor Holt brought up a point about a popular argument used by white Europeans and those of European decent in Latin America being that democracy should be reserved for white spheres and that the indigenous mixing in Latin America makes it unachievable.

Further links:

  1. Brief summaries of a work, “Indigenous People and Democracy in Latin America” by Donna Lee Van Cott.
  2. A little more on the Chimú people, who would’ve performed the sacrifices mentioned in Kate’s article. They inhabited the western coast of Peru before they were conquered by the Inca.
  3. This is a pretty unique piece written about the experience of the authors in trying to establish a joint venture between a US company and an ejido in southern Mexico. It speaks on the background of ejidos in the country and some statistics on the status of them at the time of being written (1998). Consider why this interaction is being cast in a positive light, and whose voices are being showcased (politically, socioeconomically, concerning gender, etc.) and whose are not.


  1. Can you think of ways that DeFronzo’s framework falters when applying it to the Mexican Revolution?
  2. The Mexican Revolution is often framed as being pushed by a single underlying cause or sentiment, when in reality it was a tumultuous and complex event with many different players and motivations. How could different political groups frame the revolution to their benefit in the years after (even today)?
  3. As shown by Wasserman, Díaz announced a plan to hold an election even though he held practically total power within the country. Parallels can be drawn between this and Pinochet’s decision to hold a plebiscite the 1980’s Chile. What motivations would Díaz have for doing this?