Class Notes 2 December

Today’s class started off with a couple of announcements. First, on Tuesday at 11am in Kauke Tower, PAT (Pi Alpha Theta) presents the History APEX Fellows. This will allow students to learn about paid opportunities for experiential learning using history skills. Second, Professor Holt wanted to congratulate the class on doing a great job on their Wikipedia articles. Also, your self-evaluation for participation is on Moodle and must be completed. There will be no class on Friday, so students should use this time to continue studying for the final exam. Lastly, the course evaluation is due Friday. If 90% or more are completed, Professor Holt will provide an extra point for everyone’s exams.

After the announcements, Professor Holt asked the class if they have any questions about the final exam. Some quality questions were asked by the students, while Professor Holt also provided the students with information regarding a question she received by email. The question was asked on how to approach the essay question(s). Professor Holt made it clear that you can be “contemporary” in your introduction and conclusion, but your body paragraphs should be specific and contain most of the work in the essay. After discussing the final exam, Alvaro presented us with “Latin America in the News.” His article was about the series of mass protests happening in Colombia. According to Alvaro’s article, the protests started because of the want and need for tax reforms under Ivan Duque’s “moderately conservative” government. After “L.A. in the News,” the class broke up into small groups to discuss the HAP for the day. The class concluded on Professor Holt discussing the HAP and its connection to the class.

There were four historical questions discussed in class. The first question discusses what “new social movements” are? Second, how does this help us understand political activism in Latin America? Third, how revolutionary are these movements and why? Lastly, how can historians evaluate their effectiveness?

The literary work for the day’s HAP was Becker’s “Twentieth Century Social Movements,” specifically chapter ten and eleven. The chapters discussed specific examples of new social movements that have existed since the beginning of the twentieth century. The book discusses social movements that have existed in Latin America throughout history and these chapters connect with the prior movements in some ways, but are unique and original in other ways.

Towards the end of class, we looked over graphs that show the gini coefficient of countries in Latin America. The graph is titled “Comparing Sub-Regional Progress Over Time” and it looks at the gini coefficient from 1993-2013.

The Graph We Looked at During Class:

KH posting for SL (technological difficulties)

Class Notes 11/22

Class began with the LA in the news by Joseph Z. The article was about a rejected bill by the Miami County Commission, that would have helped to reunite Cuban immigrant families. This article is an example of how LA news coverage in the US depends on regionality.

The topic of the class was modern Venezuela and its mass migration issue. Important questions to think about are:

  • Push/Pull factors—Why do people leave?
  • What information do we have right now about the crisis?
  • How is it portrayed by different news outlets?
  • What is the OAS approach and what are its implications?

In addition, here are some of the graphs that we looked at, displayed by the OAS:

Graph 1

Source: UNHCR Portal ( and IOM/UNHCR portal for monitoring the Venezuelan situation by R4V (

These graph help to provide a global context, but there are concerns about how readable they are and how relevant/accurate the other data is. The argument made by the graphs is highlighted by the use of red to show the dangers of the forecasted migrant numbers.

Overall, the factors causing much of the migration include:

  • Humanitarian Crisis
    • No clean water
    • Shortage of food
    • Shortage of medicine
  • Violence
    • Organized crime
    • State violence
  • Inflation
  • Little effort by the state to solve the issue

Helpful links:

OAS Report –

Somos Panas –

Class Notes 11/18- Joseph Zagales

We began class on Monday with announcements.  After announcements, we heard our LA in the News from Amber.  After this we discussed Chavez’s speeches and looked at what makes a speech a good primary source.  This is important for our class, because as a historian one of the most important things is to be able to look at primary sources and be able to make conclusions and tie the sources with our arguments in history.

We talked about questions we must ask when discussing a speech:

Context- is it a reactionary speech or a new policy speech?

Who is the audience?

The speaker’s point of view?

What are the limitations?

How is the tone and delivery?

After discussing this, we watched Chavez’s speech.  As a class we responded to what we saw in the speech.  Some of the responses included, that the speech seemed to be prepared and very theatrical.  Another word used to discuss this speech was provocative.  This is important to look at, especially with what we are learning because we got to see Chavez addressing other Latin American countries and other countries, discussing his policies and how he thought America was the real problem.  We then talked about Chavez’s vision for Venezuela.  He talked about how he wanted to use oil money to better the education and healthcare in Venezuela.  He then compared himself to Jesus and other Latin leaders from the past, like Bolivar and Castro.

We then split up into groups to discuss our HAP and the speeches we did the homework on.



Class Notes 11/13/2019

After announcements, Elle Dykstra presented on their Latin America in the News which concerned Evo Morales stepping down from the presidency in Bolivia. We spent most of the class discussing different perspectives/opinions about how Bolivia’s elections had resulted in voter fraud. It’s debatable whether or not Morales’ election/protest would be considered a coup. Jeanine Anez, the acting president of Bolivia, is currently in the process of making a new election.

  • We continued to discuss about coups and what makes a coup?
    • Military Intervention
    • Outside of the Legal/constit process.

Great Discussions on the LA in the news topic!!

Moved on briefly on the “Maps” we looked at for our HAP. Mapping Militant Groups = how can digital visualizations give a better understanding of these complicated political organizations? (we will talk more about this more in the next class, briefly at the beginning)

We got into our HAP groups and discussed how the “maps” were a bit unclear and confusing, which made us struggle with the research question section of the HAP.

Class Notes 11/6/2019

Today’s class began with professor Holt tellingustoday’s announcements. Among today’s announcements there was an announcement about registering for classes, the death of Walter Mercado and an announcement about our upcoming exam. After announcements, We did LA News. The news was about femicide in Latin American countries. It turns out that LAtin America is has most of the states with the highest rates of femicide. After LA news, we worked on wikipedia in our laptops and that concluded class.

Class Notes 11/4

Class began with the daily announcements:

  • Lecture: Tuesday 11/5 @ 7 Dr. Leiby on “immigrants in Ohio” Science Café, Spoon Market
  • Election Day: Tuesday shuttles from Babcock Hall
  • Global Engagement Fair: Tuesday 10-2 in Lowry
  • Peer review of full Wikipedia articles: Wednesday )bring your computers)

After the announcements, we talked about the midterm. There is one major change to the format of the midterm; instead of prepping four primary sources and choosing out of the three that are on the Midterm we will prepare two primary sources and get presented one instead of choosing on the Midterm. After announcements, Shahroz presented on the murder of an Indigenous man from the Amazon by illegal loggers. Shahroz discusses how since the election of the right-winged Bolsonaro, the Amazon has suffered greatly. There have been big chunks of the Amazon sold off to corporations by the President instead of protecting the rainforest. Because of this, there have been efforts by Indigenous people to become “forest guardians” who take it upon themselves to ward off the illegal loggers. The news article goes into the death of one of these forest guardians. After the presentation, there were questions about the ideology of Bolsonaro and Professor Holt explained that he did not run on a platform of Indigenous rights and believes that the Native people who reside in the Amazon should be integrated and “modernized” into the rest of the country. Professor Holt talked about a NYT video on the environmental issues going on in Brazil.

Before we were put into our HAP groups, we discussed what the historical analysis was for the day with regards to the readings

  • Historical Context: What has happened since the FSLN took power?
  • Historiography: How have historians interpreted the lived experiences of  Nicaraguans under the Sandanista government? After the return to contested elections?
  • Your interpretations: How revolutionary were the changes in Nicaragua?

Professor Holt then showed a powerpoint with an important timeline of events and explained that we must also think about and understand the natural disasters that destabilized the nation. It was also noted how there was a political change with a non-Sandanista president, but right after Daniel Ortega was elected once again. We were then put into our HAP groups to have a small debate about the readings that were assigned. When we came back together we discussed the two different articles and how they compared.

Key Terms

  • Sandanistas- a socialist political party that gained power of Nicaragua in 1979
  • Violeta Chamorro- center-right, US-backed former president of Nicaragua that precede Daniel Ortega
  • Central American Free Trade Agreement- similar to NAFTA, CAFTA  consists of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic




  • What were the reasons to elect two non-Sandanista presidents in a row?
  • What were the ramifications of Chamorro being the one and only woman president to date and why does it matter that she was backed by the United States?
  • What were the ramifications of the CAFTA?

Class Notes: 10/30

In today’s class we continued to talk about the revolution in Nicaragua, and liberation theology specifically. Dr. Holt discussed how Catholicism has changed both in practice and in numbers in Latin America over time. In general, the number of people in Latin America identifying as Catholic has declined over the past 100 years, with the biggest drops coming after the 1950s. It can also be seen that protestantism is growing in this region, specifically in Brazil and countries in Central America. Dr. Holt also explained that the Catholic church itself changed as a result of this, and tried to become more connected to its members. One example of this is changing the language of mass to the native language of whatever country it is done in.

Next, we broke into groups to talk about Liberation Theology and passages from the Gospel of Solentiname. We discussed how the interpretations of the bible from Ernesto Cardenal and the people in his discussion groups both differed and was similar to conventional interpretations. We also discussed the disagreements over the meanings and ramifications of this text and Liberation Theology in general. For example, some view this doctrine as going back to the original meaning of the bible, and a rejection of the more aristocratic church, while others viewed it as a thinly veiled way to support communism through a religious text.

Definition of Liberation Theology from Brittanica:

Liberation theology, religious movement arising in late 20th-century Roman Catholicism and centered in Latin America. It sought to apply religious faith by aiding the poor and oppressed through involvement in political and civic affairs. It stressed both heightened awareness of the “sinful” socioeconomic structures that caused social inequities and active participation in changing those structures.

Liberation theologians believed that God speaks particularly through the poor and that the Bible can be understood only when seen from the perspective of the poor. They perceived that the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America was fundamentally different from the church in Europe—i.e., that the church in Latin America should be actively engaged in improving the lives of the poor. In order to build this church, they established communidades de base, (“base communities”), which were local Christian groups, composed of 10 to 30 members each, that both studied the Bible and attempted to meet their parishioners’ immediate needs for food, water, sewage disposal, and electricity. A great number of base communities, led mostly by laypersons, sprang into being throughout Latin America.

Key Terms:

  • Liberation Theology: See above
  • Ernesto Cardenal: Nicaraguan Catholic priest and one of the most well known promoters of Liberation Theology.
  • The Gospel of Solentiname: Commentaries on the Christian gospels, written by Ernesto Cardenal which show the ideas of Liberation Theology.




  • What can explain the dramatic drop in the percentage of Catholics in Latin America?
  • Is Liberation Theology a return to the original meaning of the bible, a thinly veiled justification for marxism, or something else?
  • Should the Catholic Church have reacted so harshly to the ideas presented by Liberation theology like it did?

Class Notes 10/25/2019

Class Began today with a presentation by Rodriko on the Venezuelan refugee crisis. The crisis is caused by multiple factors, including rampant inflation and political conflict in Venezuela. The destinations of the refugees was discussed, as was the reception of the refugees by the locals of these destinations. Professor Holt described how, in places such as Brazil, refugees had originally been welcomed by the locals, but animosity has grown as more refugees arrive, putting a strain on social services. After the presentation, we listened to the song “Cacerolazo” and talked about how it relates to the original march of pots and pans. We analyzed a picture of that march, and discussed what stood out about it. Professor Holt then discussed historiography, and compared the approaches of different historians on the writing of history.

After this we broke into groups to discuss Dr. Power’s analysis of support among Chilean women for the Pinochet regime. The analysis asked why women of many different backgrounds supported the regime, and how did they go from apolitical to politicized right-wing advocates. The main reason it asked these questions was because many previous historians researching supporters of Pinochet’s regime dismissed these women as having the same motives and beliefs, when in reality they were a very large and diverse group, and are very important in understanding why Pinochet stayed in power for so long.

Some key terms and historical figures we discussed include:

  • Historiography – The study of processes and methods historians use in the writing of history.  KH: Here is the link to the definition I shared in class from Alpha History
  • Lucia Hiriart – Political activist and first lady of Chile during Pinochet’s regime. Her activism involved communicating the regime’s view of the apolitical “ideal woman” to the population, and later mobilizing women in support of the “Si” vote in the 1988 plebiscite.
  • Cacerolazo – a form of protest involving the banging of pots, pans, and other kitchen implements.



  • How much influence did Lucia Hiriart and the Pinochet regime have over the ideology of women, and the Chilean population in general? why?
  • What are some possible reasons for the belief among some historians that female supporters of Pinochet were a homogenous group with similar motives and values, when, as Dr. Powers describes, they had many different backgrounds and reasons for their support?
  • Did the policies of Lucia Hiriart, and the regime in general, result in an increase or decrease of political influence and involvement among women?

Class Notes – October 23, 2019

Today’s class was a continuation of Chile, especially with thinking about different types of primary sources. As we did with the corridos during the Mexican Revolution, we took time to examine the arpilleras made by women, or arpilleristas, during the Pinochet regime in Chile, as they are both artistic expressions that fall under the primary source category. The two Historical Analysis questions we aimed to answer in class today are as follows:

  • What are arpilleras and what insight can they give us into lived experiences of Chileans during the Pinochet dictatorship?
  • What questions should historians ask in using artwork as a primary source?

We then brainstormed as a class to arrive to a few broad conclusions about the arpilleras and their origin. Literally meaning “burlap,” they are canvases depicting daily scenes of life in Chile, including notable events surrounding the regime. Originally started as a means of therapeutic self-expression, their popularity grew internationally. This benefit the arpilleristas greatly in terms of monetary support due to the fact that many of the primary breadwinners of the household (men) were part of the large number of desparecidos, or people who disappeared during the Pinochet regime. In addition, the Church played a significant role in their distribution, which allows us to deduce that they were likely taking a stance against the regime. We concluded by analyzing some of the arpilleras that currently reside in international exhibitions.

Class Notes 10/21/19

  • Class began with a reminder to vote in the local election!
  • Today’s class/ HAP focused on “Fear in Chile” – Supporters of Pinochet
  • Wiki Project Reminders:
    • Complete peer review BEFORE class on Wednesday
    • Start drafting your article: Final draft should be done by NOVEMBER 6TH
  • FRIDAY (10/25) –> Along with your HAP, you must write a short blog post about peer review feedback and how you will incorporate it into your project.
  • Class discussion question: What were the human rights abuses under Pinochet?