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 9/25/19

Professor Holt began class today by handing out the midterm review packet and explaining key points of the exam. The main goals she defined for the midterm were for us to show our development as historians, general mastery of the content we’ve covered so far, and our ability to analyze primary sources. Some other important announcements included the alumna event at 4:00 on Monday, September 30th in Kauke 137 with Global and International Studies graduate Lauren Gliss (‘13), new Learning Center exam protocol wherein students must request to take an exam at the Learning Center at least 2 days in advance, and instructions to send Professor Holt an email if anyone would like to improve a Wikipedia article not already included on the class list. Andy presented L.A. in the News today, which was a story about multiple Latin American countries agreeing to place sanctions on the government of Venezuela after being urged to do so by the United States. This is a classic example of the United States interfering in Latin American politics, albeit a less reprehensible one than past instances of stable democracies being overthrown for U.S. benefit.

Next, we discussed today’s reading: “Not Blacks, But Citizens: Race and Revolution in Cuba” by Devyn Spence Benson. Race politics in Latin America are very different from those in the United States, as racism was neither officially institutionalized nor officially criminalized in the majority of Latin American countries. Professor Holt described how in Brazil, which has a similar political situation to Cuba in terms of race, people of African descent have a more difficult time finding jobs and being admitted to universities, as predominantly black schools receive less funding from the government. And especially in Cuba, protesting or even discussing racial issues is seen as counterrevolutionary; Cuba’s society and economic system are dependent on unity, and if one group seeks to define itself as something other than just Cuban, even if others have already done so in a less explicit way, the Cuban government will automatically take issue with it. We then briefly discussed our HAPs in groups, debating the meaning of intersectionality and how racism in Cuba has changed throughout the years.

Intersectionality: a way of thinking about identity that seeks to view individuals’ identities as a whole with many overlapping layers, not split up into different parts

Afrodescendiente: of African descent; this is a label that allows Cubans such as those in the Afrocubana movement to navigate race while still identifying as Cubans

Afrocubanas movement: A group of black Cuban women working to combat racist and misogynistic views of Cuban women of African descent

After having examined the differences between racism in the United States and racism in Cuba, how do you think other forms of discrimination, such as misogyny and homophobia, differ between the two cultures? What are the differences between intersectional identities in the U.S. and Cuba as a result of those contrasts?

Although there are major differences between Cuba and the United States’ forms of racism, what are some of the similarities? Are there instances of Americans accusing those who protest against U.S. racism as being divisive?

Do you think there is any credence to the Cuban government’s assertion that any attempt to combat racism would result in race wars or other extreme divisions in the Cuban population? Do you believe that the Cuban government genuinely believes in those statements, or could they have other motivations for allowing the perpetuation of racism?

If the Cuban government were to acknowledge racism within Cuba and its effect on Cubans of African descent, how could it begin to effectively combat racism and rectify past wrongs?

A Look Back at the Afro-Cuban Films of Sara Gomez, Cuba’s First Female Director

Race Toward Equality: The Impact of the Cuban Revolution on Racism

Afro-Cuban Voices : On Race and Identity in Contemporary Cuba