Latin American Culture and Society: South America

Module code: SP1029
Module co-ordinators: Dr Clara Garavelli

Module Aims

This module will provide you with an understanding of some of the key political, cultural, and social changes that have taken place in South America since the Conquest.

Module Outcomes

On completion of this module you will have developed an understanding of the history and culture of South America. They will be able to demonstrate their knowledge through informed oral contributions in class and a coursework essay.


  • 3 hours of lectures
  • 7 hours of seminars
  • 90 hours of guided independent study


  • Essay, 1,500 to 2,000 words

Topics covered

  • The Conquest and its aftermath
  • Bartolomé de las Casas: defender of indigenous rights
  • José Martí: ‘Nuestra America’
  • The Putumayo Rubber Boom: genocide in the Amazon?
  • Bananas and Coca Cola: the price of commodity trade
  • September 11th in Chile: Pinochet and the Disappeared
  • Coca culture and Evo Morales
  • Plan Colombia
  • The rise of the Left: Hugo Chávez

Recommended Reading

  • Eduardo Galeano: Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent [1971] (Monthly Review Press, 1997)
  • Duncan Green: Faces of Latin America, 3rd edn (LAB, 2006)
  • Thomas Skidmore and Peter H Smith, Modern Latin America, 6th edn (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  • Edwin Williamson, The Penguin History of Latin America (Penguin, 1992)