Latin America: Origins Through Independence

HIST 3375-001 & 002/ MAS 3375-001
Fall 2021 On-line Class

Instructor Information

  1. Instructor: John Garrigus; website:
  2. Office: University Hall 343
  3. History Department Office Telephone: 817-272-2661
  4. Email:
  5. Faculty Profile:
  6. Student Office Hours: Mondays, 3pm to 5:30pm on Microsoft TEAMS or in person in University Hall 343. If this time isn’t good for you, use Canvas to drop me a note or to schedule a phonecall.
  7. Canvas:

Course Information

Time and Place of Class Meetings

This is an asynchronous online class. “Asynchronous” means that the class doesn’t have a specific on-line meeting time.


Focusing on the years from 1300 to 1825, this course charts the emergence of creole cultures in Mexico, Central America and South America in the years before political independence from Europe. We will focus on the cultural, social, and economic history of Latin America and, necessarily, on the indigenous, Iberian, and West African societies that shaped it. We will use and discuss the intellectual tools and approaches historians use to understand the past. Our readings reflect the ongoing “revisionism” that is an essential aspect of historical thinking.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students describe and assess different interpretations of Latin American history (assessed in on-line quizzes and country projects)
  2. Students use primary sources to support historical interpretations (assessed in discussion board postings and country projects)
  3. Students apply historical interpretations to the colonial history of a specific Latin American country (assessed in country projects)


You can expect me to:

  1. answer your email within 24 hours if you send it through Canvas.
  2. be glad to meet you in person! You are welcome to drop by during my on-campus office hours or send me a message and I’ll try to find a mutually convenient time we can get together on campus.
  3. give you ten days–Monday through Wednesday–to complete the discussion work and take the quizzes in each module.
  4. let you take each module quiz twice, counting the highest score.
  5. give you extensions of a few days for our country projects IF you are keeping up with the quizzes and discussion.
  6. give you detailed feedback on each country project. On the next project, I’ll grade you on whether you used my feedback to improve your work.
  7. take plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty quite seriously. Please read the academic dishonesty section and ask me – throughout the semester – if you have questions.

I expect you to:

  • contact me using Canvas or email when you have questions or problems concerning the class.
  • keep up with the pace of the class.
  • post your Show-N-Tell materials to our Canvas discussion board by 8am Monday of that week.
  • study the posted criteria [I call them “grading grids”] for the different country projects before you undertake them.
  • understand what plagiarism is and ask me if you have questions any time during the semester.

Required Books:

  1. Charles C. Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Vintage Books, 2006).
  2. Matthew Restall, Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest (Oxford University Press, 2004). The 2021 revised edition is also good.
  3. Junia Ferreira Furtado, Chica da Silva: A Brazilian Slave of the Eighteenth Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
  4. John Charles Chasteen, Americanos: Latin America’s Struggle for Independence (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).

Major Assignments:

Syllabus quiz

We’ll start this course with a multiple-choice quiz about this syllabus. Like all our quizzes, you can take it twice and keep the highest score.

Readings, Lectures, and Quizzes

In every module, you’ll read selections from one of our books and watch on-line lectures in screencast format. Some of the lectures will review important or difficult elements of the reading, and others will go deeper into historical topics. The lectures are NOT substitutes for reading the books, but are designed to help you get more out of them. Every module has about 30 minutes of screencast lectures, and a multiple-choice quiz of about 7 questions on the content. You’ll be able to take each quiz twice within a 9-day window. Your highest score will count.

Quizzes on “Unpacking the Evidence”:

In four of our modules during the semester, you will read the materials and do the exercises on a website called World History: Unpacking the Evidence. [] In Module 2, for example, we will study how historians use images (paintings, photographs) as primary sources. There will be a five-question multiple-choice quiz on this “Unpacking the Evidence” materials in each of these four modules. In each of those four modules, Unpacking the Evidence will be the basis of our discussion.

Show-N-Tell (SNT):

In Module 1, you will pick one of the four types of primary sources [images, maps, official documents, and personal accounts] we will study in “Unpacking the Evidence.” Then you will sign up to do an SNT, analyzing an example of that type of primary source. The course schedule shows when each of the different primary sources has its SNT week on the discussion board. For example, if you choose to do your SNT on an image, you would select your image from a list I provide. Then on the Monday that begins Module 3, you and the other image people will post your analysis on the discussion board. I will supply you will a detailed template for your SNT analysis. During Module 3, all the other students in the class will review and critique these image analyses. You will be graded for playing an active role in the class discussion of your post.


During 9 of our modules, you’ll be making two discussion posts about the “Unpacking” website, or the SNTs posted for that module. I’ll assign you a discussion grade of 1 to 10 for each of those 9 modules. Extra credit for video posts.

Country Projects:

  • In Module 1, you’ll choose one Latin American country. During the semester you will research and write three five-page papers about that country, following a template that I provide. These “Country Projects” will ask you to discuss whether themes from our assigned books can be seen in the history and culture of your country. Some countries are not eligible for Country Projects because they are too difficult to research. These are Belize, El Salvador, the Caribbean islands, Costa Rica, and Panama.
  • Country Project #1 is due [2021-09-17 Fri] 5pm
  • Country Project #2 is due [2021-10-08 Fri] 5pm
  • Country Project #3 is due [2021-11-12 Fri] 5pm

Final Country Project:

  • At the end of the semester you’ll use a template I provide to combine your three country project assignments, plus a fourth segment about independence, into a single larger paper about the country you picked.
  • The final project is due at noon on [2021-12-15 Wed]

Grading Policy:

At the end of the semester, students who have accumulated 900 or more points will receive a “A”; 800 to 899 is a “B”; 700 to 799 is a “C”; and 600 to 699 is “D”. Less than 600 points is a failing grade.

Assignment Points
Syllabus quiz 50
4 quizzes on “Unpacking” 20
14 quizzes @ 7 pts 98
9 discussions @ 10 pts 90
1 Show-N-Tell presentation 92
Country Project 1 100
Country Project 2 140
Country Project 3 160
Final Country Project 250
TOTAL 1000


Module 0: [2021-08-16 Mon]

  • Buy the 4 books
  • Study the syllabus
  • Choose a country

Module 1: [2021-08-25 Wed] The World in the 1400s and “The Encounter”

  • Optional Class Q&A on Microsoft TEAMS [2021-08-27 Fri] 1pm
  • Make 1 discussion post introducing yourself to the class. Extra credit for video introductions.
  • Take syllabus quiz
  • Sign up for Show-N-Tell
  • Approx. 27 minutes of on-line lectures, plus quiz
  • Email Dr. G. about which country you chose for your project
  • Read Mann, ix-xii, Chasteen, Preface; Mann, Ch1 (3-30)
  • Make 1 discussion post about the reading

Module 2: [2021-08-30 Mon] The Achievements of Early Americans

  • Optional Class Q&A on Microsoft TEAMS [2021-08-31 Tue] 1pm
  • Approx. 25 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Go to Using Images As Primary Sources; read “Getting Started,” “Questions to Ask,” “Sample Analysis”
  • Complete “You Be the Historian” exercise; take “Unpacking” quiz;
  • Make 2 discussion posts on “Using Images”
  • Read Mann, Ch3 (68-106) and Ch4 (107-150). Ch2 (33-67) is optional

Module 3: [2021-09-06 Mon] Early Americans and the Environment

  • Optional Class Q&A on Microsoft TEAMS [2021-09-07 Tue] 1pm
  • Image Show-N-Tell postings due Monday 8am
  • Approx. 33 Minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Read Mann, Ch 6 (194-227) and Ch9 (315-349)
  • Make 2 discussion postings about the SNTs on images

Module 4: [2021-09-13 Mon] Looking More Closely at the Conquest; CP1 due

  • Optional CP1 Q&A on Microsoft TEAMS [2021-09-14 Tue] 1pm
  • CP1 due at 5pm [2021-09-17 Fri]
  • Approx. 27 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Restall, xiii-xix & Ch1 (1-27); Restall, Ch2 (24-43)

Module 5: [2021-09-20 Mon] African & Indian Conquistadors

  • Optional class discussion on Microsoft TEAMS [2021-09-21 Tue] 1pm
  • Go to Using Maps as Primary Sources; read “Getting Started,” “Questions to Ask,” “Sample Analysis”
  • Complete “You Be the Historian” exercise; take “Unpacking” quiz;
  • Approx. 20 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Make 2 discussion postings about “Using Maps”
  • Restall Ch3 (44-63); Restall Ch4 (64-76) & Ch5 (77-99)

Module 6: [2021-09-27 Mon] Stories about the Destruction of Civilizations- Optional class discussion on TEAMS [2021-09-28 Tue] 1pm

  • Maps SNT postings due Monday 8am
  • Approx. 18 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Restall, Ch6 (100-130); Restall Ch7 (131-145) & Epilogue (147-157)
  • Make 2 discussion postings about the SNTs on maps

Module 7: [2021-10-04 Mon] People of mixed ancestry; CP2 due

  • Optional CP2 Q&A on TEAMS [2021-10-05 Tue] 1pm
  • CP2 due Friday at 5pm
  • Approx. 23 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Furtado, preface (xvii-xxv); Introduction (1-19); Furtado, Ch1 (20-39)

Module 8: [2021-10-11 Mon] COLUMBUS DAY Colonial economies

  • Go to Using Official Documents as Primary Sources; read “Getting Started,” “Questions to Ask,” “Sample Analysis”
  • Complete “You Be the Historian” exercise; take “Unpacking” quiz;
  • Approx. 20 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Make 2 discussion postings about “Using Official Documents”

Module 9: [2021-10-18 Mon] Brazil and Africa

  • Approx. 30 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Furtado, Ch2 (40-68), Furtado, Ch3 (69-103)
  • Make 2 discussion postings

Module 10: [2021-10-25 Mon] Urban spaces

  • Official documents SNTs due Monday 8am
  • Approx. 33 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Make 2 discussion postings about the SNTs on official documents
  • Furtado, Ch4 (104-129); Furtado, Ch5 (130-161)

Module 11: [2021-11-01 Mon] Reforming Two Empires

  • Go to Using Personal Accounts as Primary Sources; read “Getting Started,” “Questions to Ask,” “Sample Analysis”
  • Complete “You Be the Historian” exercise; take “Unpacking” quiz;
  • Approx. 26 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Furtado, Ch6 (162-192); Furtado, Ch7 & Ch8 (193-238)
  • Make 2 discussion postings about “Using Personal Accounts”

Module 12: [2021-11-08 Mon] The American, French and Haitian Revolutions; CP3 due

  • Optional CP3 Q&A [2021-11-09 Tue] 1pm
  • CP3 due [2021-11-12 Fri] at 5pm
  • Approx. 25 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Approx. 9 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Read Furtado, Ch9 (239-258), Furtado, Ch11 (284-304)

Module 13: [2021-11-15 Mon] Spain’s Crisis

  • Personal accounts SNTs due Monday 8am
  • Approx. 26 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Make 2 discussion postings about the SNTs on personal accounts
  • Read Chasteen, 6-34; Chasteen, 35-65

Module 14: [2021-11-22 Mon] THANKSGIVING week: Revolutions in Mexico and Argentina

  • Approx. 30 minutes of on-line lectures plus quiz
  • Read Chasteen, 66-105; 105-158

Module 15: [2021-11-29 Mon] Bolivar and San Martin; Independence Overview

  • Optional Country Project Q&A [2021-11-30 Tue] at 1pm
  • Approx. 11 minutes of on-line lecture and quiz
  • Chasteen, 159-181; 182-192

Final CP due [2021-12-15 Wed] at noon

All procedures and policies in this course are subject to change in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Institutional Information:

UTA students are encouraged to review the below institutional policies and informational sections and reach out to the specific office with any questions. To view this institutional information, please visit the Institutional Information page ( which includes the following policies among others:

  • Drop Policy
  • Disability Accommodations
  • Title IX Policy
  • Academic Integrity
  • Student Feedback Survey
  • Final Exam Schedule


At The University of Texas at Arlington, taking attendance is not required. Rather, each faculty member is free to develop his or her own methods of evaluating students’ academic performance, which includes establishing course-specific policies on attendance. As the instructor of this on-line course, I use the quizzes and discussion assignments to gauge your active involvement in the class but I do not have a separate attendance grade.

Academic Integrity:

Students enrolled in all UT Arlington courses are expected to adhere to the UT Arlington Honor Code:

I pledge, on my honor, to uphold UT Arlington’s tradition of academic integrity, a tradition that values hard work and honest effort in the pursuit of academic excellence.

I promise that I will submit only work that I personally create or contribute to group collaborations, and I will appropriately reference any work from other sources. I will follow the highest standards of integrity and uphold the spirit of the Honor Code.

UT Arlington faculty members may employ the Honor Code as they see fit in their courses, including (but not limited to) having students acknowledge the honor code as part of an examination or requiring students to incorporate the honor code into any work submitted. Per UT System Regents’ Rule 50101, §2.2, suspected violations of university’s standards for academic integrity (including the Honor Code) will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. Violators will be disciplined in accordance with University policy, which may result in the student’s suspension or expulsion from the University. Additional information is available at

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