This upper division option examines the life-course of Mexico’s Revolution through both its armed and post-revolutionary phases, from about 1910-1940. During the semester we will focus on several key questions. What kind of revolution was the Mexican Revolution: an agrarian, political, social, cultural, or even mythical process?
What caused and drove it? What did ordinary people think about the revolution and how far did they shape its course or simply suffer its progress and consequences? Did “many Mexicos” just produce many revolutions, or can broad narratives be discerned? What were the main contours of Mexico’s post-revolutionary regime, and how different were they to those of the old regime?
To do well, you will need to develop your analytical skills (e.g. concerning different interpretations of the Revolution, not just factual recall); your compositional skills (by presenting a reasoned, opinionated case on paper); and your communication skills (by contributing to discussions). By the end of the course you will have a broad theoretical sense of what constitutes a social revolution and a detailed knowledge of Mexico’s revolutionary history that will help you to make up your own mind about the $64K questions: did twentieth-century Mexico truly experience a revolution? If so, how “revolutionary” was it?
Mariano Azuela, The Underdogs: A Novel of the Mexican Revolution
New York: Penguin, 2008)
David Brading (ed.), Caudillo and Peasant in the Mexican Revolution
Cambridge: CUP, 1980)
Leslie Bethell (ed.), Mexico since Independence (Cambridge: CUP, 1994)
Luis González y González, San José de Gracia: Mexican Village in
Transition (Austin: UT, 1974)
Carlos Fuentes, The Death of Artemio Cruz (New York: Farrar,
Strauss, & Giroux, 1991)
Stephen E. Lewis and Mary Kay Vaughan, The Eagle and the Virgin:
Nation and Cultural Revolution in Mexico, 1920-1940 (Durham: Duke,
John Womack Jr., Zapata and the Mexican Revolution (New York:
Map quiz (10%)
Reading papers (collectively 40%)
Mid-term quiz (10%)
Final paper (40%)