History Department
History Department

Joshua Frens-String


Assistant ProfessorPh.D., New York University

Joshua Frens-String

Contact

Biography


On Leave during Academic Year 2019-2020


I am a historian of modern Latin America. I received my Ph.D. in History from New York University in 2015. My current book project, "Hungry for Revolution: Food, Land, and Labor in the Making of Modern Chile" explores the role of food politics and policy in the rise and fall of Chile's Popular Unity (UP) revolution and the country's mid-twentieth century developmental welfare state. Prior to joining the faculty at UT, I was a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in NYU's Core Curriculum program and an editor of the NACLA Report on the Americas, one of the most widely-read English-language quarterlies on Latin America and its relationship with the United States. I have also served as managing editor of the Radical History Review and as a researcher with the Open Society Institute's Latin America Program. My research and teaching interests include revolution in modern Latin America, popular politics, labor history, urban history, the history of food, and U.S.-Latin American relations.

Courses


HIS 318W • Thinking Like A Historian

38830 • Spring 2019
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GAR 0.132
Wr

“Thinking Like a Historian” is a lower-division seminar for History majors/potential majors/interested students of history. Its goal is to familiarize students with the problems and practices involved in the interpretation and writing of history. Group writing assignments will require students to engage with historical resources located in on-campus archives (for eg., the LBJ Presidential Library, the Briscoe Center for American History, the Benson Library, and the Harry Ransom Center) to analyze different aspects of the turbulent 1960s, both in the U.S. and around the world. Other facets of the historians’ craft will be explored through reading and short writing assignments about slavery, empire, revolution, and the development of modern capitalism. By the end of the semester students should be able to critically evaluate historical interpretations rather than simply memorize them.

Required Texts:
*Arlette Farge (with Natalie Zemon Davis) The Allure of the Archives (Yale University Press, 2013)
*Richard J. Evans, In Defense of History  (WW Norton, 2000)
*Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (Bedford/St. Martins, 7th ed, 2012)
 *Additional articles and readings will be posted online

Grading:
Exam 1: 20%
Exam 2: 20%
Group Writing Project 1: 10%
Group Writing Project 2: 15%
Group Writing Project 3: 15%
Weekly Written Responses: 10%
Participation, Attendance, In-class Engagement:  10%



HIS 350L • Chile: Revlutn To Cnterrevlutn

38925 • Spring 2019
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM GAR 1.134
IIWr (also listed as LAS 366)

Political commentators and scholars alike often describe Chile as one of Latin America’s most “exceptional” countries, identifying it as among the region’s richest, most politically stable, and most “modern” nation-states. But as the history of Chile’s twentieth century reveals, such characterizations stand atop a more complicated—and frequently turbulent—recent past. In 1970, Chile became the first country in the hemisphere to freely elect a socialist government that promised a far-reaching social and economic revolution. However, just three years later the country would be ruled by one of the region’s most brutal twentieth-century dictatorships. While the country experienced gangbusters growth during the 1980s and 1990s, Chile would so too come to hold the infamous distinction as one of the region’s—if not the world’s—most unequal societies.
 
In this writing-intensive seminar, we will investigate this challenging and often contradictory history by discussing—and most importantly, writing about—some of the key political, social, and economic events that underpin contemporary Chilean society. In so doing, we will also use the case of Chile to explore the key issues at stake in Latin America during the global Cold War era. Some of the questions we will ask (and seek to answer) include: what constituted “social democracy” in modern Chile? How did democracy relate to the allure of socialism in the twentieth century? How did political participation shape both individual and collective identities of those who supported Chile’s conservative right, its socialist left, and those who felt excluded from both? In addition, we’ll explore the political and economic role of the United States in shaping Chile’s recent past, while also examining how both traumatic periods of revolution and counterrevolution were experienced by everyday people—at the workplace, within self-constructed neighborhoods, and in the most intimate spaces of family life. Finally, we will examine how processes of peaceful reform and violent counter-reform shaped and reshaped ideas about racial difference, social class, gender, and sexuality.
Required Texts:


Elizabeth Quay Hutchison, et. al, eds., The Chile Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University Press, 2014)
 
Jody Pavilack, Mining for the Nation: The Politics of Chile’s Coal Communities from the Popular Front to the Cold War (Penn State University Press, 2011)
 
Peter Winn, Weavers of Revolution: The Yarur Workers and Chile’s Road to Socialism (Oxford University Press, 1986)
 
Pamela Constable and Arturo Valenzuela, A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet (W.W. Norton & Co.: 1991)
 
*Additional journal articles and book excerpts will be scanned and uploaded to the course website on Canvas. You will be expected to download and print these readings yourself.
Evaluation and Grading:

*Course Participation, Attendance, and Engagement (10%)
*Skill Assignment #1 (10%): Short paper #1 TBD
*Skill Assignment #2 (10%): Short paper #2 TBD
*Skill Assignment #3 (10%): Short paper #3 TBD
*Core Assignment #1 (5%): Paper on Research Topics & Research Questions, 1 pg
*Core Assignment #2 (10%): Annotated bibliography & outline, ~5-6 pgs
*Core Assignment #3 (5%): First draft of Final Paper, 6-8 pgs
*Core Assignment #4 (10%): 10-minute research presentation to the class
*Core Assignment #5 (30%) Final Research paper, 10-12 pgs  + 2 pg revisions memo

HIS 306N • Latin America And The Us

38925 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 2.112
GC (also listed as LAS 310)

Utilizing a combination of secondary literature (scholarly books, journal articles, etc.) and a close reading of primary sources, this course will explore the different social, economic, political, and cultural encounters that have both divided and united the western hemisphere (North, Central, and South America, as well as the Caribbean) over the last two centuries. The focus of the course will include discussions of particularly significant events in the history of U.S-Latin American foreign relations—everything from U.S. military interventions, diplomatic encounters, social revolutions, and political counterrevolutions to important examples of economic and cultural exchange and the hemispheric movement of peoples and ideas. Throughout the course, we will consider the ways in which varying internal conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean have allowed the region to resist U.S. influence—in some cases, even providing Latin American and Caribbean nations the ability to exert considerable power over U.S. politics and culture. Finally, students will be expected to analyze the different ways that Latin America, as a region, has been viewed or represented through North American eyes (and vice versa), and the many political consequences those representations have had over the last two centuries.

Texts:

*Robert Holden and Eric Zolov, The United States and Latin America: A Documentary History (Oxford, 2010)
 
*Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, 2nd ed. (Harvard University Press, 2005). [Note: There are older editions of this book but please make sure you purchase the second edition].
 
*Stephen G. Rabe, The Killing Zone: The United States Wages Cold War in Latin America, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 2016)
 
*Additional journal articles and book excerpts will be scanned and uploaded to the course website, via Canvas. Students will be expected to download, print, read and take notes on these readings on their own. Each week’s readings must be brought to class.

Grading:
Paper #1: 10% (2 pages)
Midterm: 20%
Paper #2: 20% (3-4 pages)
Final: 30%
Map Quizzes (4 Total, each 2.5%): 10%
Course Participation/Engagement: 10%

LAS 366 • Revolutn In Modern Lat Amer

39822 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GAR 1.126
Wr

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

HIS 306N • Latin America And The Us

38780 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM GAR 1.126
GC (also listed as LAS 310)

Utilizing a combination of secondary literature (books, journal articles, etc.) and a close reading of primary sources, this course will explore the different social, economic, political, and cultural structures and concerns that came to both divide and unite the western hemisphere (North, Central, and South America, as well as the Caribbean) following independence from Europe. The focus of the course will include discussions of particularly significant “macro-historical” events and processes in the history of U.S-Latin American foreign relations—everything from U.S. military interventions, diplomatic encounters, social revolutions, and political counterrevolutions to important examples of economic and cultural exchange and the hemispheric movement of peoples and ideas. Throughout the course will also consider the way in which varying internal conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean have allowed the region to resist U.S. influence—in some cases, even allowing Latin American nations and their citizens to exert considerable power in shaping U.S. policy and culture. Finally, students will be expected to analyze the different ways that Latin America, as a region, has been viewed or represented through North American eyes (and vice versa) over nearly two centuries.

Texts:

Lars Schoultz, Beneath the United States: A History of U.S. Policy Toward Latin America (Harvard Press, 1998)

Robert Holden and Eric Zolov, The United States and Latin America: A Documentary History (Oxford, 2010)

Rachel Kushner, Telex from Cuba (Simon & Schuster, 2008)

Grading:

Paper #1: 10% (2-3 pages)

Midterm Exam: 30%

Paper #2: 20% (5 pages)

Final Exam: 30%

Course Participation/Engagement: 10%

HIS 350L • Chile: Revlutn To Cnterrevlutn

39015 • Spring 2018
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM GDC 2.502
IIWr (also listed as LAS 366)

Political commentators and scholars alike often describe Chile as one of Latin America’s most “exceptional” countries, identifying it as among the region’s richest, most politically stable, and most “modern” nation-states. But as the history of twentieth-century Chile reveals, such characterizations stand atop a more complicated—and frequently turbulent—recent past. The first country in the world to elect socialist government that promised a far-reaching social and economic revolution in 1970, just three years later Chile would be ruled by one of the region’s most brutal twentieth-century military dictatorships. While the country experienced gangbusters growth during the 1980s and 1990s, Chile would so too come to hold the infamous distinction as one of the region’s—if not the world’s—most unequal societies.  

In this seminar, we’ll investigate this challenging and often contradictory history by way of some of the key political, social, and economic events that underpin contemporary Chilean society. In so doing, we’ll also use the case of Chile to explore some of the key issues at stake in Latin America during the global Cold War era. For example, we’ll ask: what constituted the principles of “social democracy” in twentieth-century Chile? How did political participation shape both the individual and collective identities of those who supported Chile’s conservative right, its socialist left, and those who felt excluded from both? We’ll explore the political and economic role of the United Sates in Chile’s twentieth-century development, and examine how both traumatic periods of revolution and counterrevolution were experienced by everyday people—at the workplace, within self-constructed neighborhoods of metropolitan Santiago, and in the most intimate spaces of family life. And throughout the course, we’ll look at how processes of peaceful reform and violent counter-reform shaped and reshaped popular ideas about racial difference, social class, gender relations, and sexuality. Finally, we’ll end the course by critically appraising the extent to which the remnants of Chile’s tumultuous mid-twentieth century persist today in the country’s social and political movements.

Texts:
Elizabeth Quay Hutchison, et. al, eds., The Chile Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University Press, 2014)

Peter Winn, Weavers of Revolution: The Yarur Workers and Chile’s Road to Socialism (Oxford University Press, 1986)

Pamela Constable and Arturo Valenzuela, A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet (W.W. Norton & Co.: 1991)

*Additional journal articles and book excerpts will be scanned and uploaded to the course website
This course carries both a writing flag and an independent inquiry flag. As such, the assignments in the course are aimed at expanding and improving students’ writing skills and guiding you through the process of independent research—specifically, historical research. Concretely, this will include the following: writing two short essays, both of which will be based on students’ ability to revise and expand upon ideas first presented in online journal responses to our weekly readings (both primary and secondary sources); independently researching a topic of your choosing (but one that we touch upon in class) and incorporating feedback from your classmates and the professor on that research topic; and completing a final independent paper that is based both upon readings in the course and outside research.

*Course Participation & Engagement (10%)
*Weekly Online Journal Responses (10%)
*Paper 1: Revision/Expansion of one journal response, 2-3 pages, (10%)
*Paper 2: Revision/Expansion of a second journal response, 2-3 pages (10%)
*Paper 3: Annotated Bibliography and Written Paper Outline, 5-6 pages (15%)
*Revised Paper 3 (10%)
*Final Independent Research Paper, 10-12 page research paper (35%)

HIS 306N • Latin America And The Us

39195 • Fall 2017
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM MEZ 1.120
GC (also listed as LAS 310)

Utilizing a combination of secondary literature (books, journal articles, etc.) and a close reading of primary sources, this course will explore the different social, economic, political, and cultural structures and concerns that came to both divide and unite the western hemisphere (North, Central, and South America, as well as the Caribbean) following independence from Europe. The focus of the course will include discussions of particularly significant “macro-historical” events and processes in the history of U.S-Latin American foreign relations—everything from U.S. military interventions, diplomatic encounters, social revolutions, and political counterrevolutions to important examples of economic and cultural exchange and the hemispheric movement of peoples and ideas. Throughout the course will also consider the way in which varying internal conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean have allowed the region to resist U.S. influence—in some cases, even allowing Latin American nations and their citizens to exert considerable power in shaping U.S. policy and culture. Finally, students will be expected to analyze the different ways that Latin America, as a region, has been viewed or represented through North American eyes (and vice versa) over nearly two centuries.

Texts:

Lars Schoultz, Beneath the United States: A History of U.S. Policy Toward Latin America (Harvard Press, 1998)

Robert Holden and Eric Zolov, The United States and Latin America: A Documentary History (Oxford, 2010)

Van Gosse, Where the Boys Are: Cuba, Cold War America, and the Making of the New Left (Verso, 1993)

*Additional journal articles and book excerpts will be scanned and uploaded to the course website. 

 

Grading:

Paper #1: 10% (2-3 pages)

Midterm Exam: 30%

Paper #2: 20% (5 pages)

Final Exam: 30%

Course Participation/Engagement: 10%

 

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