Anyone who has taught the second half of the Latin American history survey has faced the daunting task of reconciling the three organizing principles of the course: time, place, and theme. Most course syllabi privilege one of these principles over the others, and at best, instructors manage to incorporate two of them. In courses focused on chronology, students get a good grasp of the broad sweep of Latin American history over time and some salient moments in that history, such as independence; caudillismo and nation building; the era of liberal modernization; populism, revolution, and military regimes; and contemporary Latin America. For such courses, the challenge lies in creating thematic unity and representing regional diversity. Students in courses that privilege geography learn the difference between Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, and they discover that “Latin America” is an imperfect term for a vast and highly...

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