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Modern Mexico (HIST 4110, Fall 2013)


The course is an analysis of the interplay of Mexican politics, economic opportunities, culture and relations with the United over the course of Mexican history and how it shapes present-day conditions. The course is organized in six units, four of which are chronological and two are thematic.

I build the class around active learning activities, primarily discussion, group work and graded online discussion boards. About a third of the contents are delivered and discussed online and graded using a rubric. Interactive lectures are also a component of the class. Students will write one ten-page paper at the end of either unit 3 or 5, five five-page essays and participate in online discussion boards.


  1. What is Mexico? (week 1)
  2. The Nineteenth Century (weeks 2–3)
  3. The Mexican Revolution (weeks 4–6)
  4. The Perfect Dictatorship (weeks 7–8)
  5. Crisis and Democracy (weeks 9–13)
  6. The Border (weeks 14–15)

The Graduate Section

This course has a graduate section. Graduate and undergrad students participate in class discussions, both are equal citizens. Graduate students add more readings tailored to their interests (at least two books), lead some class discussions, and write a longer paper.


All books will be available in the bookstore.

  1. Meyer, Sherman and Deeds, The Course of Mexican History ($55, $25 for rent)

    A thorough review of Mexican history. Expensive but good. You can rent it or buy it used. If you need to buy an older edition, please visit the library to see acquire the latest chapter and adjust chapter numbers. Thanks!!!

  2. Henderson and Joseph, The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics ($20)

    An anthology of primary and secondary sources. We use this anthology extensively in our class and online discussions and in the papers and essays. On the distinction between primary and secondary sources, click on this BGSU Library document.

  3. Eric Zolov, Refried Elvis: The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture ($28, $17 ebook)

    The history of Mexican rock and roll provides an entry point to discuss cultural and social change from the 1950s to the 1970s and how the urban middle-class youth defied the perfect dictatorship—and its response.

  4. Judith Adler Hellman, Mexican Lives ($13)

    Fascinating ethnographic account of how Mexicans of different walks of life live. Their dreams, aspirations and fear during the dramatic transformations of the eighties. The impact of free trade, migration, organization of grass roots movements.

  5. Jeffrey Pilcher, Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of National Identity ($26)

    For centuries native cuisine was seen as a backward legacy of the prehispanic past. This book discusses how and why did tamales and tacos become the proud symbol of Mexican identity?

  6. Daniel Jaffee, Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival ($25, $16 ebook) [to be confirmed]

    Transformations brought by fair trade movement in a small rural community in the Mexican south.

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