K. Hogan      
Office: B 3110 Seminar II
Mail: B 2124 Seminar II
Tel. 360 867 5078
Fall Quarter      Four credits      B3109-SemII      Tuesdays 6—10 pm
Please put the program title in the subject heading of all email or it is likely to be mistaken for spam

Brief country profiles from the BBC:

Costa Rica
El Salvador

Research links, government documents, etc.
The Nation Digital Archive — from 1865-one year ago (might not work from off campus)
Ebscohost (aka Academic Search Elite) full-text for recent years (TESC name and ID number off-campus)

Readings for 30 November

Theories of Revolution

The invasion of Panamá

This four-credit interdisciplinary course is concerned with Central America in the latter half of the 20th century. That was a difficult time in Central America.  Population growth and the use of land for the production of timber, cattle, and crops for export put increasing pressure on the natural environment.  The relationships between countries were sometimes strained, and within countries, struggles for social justice and more equitable land distribution led to revolutions that met with bloody repression.  The United States actively supported conservative governments and counterrevolutionary forces, and in 1989 sent thousands of troops into a full-scale invasion of the Republic of Panama.

We'll learn about tropical rainforest ecology and conservation, deforestation, and land use issues.  We'll read about social, cultural, and political dynamics within and among these countries, and we will focus especially on the relationships with the United States, including its military exploits and its support for counterrevolutionary forces. We'll also get an introduction to Central American cultures, including language, literature and music. Some of the readings, lectures and discussions will be in Spanish. For this reason, one year of Spanish language instruction is a prerequisite.

Readings include
Tropical Nature
by A. Forsyth and K. Miyata
Bitter Fruit: the Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala by Schlesinger&Kinzer
Inevitable Revolutions: the United States in Central America
by  W.  Lafeber

Additional readings will be selected from

Ecología y Conservación de Bosques Neotropicales
por Guariguata y Katten
People of the Tropical Rainforest
 by Denslow and Padoch
Alternatives to Deforestation by Anderson
and others.

Tentative Syllabus – América Central – Fall 2004




Readings (by date listed)



28 Sep


Geography & climate




language assessment

5 Oct

Tropical ecology

Tropical Nature



12 Oct

Tropical conservation, land use

Readings on conservation, land use, indigenous people (Anderson, Guariguata, Clay, Denslow)



Film: Environment under Fire

19 Oct

The Columbian Exchange / Central American history

de las Casas

Inevitable Revolutions

First paper due



26 Oct

El Salvador

Inevitable Revolutions
One day of Life




2 Nov


Bitter Fruit / Fruta Amarga



Film: When the Mountains Tremble
9 Nov


Cortázar: Solentiname
Cardenal? Ramirez?



Film: La Insurrección
16 Nov

Costa Rica / Honduras

To be added

Second paper due


30 Nov


To be added



Film:  Get up, Stand up

7 Dec

Retrospective and prospective





You will have two short papers to write.  For one of these you will give an oral presentation, in English or Spanish, to the class.  For both papers, your task is to select a political, historical, or environmental topic and do one of the following
  • Examine both sides of a particular question, e.g. who was right, who was wrong and why?  Take sides in a dispute, contemporary or historical. 
  • Ask the question, where are they now, or what is the situation like now? For example, did the invasion of Panamá really lead to democratcy?  Where are the former leaders of the Sandinistas, or the FMLN, and what are they doing now?  Did the destruction of tropical forests that was predicted twenty years ago actually come to pass?
For each paper, seek out information from a variety of sources, e.g. on the political spectrum, and briefly discuss how their perspective influences their analysis or conclusions.   In addition, you will have several other short assignments, such as a short translation, or some questions about the reading for you to respond to. Your paper should be about 1000 words (about 3 pp. double spaced Times Roman font, 1 inch margins all around). Cite and list your sources.

Learning objectives
  •    Develop a basic understanding of tropical climates and biomes, including the factors that determining their distribution
  •    Become familiar with the variety of ways that tropical organisms adapt to their environment, and be able to discuss some specific examples
  •    Gain experience reading, hearing and speaking Spanish, and show development of these skills
  •    Demonstrate a knowledge of some major historical processes and events in Central America in the second half of the 20th century, and be able to discuss some specific examples
  •    Develop skills in critical thinking and analytical abilities, including evaluating information from diverse sources
  •    Demonstrate the ability to present  work effectively both verbally and in writ