Thomas M. Edsall, Ph.D.

Previously Taught Courses

Welcome to the page that leads you to information on the history courses I have taught over the previous eight years at Tulane University (New Orleans, LA), College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA), and Assumption College (Worcester, MA).

History of Colonial Latin America
This course is designed as a survey of colonial Latin American History.  It traces the origins of Latin American society, focusing on the cultural interaction between the different groups that call the region home.  Themes include an examination of Iberian and Pre-Columbian Indigenous societies, the conquest of the region by Spanish and Portuguese invaders, the social, political, and economic order they imposed on the region, resistance and adaptation to this order, the structure and distribution of power, land and labor, and the order and disorder of colonial society. A major theme is the interethnic relationships between European, African, and Indigenous men and women, which made up the complex social fabric of the colony.

History of Modern Latin America
This course is designed to survey modern Latin American history from Independence to the present.  It will provide an overview of Latin American history punctuated with lectures/discussions on specific countries. The class will provide a broad overview of the growth of nationalism, the struggle for social justice, and the effects of internal and external attempts at domination while emphasizing that these issue shaped the lives of tens of millions of Latin Americans over the past two centuries. The class will place a special emphasis on the histories of Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina as examples of these general trends.

History of Modern Europe and the United States: 1815-Present
The course provides an overview of Western Civilization and U.S. history with an emphasis on the struggle for social equality, political democracy, and the growth of nationalism.  It will also discuss the conflict between the ideologies of liberalism, fascism, and Marxism that have so defined the 20th century. The goal will also to show how history has affected individuals and led to cultural and social change.  Finally, the class will examine modern U.S. history to critically analyze the political, cultural, and social world we live in today.

History of Modern Europe and the United States: 476-1815
An overview of the development of Western Civilization after the fall of Rome to the Atlantic Revolutions of the United States and France. A Western Civilization course with greater emphasis on Colonial and Revolutionary United States.

Introduction to Latin American Studies
To introduce students to issues facing contemporary Latin America through an examination of anthropology, history, culture, politics, science, and economics.  This is a social science course so although culture will be talked about the primary focus is on other concepts.  Although this course is primarily focused on the 20th century, the student must be aware that many of Latin America’s present characteristics are inherited from Iberian, pre-Columbian, African, Colonial, and 19th century beliefs, economic and political organization, and events. At the end of the course students should be familiar with the region’s rich heritage as well as the many challenges facing Latin America as it enters the 21st Century. As a result, the course covers a wide range of subjects, themes, and materials.  It is a very broad course that ranges over 20 countries and hundreds of years.  Don’t be surprised at the amount of material covered in the 16 weeks of the course.

Fractured Identities:  The Politics of Culture in Modern Argentina
The goal of this interdisciplinary Latin American Studies course is to explore the evolution of Argentina’s fractured national identity through a discussion of its history, politics, and culture from Independence to the present. The class will focus on the divisions between liberals and nationalists, Buenos Aires and the countryside, and elite and folk culture.  These topics will be addressed chronologically through historical, political and literary texts, lectures, and discussion.  The exhaustive interdisciplinary study of these political and cultural divisions will enable the student to gain an understanding of the complexities involved in the formation and development of a unique Argentine political culture. In turn, a study of the historical, political and literary perspectives of these divisions will help explain how one of the richest countries of the world at the beginning of the 20th century stagnated and fell into brutal dictatorship. The time period covered will be from 1810 to 1982.