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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST3760 A Revolutionary Century: Resistance, Reform, and Repression in Central America, 1900- present

40 creditsClass Size: 16

Module manager: Dr Rodrigo Véliz

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module is designed to introduce students to new historical approaches to twentieth-century Central America. Sandwiched between Mexico and the South American continent, the isthmus is often overlooked or treated as an afterthought by historians of Latin America. Central American agency and relations with the wider world have also been obscured by a tendency to characterise the region as the United States’ “backyard”. Nevertheless, Central Americans in the 20th century have played pivotal roles in shaping their own local, national, and regional histories. They also interacted with the wider world (including – but not limited to the United States) as they mobilised allies, challenged enemies, and exchanged ideas. This module focuses predominantly on how and with what consequences Nicaraguans, Guatemalans, and Salvadorans fought for social, political, and economic change in their own countries. However, students will also explore the historical trajectory of Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama, and discuss Central American interactions with the rest of Latin America, the United States, Europe, and the Global South. Primary sources are at the heart of this module and students will analyse posters, music, testimonials, memoirs, speeches, letters, and memoranda to come to a better understanding of Central America’s century of revolution and its present-day legacies.


The aim of this module is to provide students with the tools to analyse and critically engage with primary sources (translated if necessary) and the latest research into the domestic, regional, and international history of Central America’s twentieth century history.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of this module, students will have:

Demonstrated deeper understanding of twentieth-century Central American history and its present-day legacies

Analysed connections between local, national, regional, transnational, international, and global histories of Central America

Critically engaged with the relevant historiography on twentieth-century Central America and the region’s connections with the wider world

Evaluated the different types of sources that historians can use to study 20th century Central American history

Developed the ability to apply fundamental standards and practices of historical study for research, discussion, and assessed work.


Indicative topics include themes such as revolution and resistance; race, gender, and indigeneity; violence and repression; anti-imperialism and intervention; dictatorship and democracy; counterinsurgency and anti-communism; struggles for social justice; the creation of the Panama Canal; the US occupation of Nicaragua; La Matanza in El Salvador; the Guatemalan Spring; the Nicaraguan Revolution; the Central American civil wars; peace processes and democratic transitions; migration and memories; and the drug trade.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours356.00
Total Contact hours44.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive formative feedback on their source commentaries, either as a group or individually, prior to final submission at the end of the year. They will also receive feedback on their presentation and on the essay due at the end of the first semester.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or Dissertation4000-word essay, due exam week 250.00
Oral Presentation20-minute presentation with slides and a 1000-word script20.00
PortfolioA collection of blog posts (each c.300 words) to add up to no more than 3000 words30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The resit for the presentation can if necessary be a 1500 word essay.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/09/2022


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