Latin American History The purpose of this paper is to familiarize students with a contemporary issue facing Latin America. Choose a topic that is a current issue or recent problem (last 10-15 years) facing Latin America or Latinos in the United States. I have provided a sample list of possible topics below or create your own. Topics should be approved by the instructor. It is important to have a fairly narrow, well-focused topic that can be covered in 6-8 pages. Don’t try to cover to broad of a topic or focus on multiple countries. That will make your paper unmanageable. You will need at least six different sources for this paper. You will find that newspaper and magazine articles, as well as the Internet, are for more valuable resources than books for this assignment, although the use of books is encouraged. You must find your information from at least three different types of sources. It is not enough to just get six articles from the Chicago Tribune, for example. Choose your subject wisely. When you have finished reading about your subject, write a paper containing the elements discussed below. The paper should be at least six double-spaced, typed pages using 12 point font and margins of 1 inch all the way around. Don’t forget to include an annotated bibliography of the sources used and a cover page (the bibliography and cover page do not count as part of the six-page minimum). You can use whatever academic style that you are most familiar with – MLA, APA, Chicago-style. If you have any questions concerning style, citations, or punctuation, consider looking for help at Harper’s Writing Center (https://www.harpercollege.edu/academic- support/writing/index.php) or you can consult one of the style guides at the library. Remember the Harper Writing Center is available to proofread your papers for you. Any plagiarism will result in a failing grade and an academic dishonesty report on filed with the vice president’s office.
1) Write an introductory paragraph that establishes your topic. Be sure to give the time frame and place that you are discussing. Give a general overview of the purpose of your essay and the main parts of your paper. Briefly mention why you chose this topic and why you think that it is important.
2) Summarize the issue you are researching. The summary should be carefully organized with the major points in chronological order or in order of intensifying effect (the most important factor mentioned last). All relevant terms and names should be fully explained and analyzed. Be sure to provide appropriate citations to your sources. The body of the paper should explain the issue that you have researched, give a brief history of the topic, and look at possible future consequences/solutions to the problem. Can you relate your topic to any of the themes discussed in class?
3) What role has the United States played in this matter? Is the United States part of the solution or part of the problem? Can the United States do more? Does this topic have a significant impact on the United States?
4) If you were in charge, what would you do about this topic? What position would you have to be in to make significant changes? What new problems might these changes cause? Why hasn’t this approach been tried before?
5) What do you predict will happen regarding this issue in the next 5 years? Will things be better or worse? Why do you believe the way that you do?
6) Write a concluding paragraph that summarizes the main points in your paper in 2-3 sentences. Conclude with your opinion of the significance of the topic and its impact.
7) An annotated bibliography includes 2-3 sentences about each of the sources under the bibliographical information. Include a 1-sentence summary of the source’s content. You could also mention if the source has a particular bias or perspective, what you learned from the source, or why it is a particularly useful source for your paper. Be specific. For help with annotated bibliographies, go to: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/annotated_bibliographies/index.html
Possible General Topics and Issues (You will want to focus on one country) You might want to research a specific aspect of one of these topics in one or two specific countries. Do not try to cover all of Latin America. Or create your own topic. Any major recent political, economic, social, or cultural trends Recent or upcoming elections (e.g., Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, etc.) An environmental issue in Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, etc. Rainforests, pollution, water shortages, etc. NAFTA, CAFTA, free trade zones Maquiladoras Labor disputes in Latin America (Venezuela, Argentina, Guatemala, etc.) Chiapas The war on drugs in Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Cuba, Bolivia, Peru, etc. The Venezuelan oil industry and/or Hugo Chavez’s reforms The effects of the 2009 global recession on Latin American countries The Cuban Embargo (for or against) Immigration from Latin America to the United States Civil War in Colombia Women’s rights – workplace rights, domestic violence, political rights, etc. (country: Brazil) Indigenous rights/opportunities in Latin America Human rights issues in Latin America Political corruption Child welfare issues – education, child labor, etc. Pinochet’s trial in Chile
The policies of a current Latin American leader (e.g. Hugo Chavez or Evo Morales) Issues of U.S. relations with Latin America The effects of the recession in Latin America. The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) effects on Latin America Terrorist groups in Latin America U.S. aid programs in Latin America Good Sources for Information to Get Started – REMEMBER – Encyclopedias and Textbooks are NOT college-level sources. This includes on- line encyclopedias! NewsBank (Harper Library Database for newspaper articles)
FirstSearch (Harper Library Database for magazine articles (Use “topic area” = News & current events and when asked for “search in” use PerAbs)
CNN.com http://www.bbc.co.uk (BBC on-line) www.oas.org (Organization of American States) lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/cshome.html (Library of Congress Country Studies) www.state.gov (U.S. Department of State) *****Check the Research Guides section of the Harper Library web site for additional sources. Look under “History” and then “Latin American History”.*****
Some Writing Tips to Improve Your Grade
In your research paper it is expected that you will use a formal, academic style of writing. In order to help you do this, I have included the following suggestions for your paper. Proofread carefully or get help from the Harper Writing Center. Grammar, style and punctuation are part of the final grade.
1) Do not use contractions in formal writing. (Words like don’t, won’t didn’t, etc.) 2) Do not use abbreviations. 3) Unless you personally know the person about whom you are writing, do not refer to them simply by
their first name. The first time you write the name, give the first and last name. Thereafter, you can use either the last name or the person’s title.
4) *****Use appropriate citations. You can use footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical references, whichever you are most comfortable using. You do not have to cite every fact in your paper. However, all quotations and statistics should be cited. Other facts that are questionable, debatable or controversial should also be cited. You should also cite any time you report someone else’s opinion.****
5) Use the correct form of “its.” “Its” is a possessive pronoun, for example, “the dog ate its bone.” “It’s” is a contraction meaning it is. For example, “It’s a beautiful day.” Also, use the correct form of “there” and “their”. “There” refers to a place, as in “He is over there.” “Their” is a plural possessive pronoun, as in “They waited for their ride.”
6) Know when to use “U.S.” instead of “United States.” “United States” is a noun and “U.S.” is an adjective. For example, “The government of the United States” or “the U.S. government.” Both are correct. You would not write “the government of the U.S.” or “the United States government.”
7) Avoid using the word “got.”
8) Do not use slang terms.
9) Do not use second person perspective (forms of the word “You”). It is okay to use first person perspective, provided that you maintain a formal tone.
10) Be careful to avoid plagiarizing your sources. Make sure that you know the difference between paraphrasing and plagiarism. Any plagiarism will result in a minimum of a failing grade for the assignment. Put your paper in your own words