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‎ History

Professor/Research & Instruction Librarian

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Susan Montgomery
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Essay Prompt #2

Choice B:

One key group in the Bolivian Revolution were peasants. The aftermath of the revolution helped spur them to think about the specificity of their situation in the country and across time in new ways. For this essay, use the peasant manifestoes uploaded to the class Canvas website and discuss how peasants involved in these organizations envisioned themselves, their place in history, and their place in politics. You should show how their ideas shifted over time—one of the things many historians focus on is change over time, and in this essay you should aim to analyze this through a close reading of their writings. In addition to these manifestoes, include at least two additional primary sources.


Essay Prompt #1

This week you read two of the most influential thinkers of turn of the century Peru writing on what they see as the main problems confronting the Peruvian nation. For this essay, the first of three for the semester, write a paper of in which you read both Manuel González Prada and José Carlos Mariátegui closely and discuss which ideas they share and where they depart from one another. Of course these were not the only influential thinkers of the day. In addition to analyzing González Prada and Mariátegui, you should include one additional thinker in your essay. This will be someone writing and publishing anywhere from 1884 to 1930, may be something translated into English or in the original Spanish, but it must be a primary source and not a secondary source. It could be someone writing political essays, a short story writer, a poet, an activist, or a researcher/academic.

Essay Prompt #2

Choice A:

The Bolivian Revolution affected Bolivians across the spectrum. But it also affected United States interests as well. For this essay, use the declassified US State Department paper and the selected Life magazine articles uploaded to the class Canvas website and discuss the ways in which the authors of the articles portray, conceptualize, and imagine Bolivia and the revolution. Questions you might think about might include:

  • Who benefits from the revolution? Who does not?
  • What are the causes of the revolution?
  • What might the US and US interests do in relation to Bolivia?
  • What, more broadly, is Bolivia?

For this essay, you must also include at least two additional primary source. This could include other Life articles you find on your own, New York Times articles, pieces from other periodicals, reports from the US government or US based companies, or anything else that fits.


Essay Prompt #3

For the final essay of the course, you are to write an essay on the Peruvian armed conflict of the 1980s through 1990s. You may pick the topic, but you should concentrate your efforts around The Shining Path, the MRTA, the military, politics, or literature. You might even blend two or more of these. The primary emphasis in this essay should be your ability to find and analyze primary sources: you should include at least three primary sources in addition to any of the sources we have discussed in class. You might look at newspapers, memoirs, novels, poetry, short stories, interviews, or other parts of the CVR that we did not read in class. One of these three primary sources must be a visual source, such as a photograph, documentary, painting, retablo, etc. Questions you could engage with for the paper might include:

  • What is the role of gender in the violence?
  • Why might people join a group like the Shining Path?
  • How and why does the geographical layout of Peru matter in the initiation, continuation, and end to the violence?

How and why do people remember the violence in particular ways?

Primary Sources

Primary sources are documents, images or artifacts that provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning an historical topic under research investigation. Primary sources are original documents created or experienced contemporaneously with the event being researched. Primary sources enable researchers to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period.

Primary sources can include:

  • Memoirs or speeches
  • Statements or reports released by a political party, agency, nonprofit, or association 
  • Official documents such as congressional hearings and reports
  • Magazine and newspaper articles
  • Court documents 
  • Legislation or treaties 

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