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Development, the Environment, and Society in Latin America
LAST 240
Spring 2017
Section: 01  

Few issues have defined Latin America's modern history so much as the region's quest for
economic development. But the impetus to "develop" has a much longer history of natural
resource extraction and directed social change. Policies and practices regarding land use and
labor, then, have shaped economic development, the environment, and social and political life in
the region to the present.

In this seminar we will ask what the historical relationships are between development, natural
resources, and society in Latin America from the onset of European colonialism in the fifteenth
century through state- and private-led improvement policies in the twentieth century. Some
specific themes we will consider are: How have policies affected the sustainability of land use in
the last five centuries? Has the impetus for development, beginning in the nineteenth century and
reaching its current intensity in the mid-twentieth, shifted ideas and practices of sustainability in
both environmental and social terms? And more broadly, what has been the historical
relationship between humans and their environment in Latin America? We will consider primary
and secondary sources covering periods from pre-Columbian times to the late-twentieth century,
and regions from Mexico to South America to the Caribbean.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS LAST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (LAST)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on DEC-04-2023
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