CollegeofArts and Sciences 
DepartmentofGovernment and History

Dr. Theron Corse

Course Description 

COURSE SYLLABUS HIST 490, Senior Seminar  
 Religion and Revolution in Latin America

Semester/Year: Fall 1999 Office Location: TSA 206A
Semester Hours of Credit: 3 Office Phone: 486-1000
Instructor: Dr. Theron Corse Alternate Phone: 486-1573
Class Meeting Days, Time, and Location:   E-Mail: tcorse@chi1.uncfsu.edu
W 6-8:50, TSA 205 Office Hours: M 3-4; M, W 5:30-6; W 2-4; T, R 2-3; T-R 11-12 or by appointment


COURSE DESCRIPTION AND GOALS This course will guide students through a program of directed readings, a research project, and group discussion of historical and historiographical topics, using the theme "Religion and Revolution in Latin America." We will be focusing primarily on two topics: Cuba since 1959, an example of religion in a revolutionary society, and Liberation Theology, an example of revolutionary religion. After a brief examination of the history of Catholocism in Latin America and Cuba, we will examine how Catholics, Protestants, and other religious groups have fared in Castro's Cuba, examining the political, social, economic, and theological consequences of the revolution for these groups.  This will be followed by a discussion of the origins, development, history, and current status of Liberation Theology, one of the most dramatic developments in Latin American religion in the 20th Century. In particular, we will examine the role of Liberation Theology in such countries as Nicaragua and El Salvador. As this is a seminar, students will do outside readings which they will discuss in class. All students will also have to do a research project on a topic concerning religion in Latin America, a project which they will present to class at the end of the semester. Goals: 1. Students will develop their ability to analyze historical texts. 2. Students will complete a historical research project. 3. Students will be able to identify and asses the major issues concering Liberation Theology and religion in Castro's Cuba.

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EVALUATION This is primarily a reading and discussion course. You are expected to do all readings before the class session so that you can participate fully. All students will be required to make periodic presentations based on the readings, as well as four written critiques that I will assign. Each student will also do a research project concerning religion in Latin America. Topics must be approved by the professor.
General Participation 10%
Presentations 25%
Critiques 25%
Group Project 40%
Total 100%


90 or above A
80-89 B
70-79 C
60-69 D
59 or below F


Office Hours: Students who seek help with instructors during office hours get better grades. Do not wait until you have major problems! Students should speak to me any time they find themselves confused about material, directions, or grades. I am always ready to help any student who needs help with any of the material or any assignment. That's my job. If the office hours are inconvenient for you, please make an appointment.

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READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS Readings are taken from the textbooks and some articles. Book chapters are identified by the author's last name.
Week Dates Topic and/or Assignment Reading


Aug 18 Introduction. Discussion of course goals and structure, assignments. None


Aug 25 Conquest and the Colonial Church in Latin America. Kirk, Chapter 1.


Sep 1 The RCC in National Period/The RCC in Cuba Kirk, Chapter 2.


Sep 8 Cuba: 1959-1970. The Catholic Church in the first decade of the revolution. Kirk, Chapters 3-5. Other materials provided by instructor.


Sep 15 Cuba since 1970. The slow return to normalcy. John Paul II's visit. Kirk, Chapters 6-8. On-line accounts of Pope's visit to Cuba.


Sep 22 Cuba: Not just Catholics. Turn in bibliography. Teresita Pedraza, "This To Shall Pass: The Resistance and Endurance of Religion in Cuba."; Damian Fernandez, "Revolution and Political Religion in Cuba."


Sep 29 Cuba: The Presbyterians. Corse. "Presbyterians in the Revolution."


Oct 6 Cuba: Other Protestant Groups. Make appointment to discuss progress. Materials provided by instructor.


Oct 13 Cuba: Afro-Cuban Religions. Status report to class. Corse. "Revolutionary Spirits." Other material provided by instructor.


Oct 20 Liberation Theology. What is it? Smith, Chapters 1-3.


Oct 27 Liberation Theology. How did it develop? Smith, Chapters 4-9.


Nov 3 Individual meetings with Dr. Corse None


Nov 10 Liberation Theology. In Nicaragua and El Salvador. Smith, Chapter 10. Other material provided by instructor.


Nov 17 Liberation Theology. Film: Romero. None


Nov 24 Group discussion of projects. Rough drafts for week 16 presenters due. None


Dec 1 Presentations. Rough drafts for week 17 presenters due. None


Dec 8 Presentations None


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Special Note on Academic Honesty

Students should be aware that a university is a community of scholars committed to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge and truth.Without freedom to investigate all materials, scrupulous honesty in reporting findings, and proper acknowledgment of credit, such a community can notsurvive. Students are expected to adhere to the highest traditions of scholarship.Infractions of these traditions, such as plagiarism (cheating),are not tolerated. Misrepresenting someone else's words or ideas as one's own constitutes plagiarism. In cases where plagiarism occurs, the instructor has the right to penalize the student(s) as he or she thinks appropriate, up to and including failure of the course. 


Class Participation:Preparation: since students are expected to participate in class discussion,it is important to complete all the assigned readings before coming to class. Students are expected to understand the material, or at least have identified what they do not yet understand in order to ask questions in class. All students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the assigned material.

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Back toContents Last Updated: August 15, 1999