Tag Archives: Hispanic History

Zapotec

“Zapotec: The main territory of the Zapotecs was the valley of Oaxaca (Mexico) with its great center at Monte Alban. It is still uncertain when these people first came to Oaxaca, but by c. AD 300 a distinctively Zapotec culture can be recognized. In c. 1400 the area was infiltrated by Mixtecs who came from the mountains from the north and west and occupied most of the Zapotec sites. Part of the region was never conquered by the Aztecs, and the Zapotecan language has persisted to the present day.”

Excerpted from: Bray, Warwick, and David Trump. The Penguin Dictionary of Archaeology. New York: Penguin, 1984.

The Weekly Text, September 25, 2020: Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 Week II–A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on American Imperialism

This week’s Text–and it may seem odd as an offering for National Hispanic Heritage Month–is this reading on American Imperialism and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. The United States has violated the sovereignty of Latin American nations repeatedly since the early-nineteenth century. This meddling in the affairs of Latin America arguably began with the theology of Manifest Destiny and the foreign policy of the Monroe Doctrine.

Even the easygoing researcher will locate dozens of examples of United States involvement in Latin America. Three are most salient for the purposes of this blog post, mostly for their egregiousness: the 1954 coup in Guatemala that overthrew the democratically elected Jacobo Arbenz; ten years later, the 1964 Brazilian coup that toppled the leftist government of Joao Goulart; and, in my own historical memory, the 1973 coup against the democratically elected President of Chile, Salvador Allende. The latter, incidentally, has been extensively documented, with Henry Kissinger’s role in the Chilean coup examined by, among others, the late Christopher Hitchens and, most comprehensively, by the National Security Archive.

Finally, I’ve always found it useful to turn to one of American history’s most famous quotes, from General Smedley D. Butler, on American imperialism:

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

(Smedley D. Butler, War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier (Port Townshend, Washington: Feral House, 2003.)

Enough said.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Modernismo

“Modernismo: A literary movement that arose in Spanish America in the late 19th century and was subsequently transmitted to Spain, In their quest for pure poetry, the modernists displayed a dazzling technical virtuosity and technical perfection that revolutionized Spanish literature.

According to some critics, the publication of Jose Marti’s Ismaelillo (1882) marks the beginning of the movement. Others assert that, while Marti exerted enormous influence on Spanish-American writing and thought, his poetry is so individual that he cannot be considered even a precursor of modernism. There is no disagreement, however, as to the dominant role of Ruben Dario, whose work defined and stimulated modernism in America and in Spain. The publication of his Azul (1888) is sometimes said to signify the birth of modernism, and Prosas profanas (1896) is held to show modernism at its zenith. Other early modernist poets (often considered precursors of this movement) were Manuel Gutierrez Najera, Jose Ascuncion Silva, and Julian del Casal, the Cuban. Modernists of the later, post-1896 phase include Leopoldo Lugones, Jose Enrique Rodo, Julio Herrera y Reissig, Jose Santo Chocano, Amado Nervo, and Rufino Blanco Fombona.

In rebellion against romanticism, from which, however, they were not always able to free themselves, the modernists drew their initial inspiration and technique from European, particularly French, sources. From French Parnassians and symbolists, such as Gautier, Coppee, and Verlaine, came their pessimism and melancholy, their belief in art for art’s sake, their zeal for technical excellence and musicality, their love of exotic imagery and a vocabulary in which swans (one of Dario’s favorite symbols), peacocks, gems, and palaces abound. Another distinctive characteristic of the modernists was their unceasing experimentation with old and new verse forms, In their desire to escape from the sordidness of reality, the early modernists usually shunned political and native themes. Their successors, however, inspired no doubt by impassioned verses that Dario hurled at Theodore Roosevelt in his ode to Argentina, turned increasingly to American subjects, as exemplified by Chocano’s Alma America (1906). In prose writing, particularly the essay, modernismo fostered a new simplicity and elegance, the finest examples of which are to be found in the works of Rodo.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

The Weekly Text, September 18 2020: Hispanic Heritage Month Week I–A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Diego Rivera

If you’ve never seen the paintings of Diego Rivera, you’re in for a treat. In observance of the first week of Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 (it runs between September 15 and October 15), on Mark’s Text Terminal, the Weekly Text is a reading on Diego Rivera along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review

Arawak

Arawak: At the time of Columbus, Arawak speakers inhabited the Greater Antilles and parts of mainland South America. Since languages of the Arawakan family are not found in North or Mesoamerica, it is likely that these people reached the islands from the south. In support of this view, pottery of the Saladoid type is found in a great arc from western Venezuela to the West Indies, and in the northern islands there seems to be a ceramic continuity from Saladoid ware to insular Arawak. Spanish sources describe the island Arawaks as settled farmers with an elaborate religion based on a Zemi cult.”

Excerpted from: Bray, Warwick, and David Trump. The Penguin Dictionary of Archaeology. New York: Penguin, 1984.

Cultural Literacy: Colonialism

Today begins National Hispanic Heritage Month 2020. For the next four Fridays, for The Weekly Text, Mark’s Text Terminal will observe the month by posting readings and comprehension worksheets related to the history of LatinX people in the United States and Elsewhere.

Let me kick this off today with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on colonialism. As I said to an interview committee the other day, we live in a pregnant moment that can, with (if you’ll allow me to play out this metaphor ad nauseum) proper prenatal care, yield real social change. If we are going to talk seriously about the injustices visited on non-white people the world over, we need to discuss colonialism seriously. In just about every respect, we are all dealing with the legacy of colonialism–and the time has come–now–to reckon with it. We neglect to do so at our intellectual and moral peril.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

A Documents-Based Questioning (DBQ) Lesson on The Popol Vuh

OK, we made it! This lesson plan on The Popol Vuh, the creation myth of the Quiche Maya, which brings us back to the first lesson in this unit on the Rig Veda, below. This is, then, the tenth of ten lessons (and the tenth of ten posts, therefore) in a global studies document-based questioning unit on reading, analyzing, and interpreting primary historical documents.

The short do-now exercises that I have for this lesson are arguable only tangentially related, but are useful parts of a general inventory of global studies work. These are two Cultural Literacy worksheets: the first is this half-page reading and writing exercise on colonialism and the second is this full-page worksheet on Pancho Villa, the Mexican revolutionary general.

And, lastly, here is the reading on The Popol Vuh with its accompanying comprehension questions to take teacher and students through the lesson.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Social Realism

“Social Realism: A trend in 20th-century art before 1950. Often political in nature, social realism is distinctive in its realistic depictions of the ills of society. The influence of Mexican muralists Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros was felt by North American social realist and WPA artists. Some North Americans emerged from the Ashcan School, while others, like Ben Shahn, evolved separately.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Ignacio Manuel Altamirano

Ignacio Manuel Altamirano: (1834-1893) Mexican novelist and poet. A full-blooded Indian, Altamirano was an adherent of Benito Juarez and fought against the French intervention in Mexico. In 1869, he founded Renacimiento, a review to encourage literary activity, almost moribund after fifteen years of turbulence. He became the mentor of the younger generation, to whom he advocated the importance of creating a literature rooted in national life. His poetry consists of a single volume of Rimas (1880), written before 1867 and notable for its description of the Mexican landscape. Altamirano’s preoccupation with purely Mexican themes and customs is also evident in the prose works for which he is best known: Clemencia (1869), a love story set against the background of the French intervention; La navidad en las montanas (1870), a novelette; and El Zarco (1901), a novel dealing with bandits in the state of Morelos.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

The Weekly Text, October 18, 2019: Hispanic Heritage Month 2019 Week V–A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Pueblo Civilization

This week’s Text, in the ongoing observation of Hispanic Heritage Month 2019 at Mark’s Text Terminal, is a reading on Pueblo Civilization and the vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet that accompanies it.

As I am wont to do, I debated with myself the relevance of Pueblo Civilization to Hispanic Heritage. I’m confident that these first nation peoples were part of the same ethnic group as the Mayans–who of course became a subject population to the Spanish Empire. In any case, if anyone with the bona fides to do so could weigh in on this, I would of course be grateful.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.