Tag Archives: united states history

Guillermo O’Donnell

“Guillermo O’Donnell: (1936-2011) Argentine political scientist. He earned a law degree in Argentina and a PhD from Yale University. He taught at universities in South America, Europe, and the United States (principally Notre Dame), and has written many books on Latin American authoritarianism and democracy and the transition from one to the other. His pathbreaking analysis of ‘bureaucratic authoritarianism’ as a specific type of military rule found especially in Latin America from the 1960s to the 1980s contributed greatly to the understanding of comparative politics.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

United Fruit Co.

“United Fruit Co.: U.S.-based fruit company. It was founded in 1899 in the merger of the Boston Fruit Company and other companies that sold bananas grown in Central America, Colombia, and the Caribbean. Minor C. Keith, its principal founder, gained extensive land rights in Costa Rica in return for constructing railroads. United Fruit became the largest employer in Central America, developing vast tracts of jungle lands and building one of the largest private merchant navies in the world. Attacked in the Latin American press as el pulpo (‘the octopus’), the company was widely accused of exploiting workers and influencing governments during the era of ‘dollar diplomacy’ in the early to mid-20th century. It later policies were more enlightened, and it transferred portions of its landholdings to individual growers. In 1970 United Fruit merged with AMK Corporation to form United Brands Co., which changed its name in 1990 to Chiquita Brands International, Inc.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Latin America

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the term Latin America. This is a half-page reading with a single-sentence reading and one comprehension question. This is, in other words, a basic definition of the term. It clears up, for the students with whom I use it, any confusion about this simple yet encompassing noun phrase.

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.

Che Guevara

“Che Guevara: originally Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (1928-1967) Theoretician and tactician of guerilla warfare and prominent figure in Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba (1956-59). Born to a middle-class family in Argentina, he completed medical studies in 1953 and subsequently traveled widely in Latin America, eventually settling in Guatemala. The overthrow of Guatemala’s President Jacobo Arbenz persuaded him that the U.S. would always oppose leftist governments and that only violent revolution would end the poverty of the Latin American masses. He left Guatemala for Mexico, where he met Castro and joined his cause. After the Cuban revolution he held several posts as one of Castro’s most trusted aides; handsome and charismatic, he served as one of the revolution’s most effective voices. He left Cuba in 1965 to organize guerilla fighters in the Congo and later Bolivia. Captured and shot by the Bolivian army, he immediately achieved international fame and the status of a martyred hero among leftists worldwide.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

The Weekly Text, 23 September 2022, Hispanic Heritage Month Week II: Fidel Castro

For the second Friday of Hispanic Heritage Month 2022, here are a reading on Fidel Castro along with its vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. And yes, I do understand that Fidel Castro is a controversial figure. Controversy is the food of inquiry, and in any case, Castro is an integral part of modern Latin American history.

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.

Cultural Literacy: John Calvin and Calvinism

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on John Calvin and his doctrine, Calvinism. This is a half-page worksheet that contains two readings from The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. They are separated. The first is on John Calvin the man, and is two-sentences; the second is on the doctrine of Calvinism, and is four-sentences long. Three comprehension questions follow both of these readings. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but a recent Secretary of Education of the United States apparently believed all that nonsense about predestination in Calvinist doctrine.

As with virtually everything on Mark’s Text Terminal, this is a Microsoft Word document, so you can manipulate it for the needs of your students. I thought these combine well, but they also might be better off separated into two separate documents. You can do with it as you wish.

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.

Elbert Hubbard on Editors

“Editor: A person employed on a newspaper whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff and to see that the chaff is printed.”

Elbert Hubbard

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Rotten Reviews: A Moveable Feast

“Judging by this memoir, it would seem the Hemingway estate is prepared to dribble out some very small beer indeed in the name of the master. This book was apparently completed in Cuba in 1960 and, for all the good it is likely to do Hemingway’s reputation, it could very well have stayed there—permanently.”

Geoffrey Wagner, Commonweal

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.   

James Dean

Here is a reading on James Dean along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Does James Dean register with young people anymore? To my mind, Rebel Without a Cause is one of the great movies on adolescent angst. To my surprise, I learned while researching the fundamentals of this post that Rebel Without a Cause was actually released about a month after James Dean’s death on 30 September 1955.

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.

Cultural Literacy: Blue-Collar

As I prepared this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of “blue-collar” work, it occurred to me that this is not an adjective I hear much used anymore. I certainly remember it well from my childhood and young adulthood, particularly the latter period, when I did quite a lot of blue-collar work myself.

Should your students stumble across Paul Schrader’s excellent film Blue Collar (as I did at age 19), this document may assist students in understanding its title. Otherwise, well, I’m not sure about this worksheet’s currency. If you use it, as always, I would be interested in hearing how.

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.