GEOG/LAST 357.72

Lands and Peoples of Latin America 


Spring 2019                                                              Dr. Scott Brady

                                                               Office: 523 Butte Hall

Location: Cyberspace                                               Phone: 898-5588

Office Hours: MWF               

Geography Computer Lab: Butte 501

Writing Center

Men are so inclined to content themselves with what is commonest; the spirit and the senses so easily grow dead to the impressions of the beautiful and perfect, that every one should study, by all methods, to nourish in his mind the faculty of feeling these things. ...For this reason, one ought every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.

     Goethe, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship. Bk. v, ch. 1 (Carlyle, tr.) [source: Stevenson]

Accessibility Resource Center:

If you have a documented disability that may require reasonable accommodations, please contact me privately to discuss your specific needs and also contact Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) for coordination of your academic accommodations. ARC is located across from the Meriam Library in the Student Services Center building (Student Services Center 170; 898-5959;


Study of the physical environment, human settlement, development, and modern problems of the nations of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. This course is designed to be a component of the Upper-Division Theme on Mexico and Central America. This is an approved General Education course. This is an approved Global Cultures course. This course is the same as LAST 357.

How the course fits the Global Development Pathway: This course presents fundamental geographic concepts in the context of Latin America.  Initial emphasis is placed on the region’s physical environments and its diverse peoples.  Students then explore the relationships that have emerged between Latin America’s peoples and environments.  The course concludes by considering different paths to socio-economic development that have been pursued in the region.  The course supports the pathway’s emphasis on development. The course has been proposed for the Global Cultures designation.

Course Student Learning Objectives  Associated GE Student Learning Objectives

       Students can formulate, investigate and answer geographic research questions.

       Written Communication

       Active Inquiry

       Students can understand how natural resources and the physical environment influence land and life in Latin America.


       Students can analyze information from different physical or social sciences from a geographic perspective.

       Active Inquiry


How Course will Meet GE SLOs: This course will meet three GE SLOs, as noted in the table above. Written communication and Active Inquiry will be met by the research assignment. The course will study sustainability as a concept and challenge for Latin American peoples as they interact with its diverse physical environments. Students will further practice active inquiry in weekly question sets that focus critically on the assigned readings.  Student learning of sustainability and practice of active inquiry will be assessed by means of quizzes and exams that will include short essay questions.

How Course will Assess GE SLOs: Assessment of GE SLOs is based on the Collegiate Learning Assessment, the gold standard in the assessment of value-added learning. Instructors of GEOG 357 utilize pre- and post-tests to effectively measure learning.  The test consists of open-ended questions related to sustainability. The same test will be administered twice during the semester: once during the first week and once during the final week of classes. Comparison of pre- and post-tests scores will indicate the level of student learning.

Course Objectives:

       To increase students understanding of the geographical context of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

       To develop students' knowledge of the region's connections to, and interdependencies with, other people and places around the world.

       To develop students' skills in synthesizing and analyzing information, including Internet-based information.

       To develop students' skills in writing and discussing their ideas.

       To help students read, listen, observe, and reason critically.


Required Materials:

Online readings.  Readings will be found online.



Academic Policies and Regulations:

Final grades are based on % of 200  or 250 total points, earned from the categories below.

A=92-100%; B= 80-91%; C=68-79%; D=50-67%; and F= less than 50%.  


Exam 1

50 points

Exam 2

50 points

Exam 3

50 points

Exam 4

50 points

 Research Paper (optional)

 50 points


 250 points





If you choose not to complete the research project, your grade will be based on 4 exams. See below

Exam 1

50 points


Exam 2

50 points


Exam 3

50 points


 Exam 4

 50 points



200 points



Web-site: I will regularly update the course website.  Students must visit the site to be aware of changes and additions.  You Course website: I regularly update the course website. Students must frequentlyvisit the site to be aware of changes and additions. I do not use Bb.

Course Format: This is an online readings course.  We never meet.  We read, do exercises, take 4 exams and write a paper.  Students may utilize the chat room feature on our Blackboard site.  I will not monitor chats and they will not be graded.  Students should utilize the chat room as a support tool.  You can exchange questions, information and helpful hints in the chat room. 

Email: Students should utilize the email feature on our Blackboard site for all communication with me. Sometimes students ask questions that are shared by other students.  In such cases, I'll post my answer as an announcement on the Blackboard site.

Office Hours I also will use office hours to answer emails. This will require patience. Students should not expect immediate responses to emails. I will respond primarily during office hours.

Readings: A fundamental element of a liberal education is the development of the ability to read critically. Hence, your success in this course largely depends on the amount of time and effort you devote to the assigned readings.

Question Sets:  To ensure that students keep up with the assigned readings, students must complete question sets that guide them through assigned textbook readings. You do not turn in question sets to be graded.  You simply complete them to prepare yourself for the exams.  I post question set keys every week or so, so that you may check your answers against mine.

Exams: There are 4 exams.  They are open book exams that include information from the readings, question sets, atlas exercises other materials that I direct you to through the web-site.  Exams contain 20-25 multiple choice/short answer questions.  I will make exams available for a 2-day period. Students will have ~60 minutes to complete exams.

Make-up Exams: I do not allow students to make-up missed exams.

Optional Research Project: The research project is an annotated bibliography of at least 1500 words. It has two parts: a proposal and the final project. The instructions for the proposal are at this link. The instructions for the final project are at this link. Here's a past example of an annotated bibliography: link.

Students will turn in this project in the body of an email, not as an email attachment.  You can do that if your email program allows you to send the message/paper to me in the "rich text" format.  Proposals must be submitted to my Blackboard email account in the body of an email, not as an attachment.

Plagiarism: Unfortunately, students have committed plagiarism on their annotated bibliographies during past semesters.  They copied work from an online source and presented it as their own.  I referred these students to judicial affairs and asked that they receive the most severe penalty.  I will continue to do so.  

The University catalogue includes an overly general description of activities that constitute plagiarism.  I have included it below.   

"Plagiarism: Copying homework answers from your text to hand in for a grade; failing to give credit for ideas, statement of facts, or conclusions derived from another source; submitting a paper downloaded from the Internet or submitting a friend's paper as your own; claiming credit for artistic work (such as a music composition, photo, painting, drawing, sculpture, or design) done by someone else."

Please review the detailed explanation of plagiarism found at this site:,3868,2-10-0-10314,00.html.  Please use in-text citations to give credit to your sources.  If you have any questions about plagiarism, please contact me.

Tentative Schedule:

Week 1: 1/22 – 1/26

Week 2: 1/29 – 2/2

Week 3: 2/5 – 2/9

Week 4: 2/12 – 2/16

Week 5: 2/19 – 9/23

Week 6: 2/26 – 3/2

Week 7: 3/5 – 3/9

Week 8: 3/12 – 3/16

Week 9: 3/19 – 3/23

Spring Break

Week 10: 3/26 – 3/30

Friday, March 30, Cesar Chavez Day

Week 11: 4/2 – 4/6

Week 12: 4/9 – 4/13

Week 13: 4/16-4/20

Week 14: 4/23 – 4/27

Week 15: 4/30 – 5/4

Week 16: 5/7 – 5/11

         Preparation Week

Week 17: 5/12 – 5/18

         Final Exam Week