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Studies

© Universität Bremen

 

Latin American History as a major field of study or as an independent subject can be studied in Germany since the 1960s. In 1961 the first nationwide chair for Iberian and Latin American History was established in Cologne. Prof. Dr. Richard Konetzke, student of Meineke and internationally renowned historian who researched and taught about the History of Spain and Latin America, became the doyen of the historic discipline in Germany. Until today the Department for Iberian and Latin American History at the University of Cologne presents an important centre for Latin America research in Germany.

Meanwhile there are plenty of possibilities to study Latin American History at other Universities [1] partly as independent subject of study, partly as part of a wider History course. This is the case at the University of Bremen also, where the History of the Americas is represented by one chair in the History department.

Courses in Latin American History are being offered at Bremen University for both the bachelor degree “History” and the master degrees “History” and “Modern Global History”. In the bachelor degree courses mostly – depending on the semester schedule – take place within the compulsory modules “Introduction to Modern and Contemporary History” and “Introduction to European and non-European History”. Other modules within the studies can however also take up topics from the field of Latin American History. More information on the Bachelor degree „History“ as well as the Master degree „History“ can be found on the Homepage of the Department of History.

Information on the Master degree „Modern Global History“ can be found at: www.modern-global-history.de.

The courses on Latin American History at the University of Bremen are taught by the staff members of the workgroup „Latin American History“ and by other lecturers occasionally.

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[1] Particularly to mention the Universities: Freie Universität Berlin, Universität Bielefeld, Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Universität Erfurt, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Leipniz Universität Hannover, Universität Hamburg and Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster.

 

Someone who deals with the History and Culture of Latin American countries leaves the familiar paths. He engages himself with a new region, whose development proceeded very much different to the one of Europe and it is still characterizing today.

However the History of the Americas during the period of Colonialism is also a European History; in the case of Spanish America it is 300 years in which the New World is closely connected to the Old World. The political, religious, social and cultural foundations were being provided during this time.

With the political emancipation of the 19th century this relationship changes. The development of nation-state however still proceeds in relation and in exchange with Europe, with its culture and economy. The Study of Latin American History at the University of Bremen gives an introduction to both the period of Colonialism and the History of the nation states. It gives a chance to look at a different modernity, at different political, social and economical conditions and it focuses on twenty-three states that are ethnically heterogeneous, climatically and geographically diverse and whose history went very individual ways in many cases.

Besides the subject, the study programs of the History department put their focus on the acquisition of skills in utilisation, presentation and mediation of knowledge. Key qualifications are being acquired.

Prospective students should have good English language skills and should be willing to learn Spanish. For all of those, who want Brazil to be their major field of study, skills in the Brazilian language are essential. Basic skills in French and Italian are appreciated.

Moreover, the History of Latin America, like History in general, is a discipline that is “heavy on reading”. Enjoying to read and to work with texts and sources therefore is an essential condition.

Prospective students should inform themselves at an early stage about the possibilities of a stay abroad.

A study period abroad is being recommended in the context of studying Latin American History. One semester in Spain or Latin America opens up new perspectives, helps to gain better Spanish language skills and gives an insight into a different students everyday life.

The subject of Latin American History is also widely represented in many universities in the USA, France or England. A study period in one of these countries familiarizes with both, the different main research areas in this historic discipline and an additional foreign language.

The international office of the University of Bremen will advise you on the possibilities of studying or doing an internship abroad. You can find the contact details and more information on:

http://www.io.uni-bremen.de/studiumausland/studiumauslandstart.php3

Further to be mentioned for students that are interested in Latin American History are the cooperation with the Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico, Centro de Estudios Históricos del Colegio de Michoacán in Zamora, Mexico, as well as with Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia, and the Universidad del Valle in Calí, Colombia.

If you have any further questions specifically on these cooperations, you are welcome to contact Prof. Dr. González de Reufels, who has taught as profesora invitada in Mexico herself.

For graduates of History studies there is no predefined job outline that all students can equally aim at. Besides the subject knowledge and work methods, the study of History rather conveys key qualifications that are required in almost all occupational areas.

This for example includes the written and oral presentation of work results, presentation techniques and established analytical skills, as well as methods of work organization.

How diverse the ways are that Historians take after their graduation shows a project that students of the History department have established in the winter semesters of 2006/2007 and 2007/2008.

This project “History as an occupation” points out the career of 25 Historians in different occupational fields. The spectrum of occupational possibilities ranges from university academic business to work in archives, museums or monument preservation and to jobs in publishing, the media, and political education or development aid. (More information on this project you can find under www.burkhard-sachse.de)

An established focus in studies of Latin American History moreover qualifies students especially for jobs in an international context. This emerges from the in-depth knowledge of foreign languages learned during the studies, further from the experience made as part of a stay abroad, as well as the acquirement of regional know-how concerning the southern American continent.

Examples here are jobs in international organisations, in political and cultural trusts or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but also in internationally oriented departments in the university administration and in private industry.

This is a starting aid for interested students or anyone who wants to gain a first general overview.

Handbooks and Surveys on Latin American History (selection)

  • Encyclopedia of Latin American history and culture, 5 Volumes, ed. Barbara Tenenbaum, New York, et al.: Scribner’s [Signature in SuUB: h hil 329 a/100].
  • Handbuch der Geschichte Lateinamerikas, 3 Volumes, ed. Walther L. Bernecker, Raymond Th. Buve, John R. Fischer, Horst Pietschmann, Hans Werner Tobler, Stuttgart: Verlag Klett-Cotta. [Signature in SuUB: h hil 329 ea/590]

1st volume: Mittel-, Südamerika und die Karibik bis 1760, published 1994.

2nd volume: Lateinamerika von 1760 bis 1900, published 1992.

3rd volume: Lateinamerika im 20. Jahrhundert, published 1996.

  • The Cambridge History of Latin America, 11 volumes, ed. Leslie Bethell, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [Signature in SuUB: h hil 329 ea/966]
  • For the national History of individual Latin American countries the following might be useful: „Kleine Geschichte …” Beck Verlag (Beck’sche Reihe) and „A Concise History …” Cambridge University Press.

 

Professional journals

Selection of titles available in the SuuB:

  • Jahrbuch für Geschichte Lateinamerikas (from 1964 to 1997 published under the title  Jahrbuch für Geschichte von Staat, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft Lateinamerikas) [Signature in SuUB: z hil 329 ja/340]
  • The Hispanic American historical review [Signature in SuUB: z hil 329 jc/762]
  • Historia Mexicana [Signature in SuUB: z hil 330 jh/393]
  • Latin American Research Review [Signature in SuUB: z hil 329 jc/148]
  • Latin American perspectives : a journal on capitalism and socialism [Signature in SuUB: z pol 300 8aa/156]

Research options via Jstor:

In the category „Latin American Studies“ you can find several professional journals:

http://www.jstor.org/action/showJournals?selectDiscipline=43693408&browseType=discipline&x=10&y=11

Institutions and Organisations of the (historical) Latin America research

Online-Information