History majors present at TruScholars

Senior History and Political Science double major Ben Wallis presented his summer TruScholars research “The Status of Marxism in the Black Panther Party” at the Summer Research Symposium on August 26, 2017. Founded in 1966 during a period of racial upheaval, war, and widespread disillusionment with the United States government, the Black Panther Party articulated a political program that broke with the liberal-oriented civil rights movement, promoting instead Black nationalism and anticapitalism. Wallis explored how the writings of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, and Malcolm X were of particular importance in shaping their ideology. He argues that the Panthers can be understood as one of the most important Marxist-inspired movements in United States history.

Travis Rolstead presented his paper “Backward and Diseased: American Perceptions of Arabs and Muslims in the Era of the First Arab-Israeli War.” Rolstead examined the extent and nature of coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict in American national and regional newspapers during the late 1940s. He found that media coverage heavily favored the Jewish-Israeli cause. Articles favorable to the Israeli cause outnumbered those favoring the Palestinian Arab one. Similarly, the media regularly conflated the terms Arab and Muslim, ignoring the presence of non-Muslim Arabs, and generally portrayed Arabs and Muslims in negative and stereotypical terms.

The FBI in Latin America

History professor Marc Becker has published a new book, The FBI in Latin America: The Ecuador Files (Duke University Press), which tells the largely unknown story of the FBI’s surveillance operations in Latin America during the 1940s and provides new insights into leftist organizations and the nature of the U.S.’s imperial ambitions in the western hemisphere.

The FBI in Latin America is an absolutely fascinating and pathbreaking introduction to the work of US intelligence and of political intervention and surveillance in Ecuador and Latin America more generally. Only a scholar with Marc Becker’s impressive knowledge of Ecuador could undertake a project that opens up the volume of data, factual information, and internal disputes and private conversations as found in the FBI’s wartime files as a vital new source for historians of leftist and communist movements in Latin America.” —Barry Carr, coeditor of The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics

For more information, and to order the book, please visit dukeupress.edu/the-fbi-in-latin-america.

History Graduate Receives Honors Scholars Medal

Congratulations to history graduate, Alec Graham, who was among the 10 talented students who received recognition as Honors Scholar graduates for Spring 2017.  Honors Scholar medals were presented at a pre-commencement ceremony on May 12.

Truman’s Honors Scholar Program offers outstanding students the opportunity to select rigorous courses in the liberal arts and sciences component of their degree programs.  The honor is awarded to graduating seniors who have completed five approved courses, with at least one from each of the four areas of mathematics, natural science, social science and humanities. They must achieve a grade point average of at least 3.5 in those courses and an overall grade point average of 3.5.
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Twentieth-Century Latin American Revolutions

Latin American RevolutionsProfessor of History Marc Becker has published a textbook Twentieth-Century Latin American Revolutions with the assistance of his students in his Latin American Revolutions classes from the Fall 2015 and Fall 2016 semesters. He wrote the book because Latin American Revolutions is a commonly taught course at Truman and elsewhere, but no synthetic text exists for the subject. The book is built around a series of case studies: the 1910–1920 Mexican Revolution; the 1944–1954 Guatemalan Spring; the 1952–1964 MNR-led revolution in Bolivia; the Cuban Revolution that triumphed in 1959; the 1970–1973 Chilean path to socialism; the leftist Sandinistas in Nicaragua in power from 1979–1990; failed guerrilla movements in Colombia, El Salvador, and Peru; and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela after Hugo Chávez’s election in 1998.