Latin American Civilization and Culture

I.     Course Prefix/Number: SSC 205

       Course Name: Latin American Civilization and Culture

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course explores selected Latin American cultures and civilizations.  Content includes historical background, with focus upon contemporary issues.  Multidisciplinary approach uses perspectives from two or more of the following disciplines: history, economics, sociology, anthropology, psychology and/or political science.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The student will:

  1. explore distinction among Western and possible appropriate Latin American models of development.
  2. examine rural and urban issues in a culturally relativistic way.
  3. discuss industrialization and urbanization patterns for selected countries.
  4. study internal and external migration patterns in relation to development and other political-economic issues.
  5. examine employment patterns.
  6. study the role of women.
  7. compare and contrast democratization patterns and constitutional constructions to those of the United States.
  8. explain alternating authoritarian democratic forms of government particularly in relation to the military and the church.
  9. weigh the problems of achievement of political/economic stability while taking into consideration fulfillment of basic human rights and needs. The political implications of land reform and diversification of income will be addressed.
  10. incorporate the historical impact of heterogeneous populations and colonial experiences into the learning experiences.
  11. participate in small group projects in which the participants will explore a particular development within a chosen Latin American nation, gather and analyze primary sources, and present findings to the class through written assignments and oral presentations.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Development -- urban and rural
  2. Industrialization
  3. Urbanization
  4. Migration -- internal and external
  5. Employment
  6. The role of women
  7. Authoritarian and democratic forms of government. Constitutional constructions and their enforcement.
  8. The military
  9. The Church
  10. Historical influences of colonization and heterogeneous populations (this topic will be integrated within the preceding topics, not dealt with discretely).

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture, discussion, simulation, role-play, use of audio-visuals, guest speakers.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. College-level textbooks, trade-books and periodical literature will be used.
  2. Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded. This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of journal articles, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.
  3. Presentation to the class of written papers will be expected.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

  1. Text: Hopkins, Jack (Ed.), (1999). Latin America, Perspectives On a Region (2nd ed.). Holmes and Meier
  2. Various appropriate trade-books and periodical literature.
  3. Central America crash course -- a simulation game.
  4. Selected audio-visuals.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. 75% of grade will be based upon major papers and exams.
  2. 25% of course grade will be based upon attendance, participation and completing of homework.

XI.   Other Course Information

Attendance -- a pattern of repeated absences will result in a lowered final grade.

Make-ups -- advanced consent of instructor for test make-ups.  Late assignments accepted for designated period of time only and downgraded one whole grade.

Support services - will be sought as needed by mutual student/instructor determination.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.