Spring 2018

TTh, 9:30-10:45 am


Jacksonville University

Instructor: Dr. Jesse Hingson

Class location: Gooding 111

Office location: Gooding 215

Office phone: (904) 256-7215

Office hours: MF, 11 am-1 pm and Th, 12:30-1:30 pm and by appointment (ends Apr 20)


Instructor website:


What does this course promise?  This course surveys the origins of Cuba’s national identity and explores various issues related to the country’s development, including its history, politics, economics, demographics, environment, traditions, and popular cultures.  Credit cannot be awarded for both IS 357 and HIST 357.  Learning will be assessed through written assignments, tests, and participation.  Regular attendance, reading the assigned materials, active participation, and completing assignments are all keys for success.  Please promise that you will do everything that you can to work with me as we explore these issues together.  I promise to do everything that I can to help you learn.  This course counts toward a B.A. or B.S. in History, and it is a core curriculum requirement for non-History majors.


Course Topics and Expected Course Outcomes: As a result of this course, the student will be able to do the following:

1) Discuss the economic, social, cultural, and political factors that have influenced Cuba’s history.

2) Analyze primary and secondary documents from Cuba’s history and intelligently discuss the issues involved in the use of such sources for historical analysis.

3) Critically engage significant works by modern scholars that address the course and impact of Cuba’s development. 


Attendance and ‘Make Up’ Policies: Attendance is required on the dates that exams, quizzes, and assignments are scheduled, and failure to do so will result in a zero for that exam, quiz, and/or assignment.  It is the responsibility of the student to provide proper documentation from a doctor, university official, lawyer, or other professional in case of an unexcused absence.  In this case, a “make-up” day for any missed exam has been scheduled.  A “make up” may be scheduled by appointment or at the end of the semester.  Finally, it is the student’s responsibility to initiate a withdrawal from the course within the designated withdrawal period. Not doing so will result in failure for the course.


Academic Dishonesty: Any evidence of cheating or plagiarism will result in automatic failure for the course.  Cheating is defined as the attempt, successful or not, to give or obtain aid and/or information by illicit means in meeting any academic requirements, including examinations.  It includes copying the writings of others with or without their knowledge.  Plagiarism is defined as the use, without proper acknowledgement, of the ideas, phrases, sentences, or larger units of discourse from another writer or speaker.  All are expected to know and abide by the policy as stated in the university catalog and student handbook.


Assistance for Needs Related to Disability: Requests for testing or instructional accommodations due to physical and learning disabilities, as described by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, need to be reported to the instructor during the first week of the semester.  These requests will require a confidential letter authorized and signed by an administrator in the Office of Student Life (904-256-7067).  Course requirements will not be waived, but accommodations may assist in meeting the requirements.


Student Behavior: All are expected to behave according to accepted norms ensuring a climate wherein all can exercise their right to learn.  Such norms are set forth in the JU catalog.  I will not tolerate classroom behavior that violates these norms.  These include eating, doing work from other classes, texting, sleeping, consistently arriving late, rude behavior toward others, or bringing live cell phones or all other electronic devices in the classroom without prior approval.  This includes laptops.  Such behavior will be grounds for dismissal from the class, judicial proceedings, and/or failure of the course.


Textbooks (REQUIRED): Please purchase the following textbooks in the first week of the semester because the bookstore ships it back to the publisher after 10 days.


1) Julia E. Sweig, Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know. Second Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012 [hereafter “Sweig”].

2) Aviva Chomsky, et al., The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004 [hereafter “Cuba Reader”]

3) Supplemental Materials (noted in the schedule)


Requirements and Grading Scale:

Exam 1: 50 points (10%)

Exam 2: 50 points (10%)

Exam 3: 100 points (20%)

Response Paper 1: 50 points (10%)

Response Paper 2: 50 points (10%)

Response Paper 3: 100 points (20%)

Participation: 100 points (20%)

Total: 500 points


SCALE: A=500-450; B+=449-435; B=434-400; C+=399-385; C=384-350; D+=349-335; D=334-300; F=≤299


*No grade of “I” or “Incomplete” will be given unless a documented emergency prevents you from completing the course.


1) Exams: Exams will evaluate ability to read, write, and think critically about Peru’s past and present.  Each exam will include the following: 1) explanations of significance, and 2) responses to questions based on the readings and supplemental materials.  The use of notes and textbooks is permitted.  In order to do well on the exams, it is important to bring in supporting evidence and examples from the readings and supplemental materials, even if they are not discussed in class.  It is the responsibility of all students to bring their own materials to the exam.  Sharing books and notes is not permitted. 


2) Response Papers: Questions will be posed to survey critical reactions to readings, lectures, activities, or any other material (e.g. films and documentaries) relevant to the course.  Please do not use any outside source material.  Each response should be typed, New Times Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced, a minimum of 1000 words, and follow either Turabian or MLA formats when citing.  It is expected that all written work will be carefully edited.  Strong responses incorporate an introductory paragraph that previews an argument/thesis or theme.  Body paragraphs must have viable topic sentences and be steeped in evidence to support an argument/thesis.  Thoughtful conclusions explore the larger implications of main ideas.  At any point during the semester, feel free to come in and discuss the responses.  Papers submitted by e-mail will not be accepted unless approved prior to the deadline.  Each late paper will be penalized ten (10) points for each 24 hour period it is late (starting the minute after the class session it is due).  Rules against plagiarism will apply especially to this assignment, and programs (e.g., will be utilized to check for plagiarism.  To give you an idea of how the response paper will be assessed, a grading rubric and sample essay are provided.


Re-Write Policy: For only one of the response papers, you may improve your grade a maximum of ten (10) points by incorporating criticisms in the first draft.  The “Re-Write” must be turned in with the original attached.  No corrected papers will be accepted either before or after the due date and time listed in the schedule and without the original attached.


3) Participation: The expectations are that class meetings will be regularly attended and that all readings and assignments will be discussed.  Throughout the semester, participation will be assessed by: 1) short unannounced quizzes on the readings (with or without permission to use materials); 2) quality of input in discussion; 3) assistance to the instructor.  This last category entails assisting the instructor in creating class handouts, Power Point presentations, web pages, discussion questions, lists of additional bibliographical and/or internet resources (including music, photographs, documentaries, and films), summaries of current events and news stories, or any other materials that will help us understand what we are reading and/or viewing.  No make-up work will be given for missed in-class exercises and homework assignments



SCHEDULE/READINGS: Instructor reserves the right to change the schedule if necessary

January 9: Introductions and Syllabus (contracts due by the next class period)

·         Why is Studying Cuba Important?


January 11, 16, 18, 23: Cuba Before 1959

·         Read: Sweig, pages 1-35

·         Read: The Cuba Reader, pages 7-19, 37-87, 91-112, 113-156, 163-170, 189-332

·         View: Black in Latin America: Cuba, The Next Revolution

·         Read: Smithsonian Magazine Article on Taíno Culture

·         View: Cuba in the Raw: A Story of Sugar (Interview with Dr. Ric Morris, MTSU)


January 25: Exam #1


January 30, February 1, 6: View film “The Last Supper” and Discussion


February 8, 13, 15: View documentary film Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War  and Discussion


February 20: Response Paper #1 Due


February 20, 22, 27, March 1, 6: The Cuban Revolution and the Cold War, part 1

·         Read: Sweig, pages 36-125

·         Read: The Cuba Reader, pages 333-413, 419-447, 515-567,

·         View: PBS documentary on the Cuban Revolution

·         View: Council on Foreign Relations, Lessons Learned: The Bay of Pigs Invasion

·         Read: Sheldon Stern, "The Cuban Missile Crisis Myth You Probably Believe"  

·         View: BBC documentary on the Cuban Missile Crisis


March 8: Exam #2


March 12-16: Spring Break—No Classes


March 20, 22, 27: View film “I Am Cuba” and Discussion


March 29: Response Paper #3 Due


March 29, April 3, 5: The Cuban Revolution and the Cold War, part 2

·         Read: Sweig, pages 126-206

·         Read: The Cuba Reader, pages 466-513, 590-689

·         Read: Blog by Yoani Sánchez:

·         View: Dissident: Oswaldo Paya and the Varela Project (documentary short)

·         View: PBS Frontline: Cuba, The Art Revolution


April 10: After Fidel, Under Raul

·         Read: Sweig, pages 207-280

·         Listen: NPR's brief history of US-Cuba relations

·         View: BBC World, "Inside Cuba", part 1

·         View: BBC World, "Inside Cuba", part 2


April 12: Exam #3


April 17, 19: View documentary film “Balseros” and Discussion


April 26

(9-11 am)


·         Response Paper #3 Due

·         Response Paper RE-WRITE DUE (Original must be attached)

·         MAKE-UP DAY (Documentation must be submitted on or before this time and date)





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