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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: The Closest of Enemies: Cuban-American Relations 1898-2014 (online) (PGHC11450)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will examine Cuban-American relations from the end of Spanish colonial rule in 1898 through to US President Barack Obama's decision to resume formal diplomatic relations in 2014.
Course description On 17 December 2014, US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced that a new era in Cuban-US relations was to begin. In their speeches they owed that their shared troubled history no longer presented an insurmountable obstacle to the normalisation of diplomatic relations. This course will examine their relationship from 1898 (the end of Spanish colonial rule) to 2014. It will discuss how two dominant but competing narratives have shaped the interaction between these neighbours. On the one hand, US policymakers believed that they had given Cuba freedom in 1898 and the subsequent close political, economic and cultural ties were a reflection of mutual understanding and friendship. In this view, Fidel Castro was a tyrant who imposed a dictatorship. On the other, Cuban nationalists argued that US intervention in 1898 was intended to prevent a separatist victory; the subsequent Cuban Republic was a protectorate designed to serve the interests of the US. In this view, Castro's Revolution of 1959 was the fulfilment of the mutilated victory of 1898; Cuban identity and the Revolution were inseparable. This course will make extensive use of primary sources to analyse the two main phases of Cuban-US relations. The first part discusses the extent to which the US could impose its will on the Cuban Republic; in particular students will re-consider the career of Fulgencio Batista, traditionally the arch-villain of Cuban history. The second part deals with impact of the Cuban Revolution and will discuss the obstacles to rapprochement between the two states.

Seminar Outline:
1. Introduction
2. War and Occupation 1898-1902
3. The Platt Era 1902-33
4. The Cuban Revolution 1933
5. A New Deal for Cuba? 1934-52
6. Batista, Castro and Eisenhower 1953-59
7. The Breakdown, 1959-61
8. The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962.
9. The Revolution Under Siege 1963-88
10. From Cold War to Colder War 1989-2000
11. The Same Old Story? 2001-14
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Show command of a substantial body of historical knowledge
  2. Show evidence of the ability to develop and sustain historical arguments in a variety of literary forms, formulating appropriate questions and utilizing evidence
  3. Show an understanding of the varieties of approaches to understanding, constructing, and interpreting the past; and where relevant, knowledge of concepts and theories derived from the humanities and the social sciences
  4. Show the ability to address historical problems in depth, involving the use of contemporary sources and advanced secondary literature
  5. Clarity, fluency, and coherence in written and oral expression
Reading List
The Cuban Missile Crisis:
Willis Fletcher Johnson, The History of Cuba (2010) - ebook
J R Benjamin The United States & Cuba: Hegemony and Dependent Development 1880-1934 (1977)
R H Fitzgibbon Cuba and the United States, 1900-1935 (1964)
W M. LeoGrande & P Kornbluh Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana (2014)
M H Morley Imperial State and Revolution: the United States and Cuba, 1952-1986 (1987)
M H Morley Unfinished Business: America and Cuba after the Cold War, 1989-2001 (2002)
LA Perez Jr 'Fear and Loathing of Fidel Castro: Sources of US Policy Toward Cuba' in Journal of Latin American Studies (May 2002)
LA Perez Jr Cuba and the United States: Ties of Singular Intimacy (2003)
LA Perez Jr Cuba in the American Imagination (2008)
L Schoultz 'Blessings of Liberty: The United States and the Promotion of Democracy in Cuba' in Journal of Latin American History (May 2002)
L Schoultz 'U.S. Policy toward Latin America since 1959: How Exceptional Is Cuba?' in S M Castro Marino & R W Pruessen (eds), Fifty Years of Revolution: Perspectives on Cuba, the United States, and the World (2012)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - An understanding of the methods and skills involved in historical study
- The ability to identify, define and analyse historical problems
- The ability to select and apply a variety of critical approaches to problems informed by uneven evidence
- The ability to exercise critical judgement in creating new understanding
- The ability to extract key elements from complex information
- A readiness and capacity to ask key questions and exercise rational enquiry
- The ability to search for, evaluate and use information to develop knowledge and understanding
- A recognition of the importance of reflecting on one's learning experiences and being aware of one's own particular learning style
- An openness to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking
- The ability to identify processes and strategies for learning
- Independence as a learner, with readiness to take responsibility for one's own learning, and commitment to continuous reflection, self-evaluation and self-improvement
- The ability to make decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought
- The ability to test, modify and strengthen one's own views through collaboration and debate
- An intellectual curiosity
- The ability to make effective use of oral, written and visual means convey understanding of historical issues and one's interpretation of them
- The ability to marshal argument lucidly and coherently
- The ability to collaborate and to relate to others
- A readiness to seek and value open feedback to inform genuine self-awareness
- The ability to articulate one's skills as identified through self-reflection
- A command of bibliographical and library research skills, as well as a range of skills in reading and textual analysis
- Close reading of textual sources
- An ability to produce coherent and well presented text, sometimes of considerable length
- An ability to produce text to meet standard presentational specifications as laid out in a style sheet
Course organiserDr Julius Ruiz
Tel: (0131 6)50 3760
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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