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HIS3284 : The Mexican Revolution (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Keith Brewster
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Dusty towns plagued by drunken “desperados” with few scruples and bad breath. For too long, this Hollywood depiction of the Mexican Revolution has dominated western popular culture. This module explodes the myth by offering a detailed analysis of the protagonists, motives, and events of a civil war that wreaked havoc in the country between 1910 and 1920. Yes there are figures who confirm the stereotypes of drooping moustaches, wide sombreros and cartridge belts. But there’s much more to the Revolution: human tragedy; deep convictions; raised expectations; and true attempts to forge a new nation from the midst of devastation.

Using English translations of key texts and the observations of English-speaking visitors, we’ll consider such issues as: the relationship between political and military power; the creation of revolutionary icons; post-revolutionary educational and social reforms; and the role of high and popular culture (including novels, murals, film, and songs). Our ultimate aim will be to place the Hollywood caricature in context and to develop a much more sophisticated appreciation of the Revolution and its consequences for Mexico and beyond.

This module aims to acquaint students with:
1. The political, social and economic precursors of the Mexican Revolution.
2. The political, military, ethnic and social factors influencing the direction and outcome of the Revolution.
3. To provide an opportunity of investigating in some depth selected problems including the appraisal of selected source material and the critical examination of current historiography.

Outline Of Syllabus

The seminars cover such topics as late nineteenth-century Mexican economic and political developments; the nature of elite society; the tensions within rural society; the immediate causes of the Madero's call to arms; the nature of Emiliano Zapata's uprising; the nature of 'Pancho' Villa's character, actions and supporters; the domestic and international influences behind counter-revolutionary actions; the ways the Revolution was reported; the rise and fall of the Carrancista regime; the importance of the 1917 Constitution.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching122:0024:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study541:0054:001/3 of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral presentation, interpersonal communication, problem-solving skills and adaptability.

As and when deemed appropriate, seminars discussion will be augmented and/or replaced by the viewing of films/documentaries or other pedagogic activities.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1802A75N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M25Essay/doc.commentary 1,500 to 2,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Exams test acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided and to write clearly and concisely. Documentary commentary exercises and examinations test knowledge and understanding of the texts set for the module. The ability to compare and contrast related source texts on a common subject. The ability to expound and criticize a textual extract lucidly, succinctly and with relevance in a relatively brief space, and, in an exam, under pressure of time. Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress. Submitted work tests knowledge outcomes and develops skills in research, reading and writing.

This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.
All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

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