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Latin American History

This guide was created primarily for the assignments made for Professor Mary Roldan's courses at Hunter.

Beginning Your Research: Encyclopedias & General Reference Sources

Information about Latin America can be found in a variety of formats and disciplines. Much of what you find will be in Spanish or Portuguese.

An excellent starting place on more general topics related to Latin America is World Scholar: Latin America and the Caribbean. It includes the full text of a combination of contemporary and historical documents designed to reveal a true depiction of the nature, integrity and culture of Latin America, historical and contemporary maps and statistics, and journal articles on a variety of humanities and social science topics.

For current topics (politics, economics, demography, social movements) you will rely more on journal articles and news resources. For historical or cultural topics (history, literature, anthropology) you will find books to be very important. Some of the databases (e.g. Handbook of Latin American Studies) include both books and journals. Much information is available  electronically, including primary resource material that has been digitized. A good place to begin to look for electronic information on the web is LANIC (Latin American Network Information Center) from the University of Texas which has reviewed their listings to ensure the information is both current and authoritative.

The Encyclopedia of Latin American History is a six volume work with brief articles that usually include a short bibliography to get one started. It provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary view of Latin American history and culture from prehistoric times to the present. Covers cultural issues and includes numerous biographical profiles of important figures in politics, letters and the arts.

Hunter has the Cambridge Histories Online which are multivolume works on Latin American History and economics. The database contains over 290 volumes published since 1960, equating to around 196,000 pages. There are numerous bibliographic essays on topics suggesting important works by accepted experts in the field.

Web Portals, Search Engines & Directories

  • LANIC (Latin American Network Information Center) is maintained by the University of Texas, Austin, and is the premier site for reviewing and organizing thousands of links from and about Latin America by country and by subject.
  • Terra (a Spanish-language web portal) provides service in many Latin American countries that might help locate web sites in those countries, though the content tends to be more commercial and popular. The URLs follow a standard convention using the country domain name.  e.g.  (Argentina), (Mexico), (Brazil)
  • Yahoo Regions/Country Directory points to more popular resources, but is much less comprehensive than LANIC.
  • Both Google and Yahoo offer Spanish language search engines to their databases of internet sites. Google has a number of specialized sites that make finding information a little easier.
  • Latin America--European Portal contains European information and research on Latin America. The portal is the result of cooperation between the networks REDIAL and CEISAL. Its objective is to offer a complete information system specialized in the European humanities and social science research on Latin America.

Theses & Dissertations (Hunter College)

  • Dissertations & Theses (formerly Digital Dissertations) [Hunter College Only]. 1861 to Present. Dissertations/master's theses from 1,000+ graduate schools & universities in N. America/the world. Abstracts for dissertations 1980-present; master's theses 1988-present. Full-text of most UC dissertations available at no charge. Full Description. The database will allow you to preview the first few pages of the Dissertation.  Dissertations (including foreign dissertations) can often be borrowed from other libraries via Interlibrary Loan.

Print Reference Sources

  • Latin America and the Caribbean: A Critical Guide to Research Source. Paula H. Covington, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1992. (Ref. F1408 .L3225 1992) Each chapter consists of bibliographic essays of recommended key sources and research trends; bibliographies of reference sources; and ends with descriptions of special collections in that discipline.  Also has an  index by type of source and country.
  • Cambridge History of Latin America. Leslie Bethell, ed. 11 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984-1995. ( 6th Floor F1410 .C1834 1984) Important survey of Latin America encompassing the economic, social, political, intellectual and cultural history of Latin America from the conquest to the present. Includes excellent bibliographical essays at the end of each volume to lead you to other source material..