This course looks at how ordinary people both experienced and shaped a century of rapid change, while introducing students to major debates in the field of social history. In 1860, the republics of Latin America were still predominantly rural and mostly poor. Foreign visitors described the continent and its inhabitants as “backward”: infrastructure was scarcely developed, lawlessness was a major problem, public health was deficient, and the society appeared mired in colonial tradition. Over the next 50-100 years, globalization transformed the region. Economic development brought railroads, roads, ports, and bustling modern cities in which the majority of Latin Americans now lived. Advances in health and education increased life expectancy considerably, immigration had changed several countries' demographic makeup, well-equipped police and militaries preserved order, and social and cultural patterns were increasingly secular and “modern.” None of those changes came without conflict, and this course brings the questions and methods of social history to bear on issues including urban social problems, technological change, science and medicine, children and women’s rights, crime and punishment, consumption, and mass media and popular culture. May be offered jointly with HIST 867.