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Great professor and great class. I really didn't have an opinion on Central America or US intervention in it before this class but Prof Csapo did a great job explaining it in full nuanced detail (not overly woke or super pro-US, but just straight facts). The class covers mostly the politics/history of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, a bit on Costa Rica/Panama, and then briefly touches on Cuba and the Dominican republic. Primarily it's just those first 5 countries you'll be tested on if she keeps the same structure. Usually the classes go into what resources each country had, how they were exploited by foreigners, what their early 1900s dictators were like, how they faired in the cold war, and what post cold war politics look like for them.
As a history nerd, I had my mind blown so many times in this class. Mexico apparently was a corrupt one-party state until the late 1990s, the US Marine Corp literally occupied Nicaragua during the 1920s when Nicaragua tried to make a canal to compete with the one in Panama, El Salvador's gangs are really just American gang El Salvadoran migrants got tied up in who we then deported, and Guatemala elected a comedian to be president in 2016 who proceeded to abolish the anti-corruption agency when he was found to be corrupt. This and lots more will be the wild shit you'll learn in this class.
Reading is somewhat dense in this class. You don't need to know about economics for the tests or anything, but you'll read a lot about inflation rates and neoliberal austerity policies (again, not really on the tests that much, but is in a lot of the readings). They're long readings, but very rich with content. She has quizzes (instead of a midterm) that are 20 multiple-choice questions (a little bit difficult, but w/ open book during covid it was pretty doable). There are also weekly reading assignments with about 10 questions you answer- this really depends on the grader she has, our quarter we got a pretty bad one who nitpicked everyone's stuff- tbs you can ask for a regrade and she's often extremely accommodating and generous in that. Most people still got in the mid to low 90%s on those assigments even with that grader. The final was a paper on if the US should provide aid to the Northern Triangle countries in order to fix the migration crisis, and you can include some details as to what kind of policy solutions will help solve the various issues in these countries.
Main downside is she's realllly slow w/ responding to emails. If you want an answer from her, make sure to go to Office hours or ask during class.
I would recommend taking Professor Csapo's courses. In this class, we had six assignments to do based on questions about the readings, a midterm, a research paper, and a final exam. Personally, my favorite assignment was the research paper if you are someone who enjoys working ahead of time. She gives students a lot of time to work on the research paper and is willing to help students refine their research question and argument if you stop by office hours or schedule an appointment. The research paper definitely allowed me to think about the concepts we learn in this course and beyond that and really develop my writing skills. I only suggest that students read the readings for the six assignments as it can be easy to try to just skim it and answer the questions but the grader sometimes can tell. Also, feel free to reach out to Professor Csapo ahead of time if you are confused about the readings as she is more than happy to help out. I really loved this course as Professor Csapo records all her lectures for students to access if they cannot make it live and she explains political science concepts in a way that makes sense for someone who is not really exposed to it. I enjoyed learning about South America and would recommend Professor Csapo and this class to anyone interested in learning about Latin America. This class definitely changed my viewpoint on military rule and taught me about ongoing political events that I did not know occurred in South America such as abortion rights and indigenous leaders/parties in federal office. I only wish there was more time in the quarter to go more in depth about some of the concepts discussed at the end.