La Matanza

La Matanza was a mass killing event in El Salvador in 1932 that some historians, including the two whose book on the topic you will be reading, consider a genocide. Other scholars, whose books on the topic you will not be reading, consider the killing one of the first events of the Cold War, even though it pre-dates the European version by 15 years. In other words, La Matanza is quite important to Latin American (and pan-American) history.This essay asks you to analyze La Matanza in light of the book To Rise in Darkness. Pose a research question about the topic and then answer that question in a thesis-driven analytical essay. I recommend asking a how or why research question about La Matanza: “Why did the Salvadorean government respond with such incredible violence?” is a good example.The most important element of your essay is that it should be analytical and argumentative, rather than purely descriptive and summarizing. Here is what this means: you should not tell me the who/what/when of an historical event but rather the how or why. When you formulate your research question, make sure that it is a why or how question. A good research question is more likely to lead you to formulate an analytical thesis rather than a descriptive one. If you are unsure about how to structure an academic argument in your essay, please consult the optional lecture “Academic Writing,” which is included in a subfolder called “Bonus Lectures for Essay” in the Essay folder on Blackboard. This lecture is completely optional, but is recommended.Because one key goal of this course is to help students become more accomplished academic writers, I will accept early versions of your essay to provide feedback and pointers. At any stage of the writing process, please send me questions about or drafts of your essay and I will happily read through them and provide instruction for improving your writing. There is no limit to the number of drafts that I will read from each student, but do be reasonable and understand that I have a limited amount of time for the course and several hundred students in my classes this semester. I will decide whether to read or not read a draft and I will decide the extent of the comments that I will provide.You are NOT expected to do any additional reading or research beyond the Gould and Lauria-Santiago book. The essay should be 3-5 pages in the standard format listed above (double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, 1-inch page margins, with page numbers somewhere on the page and Chicago-style endnote or footnote citations).