The Toro Historical Review

Where History is Considered, Questioned, and Made

Volume 2, Spring 2017

Welcome to Volume 2 of

The Toro Historical Review!

The research articles contributed to this issue emerged out of Dr. Talamante’s Fall 2016 History 490 Senior Seminar, the capstone course in the Department of History. Introductory readings addressed a broad overview of revolutionary movements and analysis by historians to help students understand the evolution of revolutionary ideas in modern and recent history. Students responded to a CFP for our Global Revolutionary Studies Mini-Conference: Evolving Revolutionary Frameworks for Social Justice. The articles in Volume 2 mainly address questions regarding twentieth-century revolutions and movements for justice.

The revolutions explored deal with a range of shorter and longer term issues that relate to countries achieving independence from European control. The influence of the United States also came to bear upon these revolutions. While Mexico enjoyed independence from Spain for nearly a century before its revolution, remaining issues of economic and social justice came to a head under the extended presidency of Porfirio Diaz. Anysse Lopez examines the political and social struggles for land reform during the Mexican Revolution and the road to Mexican economic recovery and growth initiated by the Constitution of 1919.

Aurora Lara’s research on the Nicaraguan Revolution allowed her to better understand her mother’s experiences as a revolutionary, including eventual motivations for immigration to the United States. Lara demonstrates how the revolutionaries went beyond guerilla tactics and intimidation. She focuses on their use of political and social movements tying together the nationalist, women’s and anti-imperialist movements.

The work of M. Anees Aref and Lauren Saldana places the focus on the Iranian Revolution. Aref’s research unpacks how the revolutionary rhetoric of the Ayatollah Khomeini combined elements of Shia Islamic critiques and anti-imperialism to dominate the independence movement and establish the Islamic Republic of Iran. Saldana’s work looks at revolutionary expectations and experiences of women under the Islamic Republic. The women supported independence but did not foresee how revolutionary success would create a government that challenged their own independence.

Each paper demonstrates how revolutionary movements confronted existing social and political injustices in the wake of previous foreign control and influence. Revolutionary governments did not necessarily succeed in eliminating social and political injustices and, at times, created new forms of oppression. At the same time, the authors reveal how some individuals and groups found a new voice in society and became part of the forces for revolutionary change.

Part of Diego Rivera's "History of Mexico" mural at the National Palace in Mexico City

The Mexican Revolution: An Economic and Social Revival

By Anysse Lopez



IMG_2181 (1)

The Sandinista Revolution as Ignition for Social Movements

By Aurora Lara



Iranian Revolution Women

Iranian Women’s Identities: Exploring Influences and Fears of the 1979 Revolution

By Lauren Saldana



Ruhollah Khomeini


In a Persian Mosque: Revolutionary Shi’a Islam and Independence in Iran

By M. Anees Aref



Film Reviews

The two film reviews were developed from the “Africa Goes to Hollywood: Film Interrogation Project” completed in Dr. Murillo’s Africa after 1800 course (HIS 361). Analyzing academic, as well as popular, representations of Africa and Africans is a key element of this introductory course which spans 19th and 20th century African history. Drawing on our text Mistaking Africa: Curiosities and Inventions of the American Mind by Curtis Keim (2013), various course readings, and scholarly film reviews, students applied a historical analysis to representations of the continent through film. Therefore, these two reviews offer windows into how students of history can critically engage popular films as historical sources.


The Primitive Beasts of a War-Torn Nation: A Film Analysis of Beasts of No Nation by Jason Khozam


Rinse. Wash. Repeat. The Last King of Scotland: A Film Interrogation by Alvin Okoreeh

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