My father was a history major and always viewed issues through a historical viewpoint. He loved to
talk about the history books he read. Obviously he communicated his love to
his children because all three of his sons were history majors, though I was
the only one to make history a career.
Three years in the Peace Corps from 1965-68
awoke my interest in understanding the history and culture of
. Later in graduate school I learned about
the economic development concerns of social scientists. I was converted to the
belief that "social engineering" could modernize
Allende government made me much more skeptical about
the role of social scientists in the modernization process. Not only did the
"experts" disagree, but society as a whole was violently divided.
The tragic end of democracy in
, followed by economic shock treatment caused enormous suffering. Unfortunately,
social scientists often contributed to
's problems while believing they were solving them.
In my research I studied a period when
had been more successful in solving
its economic and political problems. I offer insight into how government policies
had shaped an environment which encouraged development with less social cost.
Some of results of my finding have been published in Chilean historical journals
and incorporated into Chilean literature on nineteenth-century economic development.
Greenwood Press published my History of Chile in 2003 and Palgrave Macmillian brought out a paperback edition in 2005.
I feel fortunate to have taught both in the
. For ten years I
was a member of the faculty of the
(1977-1987). I also was a Fulbright Professor
during the 1983-84 academic year. Both of these experiences have given me an opportunity
experience how students learn in other cultures as well as to develop close
ties with Puerto Rican and Chilean faculty. Also, in 2006 I taught in the Rosario, Argentina study abroad program sponsored by WOU
and the NCSA consortium.
offers the greatest curricular freedom I have ever experienced. I am able to
teach a wide variety of courses with very little oversight. This is the meaning
of academic freedom. I also have had the opportunity at Western to see students
use their history education in their careers and to enrich their lives.
I am particularly gratified to have outstanding
colleagues in the Western History Department and Social Science Division. Few
people outside the university appreciate the creativity and dedication of these
scholars. The History faculty has been particularly innovative in curriculum
in new geographical and ethnic areas. These courses have greatly strengthened
our program. Also, the increased emphasis on research, both for the students
and the faculty, has enriched the creative process. Our history majors' seminar
papers are the most concrete indication of the high quality of work being done
in the Department.
I like the responsibility for education to
be with the student when possible. I love discussion classes...when students
prepare adequately. Also, I enjoy integrating literature in my Latin American
history courses. Authors help students approach the living culture and awaken
their historical sensibility. In the end, the classroom is the best opportunity
we have to develop the historical imagination.
For more information contact Professor Rector