Postgraduate Course: Contemporary Issues in Latin America (PGSP11482)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course introduces students to contemporary issues in Latin American politics. Emphasis is placed on matters crucial to understanding the region's position in, and approach towards, the international community and global political economy. It begins with the legacies of historic trends and processes, including colonialism, US intervention, the era of state-led development and neoliberal restructuring. The course then explores issues at the forefront of political debates in the region, such as regional integration, the North American Free Trade Agreement, indigenous politics and extractivism, narco-trafficking, the peace process in Colombia, water privatization and Brazil's regional leadership. Students will also be exposed to several cross-cutting themes including: identity politics, development, human rights, global power politics and the changing role of the state in the era of global integration.
This course introduces students to contemporary issues in Latin American politics. Emphasis is placed on exploring matters crucial to understanding the region's position in, and approach towards, the international community and the global political economy. The first weeks of the course are dedicated to exploring the legacies and current manifestations of historic trends and processes, including colonialism, US intervention, the era of state-led development and neoliberal restructuring. This will provide students with a deeper contextual understanding of the sometimes competing attitudes and approaches Latin American governments adopt towards state sovereignty, inter-state relations and corporate actors today. The course will then build on this by exploring issues at the forefront of political debates in the region, such as the success and failure of regional integration, reforming the North American Free Trade Agreement, the resurgence of indigenous politics and extractivism, narco-trafficking, the peace process in Colombia, water privatization and the waxing and waning of Brazil's regional leadership. As we explore these issues, students will be exposed to several cross-cutting themes including: identity politics, development challenges and opportunities, human rights, global power politics and the changing role (and nature) of the state in the era of global integration.
By taking this course, students will: enhance their understanding of sociopolitical and material trends that have shaped Latin American politics in the past and present; strengthen their knowledge of the role Latin American governments and social groups play in shaping the international community and global political economy; build a critical awareness of the impact global processes and institutions have in the region across space and time; strengthen their critical analytic and communicative skills (both oral and written); and, learn to engage with and debate complex issues in a collegial and constructive manner.
This course will take the form of a 1 hour lecture and a 1 hour seminar. Students are expected to attend each class having completed the weekly assigned materials in advance. Assigned materials will take the form of journal articles, book chapters, videos and podcasts.
1. Colonialism and US Imperialism: Past and Present
2. Legacies of the Old Left
3. The Neoliberal Experiments
4. The Ebb and Flow of the Pink Tide (New Left)
6. Reforming NAFTA: In Whose Interest?
7. Sumak Kawsay and the Resource Curse
8. Land Rights, Narcotics and the Possibilities of Peace in Colombia
9. Water Rights versus Corporate Rights
10. Regional Hegemony? Brazil and the Pacific Alliance
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Participation - 10% for attendance and informed, collegial contributions to class discussion«br /»
Essay 1 - 45% for a 2,000-word critical reflection due in the fifth week of class. Students will respond to one of five questions listed on the course outline using course readings and other assigned materials to support their arguments. A grading rubric for the assignment will be distributed and reviewed in the first week of class. «br /»
Essay 2 - 45% for a 2,000-word policy brief due in the last week of class. Students will respond to one of five policy-oriented questions (for instance, on diplomatic relations, foreign economic policy, development). Questions will be listed on the course outline and students are expected to use course readings and external sources to inform their brief. The policy brief must be specific to one Latin American government or regional organization.
||- Participation: Students will receive interim feedback on their participation in the course during the fifth week of scheduled seminars. Their final participation grade will be given to them after the last week of class.
- Critical Reflection: Students will receive comprehensive feedback on their critical reflection involving a grading rubric and written comments. The essay will be graded primarily on the quality and clarity of the students arguments, including their depth of understanding and analyses of the assigned materials.
- Policy Brief: Students will receive comprehensive feedback on their critical reflection involving a grading rubric and written comments. The essay will be graded primarily on the quality and clarity of the students analysis and discussion, the depth of understanding of the key issue, organization and structure of their policy brief and the extent to which they appropriately address the issue in their policy recommendations.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate an enhanced understanding of socio-political and material trends that shape(d) Latin American politics and political debates in the past and present.
- Understand the role Latin American governments and social groups play in shaping the international community and the global political economy.
- Critically analyse and recognize the impacts global processes and institutions have in the region across time and space and the domestic factors that help mitigate these impacts.
|Armijo, Leslie Elliot and Philippe Faucher. 2002. We Have a Consensus: Explaining Political Support for Market Reforms in Latin America Latin American Politics and Society 2 (44): 1 40.|
Blackwood, Elizabeth and Stephen McBride. 2006. Investment as the Achilles Heel of Globalisation? The Ongoing Conflict Between the Rights of Capital and the Rights of States, Policy and Society 25 (3): 43 67.
Cameron, Maxwell A. 2009. Latin America Left Turns: Beyond Good and Bad, Third World Quarterly 30 (2): 331 348.
Clark, George B. 2014. The United States Military in Latin America: A History of Interventions through 1934. McFarland & Co.
Collins, Denis. 2009. The Failure of a Socially Responsive Gold Mining MNC in El Salvador: Ramifications of NGO Mistrust, Journal of Business Ethics 88 (2): 245-268.
Cox, Ronald. 2008. Transnational Capital, the US State and Latin American Trade Agreements, Third World Quarterly 29 (8): 1527-1544.
Escobar, Arturo. 2010. Latin America at a Crossroads, Cultural Studies 24 (1): 1 65.
Galeano, Eduardo. 1997. Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. New York: Monthly Review Press.
Gordon, Todd and Jeffery R. Webber. 2008. Imperialism and Resistance: Canadian Mining Companies in Latin America, Third World Quarterly 29 (2): 63 -87.
Kay, Cristóbal. 2011. Latin American Theories of Development and Underdevelopment. New York: Routledge.
Kurtz, Marcus and Sarah M. Brooks. 2008. Embedding Neoliberal Reform in Latin America, World Politics 60 (2): 231- 280.
Mahoney, James. 2001. The Legacies of Liberalism: Path Dependence and Political Regimes in Central America. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Manzetti, Luigi and Charles H. Blake. 1996. Market Reforms and Corruption in Latin America: New Means for Old Ways Review of International Political Economy 3 (4): 662-697.
Moberg, Mark and Steve Striffler. 2003. Banana Wars: Power, Production and History in the Americas. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Perrault, Thomas and Patricia Martin. Geographies of Neoliberalism in Latin America, Environment and Planning A 37: 191-201.
Porzecanski, Roberto and Kevin Gallagher. 2007. Economic Reform and Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America: A Critical Assessment, Progress in Development Studies 7 (3): 217 233.
Riggirozzi, Pía. 2012. Region, Regionness and Regionalism in Latin America: Towards a New Synthesis, New Political Economy 17 (4): 421 443.
Robinson, William. 2009. Latin America and Global Capitalism: A Critical Globalization Perspective. John Hopkins University Press.
Schlesinger, Stephen C. and Stephen Kinzer. 2005. Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala. Harvard University Press.
Spronk, Susan and Carlos Crespo. 2008. Water, National Sovereignty and Social Resistance: Bilateral Investment Treaties and the Struggles against Multinational Water Companies in Cochabamba and El Alto, Bolivia, Law, Social Justice and Global Development Journal 11.
Stokes, Susan C. 2007. Mandates and Democracy: Neoliberalism by Surprise in Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Wise, Timothy A, Hilda Salazar and Laura Carlsen. 2003. Confronting Globalization: Economic Integration and Popular Resistance in Mexico. Kumarian Press; Bloomfield Ct
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||By taking this course, students will enhance their abilities to:
- Critically engage with, and debate, issues related to Latin American politics in a collegial and constructive manner.
- Communicate complex ideas and trends with precision and clarity in both oral and written formats.
- Work with others in the development and delivery of an assignment while balancing independent assignments and priorities
|Course organiser||Dr Julia Calvert
Tel: (0131 6)51 4752
|Course secretary||Miss Jemma Auns
Tel: (0131 6) 50 24 56