Document Type

Undergraduate Syllabus


Fall 2013



Course Number

DIPL 4803

Course Description

This seminar provides an overview of major approaches to the study of Latin American politics and society. It emphasizes both a historical perspective and an analysis of current trends and issues. Using various analytical lenses, including cultural, structural, institutional, and rationalchoice perspectives, the course focuses on the different kinds of political regimes and the patterns of political and social change that have characterized Latin American countries in the past century. We will take up several specific questions: Why have some countries in Latin America enjoyed more stable political systems than others? Why have some countries faced severe threats from guerrilla movements and even major social revolutions, while others succumbed to military coups, especially in the 1960s and 1970s? Why did Latin America experience a wave of democratization in the 1980s and what are the prospects for the consolidation of democracy in the region in the twenty-first century? In answering these questions, the course will provide a survey of the region’s political development, with particular emphasis on four countries: Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela.