module specification

GI6065 - Latin American Politics (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Latin American Politics
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 100
30 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
70 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   3,500 words essay
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

The broad aim of this module is to question the assumptions about contemporary Latin America as a region and its place in the world and, in particular, to examine:

• the underlying political ideas and trends instrumental in shaping Latin American politics today, including the role of the USA;
• the internal politics of modern Latin American states and the role of these states within the region;
• the impact due to globalisation and the rise of political and economic importance of other developing regions;
• to encourage students to think about the complexities of problem-solving in this context.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims




Introduction: what is (Latin) America?; Latin America – US relations; Dependent development? – Mexico-US relations; Impunity in Mexico: Femicide in Ciudad Juárez; Populism vs markets in the 21st C – Argentina; Cold war dictatorships and HR – Chile; Civil society and the state in Cuba; The 'New Latin American Left' – Venezuela; Global issues and challenges: 1- Pachamama and citizenship – Bolivia/Ecuador/Peru; 2 - Gender Politics- Guatemala; 3. - Drugs: Plan Merida; 4. – Drugs: Colombia Plan.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching consists of a weekly 1 hour and a half lecture followed by a one hour and a half seminar discussion. Lectures will combine formal lectures with videos, written documents and internet material. Lecture notes and texts for use in class will be posted on line as will web-links and video links in support of the additional bibliography provided. The programme is posted in the Module handbook.

Class discussions and assessment will encourage reflective learning to develop transferable skills whilst encouraging personal development strategies and independent learning.

Learning outcomes

Module learning outcomes

Upon completion of this module students will be better equipped to:
• L01 Demonstrate an understanding of recent economic, social and political developments in Latin America;
• L02 Assess critically the various models and approaches in explaining these developments;

The transferable skills you should have developed include:
• L03 The ability to communicate effectively in speech and writing, according to academic conventions;
• L04 Research skills, including the ability to synthesise and analyse complex arguments and exercise critical judgement;
• L05 The capacity to work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management, as well as co-operating with other students to achieve common goals.


Assessment strategy

The assessment criteria for the essay will be discussed in detail in class. Students are expected to present a critical approach for understanding theories, concepts, and debates on Latin American politics. They need to provide evidence of their ability to apply the concepts explored in class to case studies and convey arguments cogently, using their own thoughts, analysis and wording; support all claims and assertions with evidence, drawing from readings and case studies examined in the module; engage in use of appropriate academic sources and reference as assigned; and write with due regard to syntax, grammar, and expected academic standards.


Core readings:
Galeano, E. (1997) Open Veins of Latin America, Monthly Review Pr, NY.
Livingstone, G. (2009) America’s Backyard, Zed books
Green, D. (2012) Faces of Latin America, Latin American Bureau

Additional reading:
Barrett, P, Chavez, D & Rodriguez-Garavito, C.(eds) (2008) The New Latin American Left Utopia Reborn, Pluto Press (+ e-book)
Cameron, M.A. & Hershberg, E.(2010) Latin America’s Left Turns, Lynne Rienner Publishers
Diamond, L. Linz, JJ & Lipset SM (eds)(1999) Democracy in Underdeveloping Countries, Vol.4. Latin America, OUP
Europa World Year book, (2015) Routledge.
Foweraker, J, Landman, T.,& Harvey, N (2003) Governing Latin America, Polity Pr.
Gott, R. (2004) Cuba. A New History, Yale University Press
Green, D. (2012) Faces of Latin America, Latin American Bureau
Gwynne, R.N. & Kay,C.(2004) Latin America Transformed. Globalisation and Modernity, Arnold Publishers
Joseph, L.(ed)(2009) Brazil under Lula: economy, politics and society under the worker-president, Palgrave MacMillan (e-book)
Millett, R.,& Holmes, J.S.(2008) Latin American Democracy: Emerging Reality or Endangered Species, Routledge
Munck, R.(2008) Contemporary Latin America, Palgrave MacMillan
O’Toole, G. (2007) Politics Latin America, Pearson Ed
Petras, J. and Veltmeyer, H (2009) What’s Left in Latin America? Ashgate (e-book)
Smith, P.H. (2005) Democracy in Latin America: Political Change in a Comparative Perspective, OUP
Vanden, H.E & Prevost, G. (2006) Politics in Latin America. The Power Game, O.U.P
Wiarda, J.J(ed)(2011) Latin American Politics and Development, 7th ed. Boulder, Colo. (e-book)
On-line resources include: Journal of Latin American Studies, Latin America Politics and Society, Journal of Democracy, Social Panorama of Latin America, CEPAL Review, The Latin American Monitor, etc., and library journals on-line.