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Course Description

This course provides an introduction to Latin American politics and development themes. It is a Level Three Comparative Politics course designed to expand students’ knowledge of the politics, political economy and international relations of the Western Hemisphere. It explores the historical forces which have shaped state formation and societal structures in Latin America and which have influenced the broad patterns of political development in the 20th and 21st centuries. It analyses the considerable impact of the international environment and provides an insight into the dynamics of a number of IberoAmerican societies. Finally, it examines some of the linkages between Latin American and Caribbean countries, especially in the current era of deepening socio-political and economic integration initiatives.

The course will be delivered through weekly lectures and tutorials at which various individual and group based activities will take place. There will also be films and some guest lectures during the semester. The scheduling of these events will be announced on OURVLE. Regular attendance at lectures and tutorials is a requirement of this course – it is face to face and not online although you can access certain materials on OURVLE.

Students are required to do weekly preparation by reading online and paper-based literature and by following news reports on political, social and economic developments in Latin America


By the end of this course, participants should: -

1. Have a basic understanding of the historical and geopolitical forces which have helped to shape Latin American countries, including the role of the global economy;

2. Be familiar with the forms of government, major political institutions, actors and processes and with elements of Latin American political culture;

3. Have explored some key themes in the political and ideological discourses of Latin America;

4. Be cognizant of significant policy challenges in social and economic development and some selected responses;

5. Have gained greater insight into the political dynamics of selected Latin American countries;

6. Have expanded their knowledge of regional integration developments across the Americas and their implications for the Caribbean

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