Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta
Faculty of Social and Political Sciences
Dept. of International Relations
Odd Semester 2015/2016
Politics and Governance in Latin America
Lecturer: Bambang W. Nugroho, M.A.
Email address:

Course Description

This course will examine the dynamics of political and social changes in Latin America. During this semester, the focus of the course will be on forms of processes and the establishment of Latin American political systems and its struggle for development. The course will use a critical historical analysis, started from its colonial era to the current situations in Latin America. By the end of the course, students should achieve an informed and nuanced view of political and developmental problems in Latin America and will be able to analyze its historical, institutional, and political determinants in a global context.

Among other topics, this course will be divided into 6 part following with a series of presentation and class discussion.

Those are:

  • Colonial Era (1492 to 1820s)
  • Struggle for Independence and Its Aftermath (1820s to 1930)
  • Early Modernization (1930-) followed by the importance of populism and elite pacts (1940s and 1950s); radicalization of the left, democratic breakdowns and military rule (1960s and 1970s);
  • Transitions to democracy (1980s);
  • Market-oriented reforms and Neoliberalization (1990s);
  • Current promises and challenges for socialist consolidation in the region (2000s to present).

Course Requirements

  • Class Attendance 10%
  • Assignment and Quizzes 10%
  • Midterm exam: 20%
  • Presentation and Discussion 20%
  • Final exam: 40%

It is essential that students read the weekly assigned materials prior to the corresponding lectures and recitations. Attendance to lectures and recitations is mandatory. If a student misses three or more consecutive lectures or two or more consecutive recitations without justification or prior consent from the lecturer, she or he will be asked to drop the class or will fail the course.

Contents of lectures and recitations will be tested in the exams. Two quizzes will be administered throughout the semester, which will test students on the required materials for the corresponding week. Only the best quiz score will be computed in the final grade.

Midterm and Final exams: They will consist of three parts: multiple-choice questions, short answers to ID’s or short questions, and essay. Both exams will be in-class. The midterm is scheduled for November 2015 and the final for January 2016. There will not be make-up exams.

Course Materials

Required Books:

  • Howard J. Wiarda and Harvey F. Kline. 2007. Latin American Politica and Development, 6th ed. Boulder Col.: Westview Press
  • Skidmore, Thomas E., and Peter H. Smith. 2001. Modern Latin America. 6th ed. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 Schedule of Topics and Readings

Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: 1495 – 1820s Colonization Era

Week 3: 1820a-1930 Independence Movement and Its Aftermath

Week 4: 1930-1980s Modernization and Development Era

Week 5: 1980s-2000 Democratization Challenges

Week 6: 1980s-2000 Neoliberalization and Its Impact

Week 7: 2000-now “Turning Left” in Globalized World

Week 8 – Midterm Exam

Week 9: Special Case: Dynamics Relations between LA and the US

Week 10-15: Class Presentation

Week 16 Final Exam.


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