Political Science 461

POSC 461
Government and Politics of Latin America

Catalog Entry

POSC 461. Government and Politics of Latin America. (CG)
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisite: POSC 231

This course is an introduction to Latin American politics that focuses on enduring themes and contemporary politics in selected countries.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Subject matter will be drawn from the following outline.

I. Politics of colonial Latin America.
II. Latin American independence and 19th century politics.
III. Issues in 20th century Latin American politics.

A. The Catholic Church and "Liberation Theology."
B. Political economy and Latin American development
C. Nationalism, Marxism, and Revolution.
D. The role of the military in selected countries.
E. The political culture of Latin America and the question of the "good regime."

IV. Selected country studies

A. Mexico
B. Argentina
C. Peru
D. Nicaragua
E. Chile
F. Brazil
G. Venezuela
H. Colombia


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course emphasizes discussion of the readings with additional material provided in lectures. The texts used can vary widely from semester to semester and range from historical studies to books about contemporary themes in Latin America to novels to travel literature.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

  • To introduce students to the history, culture and politics of Latin America emphasizing the region's diversity as well as its shared concerns.
  • To encourage students to appreciate the value of examining the culture and politics of other areas of the world as part of the human quest for the good life.


Assessment Measures

Students will be graded on a minimum of two essays, papers/examinations. These may be in-class or take home examinations. Book reviews and short research papers are occasionally assigned as well.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

April 1998 Reviewed M. J. Franck, Dept. Chair