Fall 2019 - IS 835 G100

Social and Political Change in Latin America (4)

Class Number: 8273

Delivery Method: In Person

Overview

  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    HCC 1325, Vancouver

  • Instructor:

    Gerardo Otero
    otero@sfu.ca
    1 778 782-4508
    Office: HC 7248
    Office Hours: Fridays 2:00-4:00pm or by appointment.

Description

CALENDAR DESCRIPTION:

A general overview of social and political change in Latin America, including revolutions, independence, transition to democracy, and contemporary social movements. Theoretical approaches may include social-movement theory, democratic theory, etc. Students who have taken LAS 835 or SA 835 for credit may not take this course for further credit.

COURSE DETAILS:

This course will offer an overview of Latin American development, with a focus on social and political change since the neoliberal turn in the 1980s. Since the 1930, the state had played a central role in economic development in a top-down and mostly authoritarian model of politics. In the larger countries of the region, focused on import-substitution industrialization (ISI), the state-centered model came to depend heavily on foreign indebtedness and proved unsustainable economically and politically. By the 1980s, the debt crisis forced a shift in the development model toward reducing state intervention, enhancing the role of private firms and market liberalization. Most Central American countries, however, remained focused on agro-exporting economies, with deep cleavages between landlords and peasants, often resulting in bloody repression and civil wars. Yet, democracies of varying characteristics have supplanted dictatorships and diverse social actors have articulated longstanding grievances in new ways. The region remains plagued by levels of inequality, which were deepened by the neoliberal reform. Trade liberalization and biotechnology have led to new patterns in food production, dependency and crisis. Hence, some of the most important social movements in the region are based in the countryside. Modes of thinking about development have also changed, with some authors proposing epistemologies from the south to resist and transcend imperialism.

Since the late 1990s, new political forces coming from a broadly-defined “left” have won political office or exercised hefty influence from civil society and tried to transcend the neoliberal model with varying degrees of success. New centre-left governments talk of a post-neoliberal development model, but they have also introduced a new impetus in promoting foreign direct investment in the extractive industries. To what extent is neo-extractivism a route to sustainable development or to a new form of imperialism? This seminar aims to familiarize students with the key characteristics of contemporary Latin American politics and society and to situate the rise of the left historically. Readings analyze a range of countries and draw from several disciplines in the social sciences and history.   

Since the late 1990s, new political forces coming from a broadly-defined “left” have won political office or exercised hefty influence from civil society and tried to transcend the neoliberal model with varying degrees of success. New centre-left governments talk of a post-neoliberal development model, but they have also introduced a new impetus in promoting foreign direct investment in the extractive industries. To what extent is neo-extractivism a route to sustainable development or to a new form of imperialism? This seminar aims to familiarize students with the key characteristics of contemporary Latin American politics and society and to situate the rise of the left historically. Readings analyze a range of countries and draw from several disciplines in the social sciences and history.

COURSE-LEVEL EDUCATIONAL GOALS:

The course will introduce students to the social and political history of Latin America and competing interpretations about it. Students will finish the course with an intermediate-level knowledge of the major social and political changes that have taken place in this world since the 1980s. They will acquire a broad range of conceptual and analytical tools for examining these changes across a diverse range of countries. They will learn how to deploy these tools to understand and report about a country case study of their choice.

Grading

  • Five Discussion Papers (one every other week, 5% each) 25%
  • Responses (alternate weeks to discussion papers) 10%
  • Final Paper Outline (due at 9:30am in class, Week 8) 5%
  • Essay Draft Presentation (November 29) 10%
  • Participation 15%
  • Final Review Essay (due December 6) 35%

NOTES:

Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.

Materials

REQUIRED READING:

Galeano, Eduardo. 1997 [1973]. Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. New York: Monthly Review Press. (Available online via SFU's Library)
ISBN: 9780853459910

Gerardo Otero, ed. 2008. Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America. Austin: University of Texas Press. (Available online via SFU's Library)
ISBN: 9780292726130

Henry Veltmeyer and James Petras. 2014. The New Extractivism: A Post-Neoliberal Development Model or Imperialism of the 21st Century. London and New York: Zed Books.
ISBN: 9781780329925

Lapegna, Pablo. 2016. Soybeans and Power: Genetically Modified Crops, Environmental Politics, and Social Movements in Argentina. New York: Oxford University Press.
ISBN: 978190215149

de Sousa Santos, Boaventura. 2018. The End of the Cognitive Empire: The Coming of Age of Epistemologies of the South. Durham: Duke University Press. (Available online through SFU's Library)
ISBN: 978148000150

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: YOUR WORK, YOUR SUCCESS