Spring 2022 - IS 329 D100

Special Topics in International Development, Economic and Environmental Issues (4)

Crime & Punishment in Latin America

Class Number: 5326

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    HCC 1505, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Specific details of courses to be offered will be published prior to enrollment each term.


Calendar Description:

This course examines processes of crime and punishment across Latin America by engaging with specific case studies. Students will investigate the impacts of crime and punishment on politics and social life in the region.

Course Details:

This course explores crime, punishment, and criminal justice across Latin America. Over the course of the term, we are going to analyse cases, ranging from environmental disasters to smuggling networks, through the lens of crime and criminalization. We will also consider the changing role of policing and prisons, including how they have influenced social life in the region. The class engages with the following concerns: (1) the impacts of crime on Latin American communities, including their relationships with class, race, and gender (2) the ties between criminal justice, colonialism and racism (3) responses by governments, media and citizens to both real and perceived crimes; and (4) the rapid expansion of prison systems across the region in the last thirty years.


Through this course, students will:

(1) Identify and critically assess how crime and punishment shape social and political life across Latin America. Drawing on specific case studies, they will recognise broader national and transnational patterns related to criminal justice.
(2) Analyse the politics of crime and punishment – that is, how state and non-state actors produce and use claims about crime or security for different purposes.
(3) Identify and apply concepts that offer explanations for criminal justice in Latin America, and evaluate the usefulness of these ideas (e.g. criminalisation, penal selectivity, genocide, extralegality).
(4) Develop and demonstrate skills in reading and interpreting primary and secondary material; in crafting social scientific arguments; and in expressing these arguments across different forms of communication.
(5) Identify and discuss issues of social justice and research ethics as they apply to criminal justice.


  • Participation 15%
  • Reading Response Tasks 15%
  • Group Project 10%
  • Research Paper 30%
  • Take-Home Exam 25%
  • Self-evaluation 5%


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.



All required readings will be available to students through Canvas, online, or in the SFU Library’s electronic collection.

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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.