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Undergraduate courses

 

  • GOV 312L     U.S.- Latin American Relations
    This course analyzes the origins and consequences of U.S. policies toward Latin America. The first third of the course provides some basic background on U.S.-Latin American relations. We identify the main actors in U.S. policymaking in the region, discuss different theories that seek to explain U.S.-Latin American relations, and examine the history of U.S.-Latin American relations from the colonial period to World War II. The second part of the course deals with U.S.-Latin American relations during the Cold War, from 1945 to 1990. The topics examined here  include the Cuban missile crisis and the Bay of Pigs, U.S. support for South American military regimes, and U.S. policy toward guerrilla movements in Central America. The final section of the course examines current issues in U.S.-Latin American relations, including economic ties, immigration, narcotics and the promotion of democracy.

  • GOV 328L     Introduction to Latin American Government and Politics
    This course provides a basic introduction to the evolving politics of Latin America. We explore the roots of the major political and economic trends that have swept Latin America during the last century. The trends analyzed range from populism and revolutionary movements to democratization and neoliberal reform. We also examine the politics of ethnicity, gender, religion, and the environment in the region. The first section focuses on Latin American political history. The second section examines authoritarianism and democracy in the region. And the third section analyzes some of the main social and economic challenges facing the region. Although the course focuses on issues affecting Latin America as a whole, some lectures and readings examine how these trends affected individual countries within the region.

 

This writing component course will examine the struggle for development in Latin America.  In the first part of the course, we will examine critically some of the major theories of development.  We will then analyze some theories that aim at explaining why Latin America has not developed as rapidly as some other parts of the world.In the final section of the course, we will examine some of the major development challenges that Latin America faces.

 

This course  examines how different racial and ethnic groups in various countries participate politically, focusing on African-Americans and Latinos in the United States and Afro-Latinos and Indigenous people in Latin America. The questions that we consider include the following: What determines membership in a particular ethnic or racial group? Why do some racial or ethnic groups mobilize politically as a group, while others do not? How do racial and ethnic identities vary across countries and regions and how do these identities shape patterns of voting and other forms of political participation?

During the introductory section of the course, we examine some general theories of racial and ethnic identification and political behavior. In the second section, we  analyze some theories of racial and ethnic politics in the United States. The third and final part of the course explores the politics of race and ethnicity in Latin America.

 

Graduate courses

  • GOV 390L   Democratic Consolidation
    This course explores the causes of democratization and democratic consolidation or lack thereof. The aims of the course are three-fold: 1) To acquaint students with the theoretical literatures on these subjects; 2) To teach students how to design and evaluate theoretically-oriented research; and 3) To train students to carry out various types of writing assignments that political scientists are frequently required to perform.

    The first two weeks of the course provide an overview of the field and the methods used in it. Subsequent weeks focus in depth on different factors that have been argued to play a key role in fostering or undermining democracy. These include economic development, elites, the working classes, inequality, natural resources, civil society, religious and ethnic cleavages, political culture, institutional factors, and international diffusion

     

  • GOV 390L   Latin American Politics: Theories and Methods

This graduate level course explores recent theoretical writings on Latin American politics. The aims of this course are three-fold: 1) To acquaint students with some of the most important recent analyses of Latin American politics; 2) To teach students how to design and evaluate theoretically-oriented research; and 3) To train students to carry out several types of writing assignments that political scientists are frequently required to perform. The course is divided into three sections. The first section of the course explores the determinants of Latin American political development. The second section analyzes the performance of political institutions in Latin America in recent decades. The third and final section of the course examines the causes and consequences of recent policy changes in the region.

 

 This graduate level course explores theories of ethnic and racial politics. It includes writings that examine the politics of race and ethnicity in all major regions of the world, including North America. The aims of this course are three-fold: 1) To acquaint students with the theoretical literatures on ethnic and racial politics; 2) To teach students how to design and evaluate theoretically-oriented research; and 3) To train students to carry out various types of writing assignments that political scientists are frequently required to perform.

During the first weeks of the course we  examine the meaning of race and ethnicity. We analyze what determines membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, and how fluid membership is.  We also explore different ways to measure ethnic and racial identification.  We then examine how ethnicity affects attitudes, economic development, and social mobilization. We seek to assess to what extent ethnic and racial identities shape trust and prejudice, and we will examine the impact of ethnic diversity on development and the provision of public goods. We also explore what factors lead ethnic and racial groups to mobilize politically and what the consequences of such mobilization are. In the third section of the course, we examine ethnic and racial electoral politics. What is ethnic voting and where does it occur? Why do ethnic parties thrive in some countries but not in others? What is their impact on ethnic relations and democratic governance? The final section of the course will focus on ethnic conflict. We examine what role identity, democratization, and political institutions play in provoking or mitigating ethnic conflict.


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