As a systematic examination of Latin American Politics, this course has
several objectives: 1) to provide students with a basic foundation and understanding
of some of the "core" themes in contemporary Latin American
Politics; 2) to encourage students to evaluate the pertinent literature with
critical eye; and 3) to give students an appreciation of the future research
problems and priorities in the field.
This semester the course will focus on regime change, democratization and
social movements in Latin America. Given the course's seminar format,
students will be expected to discuss in class themes developed in the
assigned readings. In order for there to be a constructive discussion,
students must come to class prepared, having read assigned books or articles
with a critical eye.
In this seminar we will survey and critique some of the major classical
and contemporary theoretical approaches to the field of collective action and
social movements. We will pay particular attention to the varying approaches
taken by researchers in the disciplines of sociology and political science in
their theoretical and empirical investigations of social movements. After a
historical review of the literature, we will engage in discussion and
exploration of current issues in social movement research.
Since the course attempts to cover a great deal of theoretical ground,
readings have been chosen that are representative of particular theoretical
approaches or problems, not to give students an intimate knowledge of
different countries or movements. Readings will be drawn primarily from the United
States, Europe, and Latin America.
The aim of the seminar is three-fold: 1) to familiarize you with the
theoretical perspectives, conceptual issues/questions, and empirical research
that animate the study of social movements, 2) to stimulate further interest
in this area and the development of your own research questions, and 3) to
assist graduate students in identifying topics and data sources that may
provide the basis of their dissertation/thesis research.