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Cold War Terror and Cultures of Resistance in Latin America


N.B. Course descriptions are subject to change

Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations.


This course examines state terror and its repercussions in Latin America since the mid-20th century, focusing on Argentina and Guatemala. We will engage with major questions surrounding violence, human rights, and cultures of resistance: What explains the continent-wide wave of repression in Latin America in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s? When and why did governments choose to use extreme force against their own citizens? To what extent were other states—particularly the United States—aware of or implicated in the violence? How have ethnicity and gender shaped experiences of political violence and human rights struggles? And crucial for our time, what have societies done in the wake of extreme state terror to remember and address these histories? The course will involve an interdisciplinary exploration of the multiple ways this period of violence and terror is being unearthed and the “memory work” being done by a new generation of Latin Americans who are recovering histories of opposition and remembering their protagonists.

Course objectives

By completing the course, students will

  • Gain knowledge about state violence, human rights, and “memory work” in Argentina, Guatemala, and Latin America more broadly

  • Develop a critical view of interpretive controversies in this field and an awareness of research methodologies

  • Improve discussion skills by taking part in and leading discussion

  • Conduct independent research on a topic related to human rights and memory in Latin America

  • Be able to communicate research findings through presentations and written work


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Active participation, including leading or co-leading one discussion
Short weekly reading responses
Research presentation
Research paper


Active participation, including leading or co-leading one discussion: 20%
Short weekly reading responses: 20%
Research presentation: 10%
Research paper: 50%


If the final overall grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), students may resit the final paper. There is no opportunity to resit the other course assignments.

Reading list

Course readings will be announced on the Brightspace platform.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable