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History: Latin America


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


This course provides a general introduction to Latin America, emphasizing both the similarities as well as the main socio-economic, political and cultural differences existing between the various Latin American countries. Several key topics and debates about the Latin American development are analyzed from an interdisciplinary perspective. Hence, contributions coming from history, anthropology, sociology of development, economy and political science will be included in the overall analysis. The current developmental problems of this region are not studied in a static manner, but as being the result of complex historical processes, in which all kinds of social, political, economic and cultural factors have played a role in the course of time. In addition to the analysis of endogenous factors, particular attention will be given to foreign influences.

1. Geographic and Cultural dimensions of Latin America

  1. The Spanish and Brazilian Colonial Rule: Features and Legacy

  2. Nation-Building during the 19th Century

  3. The 1930 Depression and Inward-Oriented Development

  4. Development and Underdevelopment in Latin America

  5. The Rural-Urban Divide in Latin America

  6. Women and gender relations in Latin America

  7. The Evolution of US-Latin American relations

  8. Military Regimes and Societal Reactions

  9. The New Social Movements in Latin America

  10. Democratization and Neo-liberalism in the 1980s

  11. Neo-populism and the ‘Pink Tide’ since the 1990s

Course objectives

This course aims to allow students to acquire new insights about the main socio-economic, political and cultural processes that are currently taking place in Latin America, from a long-term historical perspective. In addition, students will be introduced in the main academic debates which have dominated the discussions on Latin American development in recent decades. Finally, students will learn to look at a specific historical event making use of a series of analytical instruments coming from several academic disciplines.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week, four tutorials spread out over the semester.

Assessment method

One essay (30%), a midterm and a final exam (together 70%)


Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Benjamin Keen and Keith Haynes (2012), A History of Latin America. Belmont CA: Wadsworth (ninth edition) ISBN-10: 1133050506 ISBN-13: 9781133050506


Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable