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Politics Latin America


Admission requirements

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


This course provides a general introduction to Latin American politics, emphasizing the particular ways in which key actors have contributed to shape the political landscape of this region. The current political reality of Latin America is presented as the product of a complex historical process, in which all sorts of social, political, economic, cultural factors have played an important role. It particularly focuses on the conflictive nature of state-civil society relations and the interaction between political rulers, state institutions, political organizations and social actors. In short, this course tries to identify the main distinctive features of Latin American politics, stressing its achievements as well as the existing pitfalls.

1. Latin American Politics: A General Introduction (P. Silva)
2. Political Parties and Ideologies in Latin America (P. Silva)
3. Revolutionary Movements and Guerrilla Warfare (M. Carmody)
4. The Military and Politics in Latin America (M. Carmody)
5. Religion and Politics in Latin America (P. Silva)
6. Indigenous Groups and Politics in Latin America (M. Carmody)
7. Women and Politics in Latin America (M. Carmody)
8. Populism and Neo-populism in Latin America (P. Silva)
9. Neoliberalism as a Political Strategy in Latin America (P. Silva)
10. New Social Movements in Latin America (M. Carmody)
11. Narco-Politics and the State in Latin America (P. Silva)
12. 21st Century and the Politics of Discontent (M. Carmody / P. Silva)

Course objectives

This course aims to allow students to comprehend the main dynamics characterizing the Latin American political process since the 1930s until today. Students will be also introduced in the main academic debates which have dominated the discussions on Latin American politics in recent decades. Finally, students will learn why political phenomena affecting the entire region have dissimilar impacts and consequences in the different Latin American countries.


The timetable will be available on the BA International Studies website this autumn.

Mode of instruction

Lecture and tutorials

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Assessment method

  • Tutorials 30%

  • Midterm Exam 30%

  • Final Exam 40%

If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


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

Reading list

A detailed reading list (one article per lecture) will be provided to students in due course via Blackboard.


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.