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Party Politics in Latin America



It is difficult to think about democracy without political parties. These are organizations that serve as linkages between civil society and government; mobilize and represent their voters; recruit and train political leaders; contest elections; and organize and coordinate government. This seminar approaches democracy in Latin America through the lens of parties and party systems. We will discuss both historical and contemporary issues focusing on the current debates and theoretical discussions that have helped advance the study of political parties and party systems in the region. The seminar is designed to provide a foundation for the development of original research and innovative theoretical approaches that can contribute to the study of the region as well as comparative politics more generally.

Course objectives

By the end of this seminar students will be able to:

  • engage critically, analytically, and thoughtfully with theories in political science and scholarship of Latin American Politics.

  • discuss the most important elements of current Latin American scholarship on party politics.

  • develop clear and cogent arguments in writing.

  • Design and develop a theoretically oriented research paper.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load: 280 hours.
Seminars: 28 hours
Studying the literature: 125 hours
Preparation for the presentation, and writing of the mid-term paper and final paper: 127 hours (this includes feedback sessions)

Assessment method

Participation (10%)
Presentation / Leading discussion (20%)
Critical review (20%)
Research proposal (10%)
Final research paper (40%)


Blackboard is mainly used for organizational purposes.

Reading list



See general info on tab 'Year 3'.





The seminar does not require prior knowledge about the region. Nevertheless, active parcitipation and clear interest in getting acquainted with the region is necessary. You should be proactive throughout the block in asking questions and clarifications when needed.