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Elective: Latin American International Relations


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have succesfully completed the second year elective course.
The number of participants is limited to 25.


This course analyses the main dynamics of the Latin American international relations, with a focus on the last three decades. The changes in position of Latin American countries on the international scene will be studied in the different sections of the course. After a general introduction on the development of international relations in Latin America (including border conflicts), attention will be given to the foreign policies of various Latin American countries. The second part will focus on the emergence of sub-regional forms of cooperation in economic and political arenas. And the third part will deal with the relations of Latin American countries with third countries; in particular, the United States, Europe, China and south-south cooperation will be studied.

Course objectives

This course engages students with the scholarly debates concerning the development of new policies in Latin America, other forms of cooperation, and proactive actions and more independent positioning in relation to the United States and the European Union. The course also processes of regional integration in a historical context. Furthermore, students will learn about how Latin American foreign policy is shaped and see how various countries have different opportunities and aims.

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:

Oral presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.

Collaboration skills:
1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Written presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured written presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture, seminar style discussion and supervised research.

This course is organized as an elective. Critical student engagement is therefore essential for the success of the course and for the assessment of student performance.

Course Load

A brief calculation of the course load, broken down by:
Attending Lectures: 24 hours
Reading: 56 hours
Studying and writing: 200 hours
Total 10 EC: 280 hours

Assessment method

I. Engagement (multiple components): 15%
II. 3 brief papers, one on each part, due when the following part starts:
— Foreign policy: 15%: 1000 words*
— Regional integration: 15%: 1000 words*
— Relations with 3rd countries: 15%: 1000 words*
III. Final Paper: 40%: 3000 words*

  • The number of words has to be indicated on the paper and it should include everything.

Note: The maximum possible grade to be obtained for re-submission of the Final Paper is a 6.0


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

  • Gian Luca Gardini, 2012, Latin America in the 21st Century Nations, Regionalism, Globalization.
    Paperback ISBN: 9781780320885

  • Gian Luca Gardini, Peter Lambert, eds., 2011, Latin American Foreign Policies Between Ideology and Pragmatism.
    Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
    ISBN 9780230110953
    Formats Hardcover Paperback Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF)

Course readings are available in electronic format through the library website or from other online sources. Other materials will be available through the course Blackboard page.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. M.L. Wiesebron, email m.l.wiesebron@hum.leidenuniv.nl


Attending seminars is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a seminar, please inform the lecturer of the course. Being absent without notification can result in exclusion from the final essay.
Further, detailed course policies will be distributed with the syllabus at the beginning of the academic term.