• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Development Studies, Political Sciences, Economic History, Political Economy, Latin American Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Tracy Fenwick
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2016
    See Future Offerings

This course explores the patterns of political and economic change in modern Latin America. It begins with the rise of industrialisation, state-led development (ISI) and the emergence of populism in the 1930s-40s, the wave of military coups of the 1960s-70s, the processes of democratisation and neoliberalism of the 1980s-90s, and the regional turn to the Left plus the emergence of a post-reform agenda in the 2000s. Covering five countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela), this course will investigate the causes and consequences of populism, revolution, military authoritarian and bureaucratic authoritarian rule, democratisation, and neoliberalism. It will also consider topics such as the 'weak democracy syndrome' plus critical issues for Latin American democracy and development such a violence and insecurity, inequality, social inclusion/exclusion, popular participation, social mobilisations, and the rise of indigenous politics. The course compares a variety of theoretical approaches (modernisation, cultural, institutionalist, personal-leadership, and post-structuralist interpretations) in order to explain both change and continuity, and the differences that exist across the countries that have been chosen for in-depth analysis.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Understand the dominant patterns of political and economic change in Latin America
  2. Explain the differences in politics across the countries under study and of the contexts within which they operate.
  3. Apply and compare the concepts and theoretical approaches used to study the region and evaluate its progress.
  4. Compare and analyse complex problems of politics and development in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela through written analysis.
  5. Structure and write a policy brief or essay on a specific Latin American  development issue.

Indicative Assessment

Essay or policy brief plan of 500 words (10%) LO 3,5
Written essay or policy brief of 2,500 words (40%) LO 1,2,4,5
Final examination, 2 hours (50%) LO 1,2,3,

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
  • 39 hours of contact:
26 hours of lectures (typically one per week followed immediately by a one hour workshop)
13 hours of workshop and workshop like activities (movies, reading groups, focus groups, and in-class activities)
  • 91 hours of independent student research, reading and writing

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed12 units of 1000 level POLS courses; or permission of the convenor

Prescribed Texts

Kingstone, Peter. 2011. The Political Economy of Latin America: Reflections on Neoliberalism and Development. New York: Routledge.





Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $3054
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $4368
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3430 15 Feb 2016 26 Feb 2016 31 Mar 2016 27 May 2016 In Person N/A

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