• Class Number 2403
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Tracy Fenwick
    • AsPr Tracy Fenwick
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

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.

Required Resources

The following textbook is an ebook will is also available on 2-hour reserve at the CHIFLEY library and for purchase at the bookstore:

Kingstone, Peter. 2018.The Political Economy of Latin America: Reflections on Neoliberalism and Development. Routledge.

Key and suggested readings for each week will be available on Wattle. Additional links to relevant documentaries, news and online material will be placed from time to time. 

Some students may not be as familiar with Latin American political or economic history as others. To assist these students, a useful reference work is available at Chifley Library for two day loan:

  • Skidmore, T., Smith P.H. and J.N. Green. 2014. Modern Latin America (7th Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press. - Chifley reserve.

Some Sources for Additional Research

Leading journals and news sources on Latin America 

  • Latin American Politics and Society
  • Latin American Research Review
  • Journal of Latin American Studies
  • Comparative Political Studies
  • Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research
  • America Latina Hoy
  • Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies
  • Hispanic American Historical Review
  • Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society
  • Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (journal)
  • Comparative Political Studies (journal)
  • NACLA [North American Congress on Latin America] Report on the Americas (bi-monthly semijournal, semi-news/analysis magazine)
  • Latin American Weekly Report (weekly news brief)
  • WOLA - Washington Office on Latin America, Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

Development (and Policy) Journals

  • World Development
  • Development and Change
  • Development Policy Review
  • Third WorldQuarterly
  • Perspectives on Global Development and Technology 
  • Global Social Policy

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Marks and comments on written work submitted on time.
  • Discussions in the workshops.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

The information provided is a preliminary Class Outline. A finalised version will be available on Wattle and will be accessible after enrolling in this course. All updates, changes and further information will be uploaded on the course Wattle site and will not be updated on Programs and Courses throughout the semester. Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Course Convenor.

Please check Wattle for assessment due dates.

Additional referencing requirements:

Please use in-text citations. Formatting must be consistent throughout the text and in the bibliography at the end.

Special Consideration:

For special considerations you are responsible for applying directly via: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/specialassessment-consideration

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction: The Challenges of Democracy and Development in Latin America
2 The Politics of Development Models in the 20th Century Workshop Concept: Populism
3 Neoliberalism and Democratisation: The 1980s-90s Workshop Concept: Democracy
4 Political Projects of the Left in Latin America Workshop Concept: Ideology in Latin American
5 Case Study 1: Chile Workshop Concept: Political Participation/Social Movements
6 Case Study 2: Argentina Workshop Concept: Decentralization/Recentralization
7 Case Study 3: Mexico Workshop Concept: Subnational Authoritarianism
8 Case Study 4: Brazil Workshop Concept: Presidentialism
9 Essay Preparation Reading Week Workshop: Writing a Policy Brief or Essay in Political Science
10 The Politics of Redistribution Policy Workshop: Conditional Cash Transfers
11 Policy challenges and Potential Solutions in Latin America today Course in Review
12 Course Conclusion No Workshop

Tutorial Registration

This is a workshop class.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Research Design for an Analytical Essay or a Policy Brief 15 % 1,2,3,4,5
Analystical Research essay or policy brief 50 % 1,2,3,4,5
Online Quizzes (Weeks 2,4,6,8,10) 35 % 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Research Design for an Analytical Essay or a Policy Brief

Word limit: 500 words

The research design or policy brief plan is worth 15% of the final grade.

Submission through Turnitin is due in week 7.

The research design should outline and justify an empirical research question related to identifying and analysing the current model of economic or political development in one or more of our Latin American cases. Can you find a puzzle within your country to solve? Include a literature review about what we already know, including a list of 4 to 6 key references. Which dominant economic development models are framing your paper (ISI, Neoliberalism, Post-Neoliberalism?) Does the model being promoted that you are analysing promote economic or political stability? Social inclusion (gender, socioeconomic)? Why or why not? What is your expectation or hypothesis for your paper?

A policy brief is a different kind of writing and there are guides and examples provided on wattle.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Analystical Research essay or policy brief

Word limit: maximum 2000 words not including references for the essay, or maximum 1500 words not including references for the policy brief.

The essay or policy brief is worth 50% of the final grade.

Submission through Turnitin is due in week 12, on Friday by 23.59.

Research essay

The research paper should identify and analyse the current model of economic or political development in one or more of our Latin American cases. Using critical thinking skills, the paper should identify a puzzle, or an anomaly in the cases being analysed. Does the political and economic development model being promoted that you are analysing promote economic or political stability? Social inclusion (gender, socioeconomic)? Why or why not? The paper should have selected a clear outcome to be explained that is linked to the concepts and theories selected in the chosen case(s) that are tied to its current model/paradigm. An expectation and/or hypothesis should be explored the explain why or why not the current model is not achieving the outcome being explained.

Policy brief

For those who may be interested in working with policy and advocacy, the policy brief is a good option. This genre is mostly used by government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). As in an essay, you will need to come across as familiar with the relevant literature and present its ideas in a coherent manner. Nonetheless, a policy brief emphasises problem-solving, and the reader is for the most part interested in understanding the options that may be available to address a particular problem. 

Choose a specific policy instrument from a Latin American country, policy initiative or development program in any of the following areas: environment, development, human rights advocacy or social policy (education, health, labour, poverty and social inclusion). For the assignment, write a maximum 2500 words professional looking policy brief for a regional organisation such as CEPAL, OAS, UNASUR, CELAC, IADB, or a Latin American government, describing a real existing policy initiative, its implications, shortcomings, and its empirical outcomes (in countries, regions, provinces, or cities). Some questions to consider, should the policy be diffused to other countries, where has it worked? Should the organisation you are presenting the brief to back it technically or financially? See the guide for more detailed instructions.

How to write a policy brief: http://www.idrc.ca/EN/Resources/Tools_and_Training/Documents/how-to-write-apolicy-brief.pdf

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Online Quizzes (Weeks 2,4,6,8,10)

These short online quizzes will be used to keep students up-to-date with course readings. They will be based on each weeks reading and workshop concepts. They are worth 7% each.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be usually returned within 15 working days on wattle. If a delay is expected, students will be informed in advance.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Online Submission: Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) a submission must be through Turnitin. Assignments are submitted using Turnitin in the course Wattle site. You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

AsPr Tracy Fenwick

Research Interests

political economy, territorial and subnational politics, comparative politics and development policy (Latin America)

AsPr Tracy Fenwick

AsPr Tracy Fenwick

Research Interests

AsPr Tracy Fenwick

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions