Fall 2022

Market Democracy in LA

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-336


Javier Corrales (Section 01)


This is an introduction to the study of modern Latin American politics. The overriding question is: why have democracy and self-sustained prosperity been so difficult to accomplish in the region We begin by examining different definitions of democracy. Thereafter, we discuss three democracy-related themes in Latin America.

First, we focus on explaining similarities, specifically, common historical and institutional legacies that might have hindered democratic and economic development in the region. The second part of the course focuses on explaining differences. Despite similar historical legacies, the countries of the region developed different political systems after World War II. Some countries became democratic while others did not. We examine hypotheses to explain these differences. The third part of the course examines major democratic and undemocratic trends since the 2000s: current problems of democracy, the return of statism and populism, the difficulty of creating accountability, abuses by majorities and abuses by minorities, re-electionism, extractivism, the rise of religious conservatism and LGBT rights, diasporas, drugs and crime.

Language of instruction: Classes will be conducted in English. Students wishing this course to count for their Spanish major will work mostly with materials in Spanish and write all their assignments in Spanish.

Requisite: For Political Science majors, at least one POSC course (200 level or above). For Spanish majors, Spanish proficiency at advanced low (as per ACTFL standards) is required.

Limited to 30 students. Fall semester. Professor Corrales.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority first given to fourth-year Political Science majors, then to a balance of first-years, sophomores, and juniors, randomly determined, followed by 5-college students.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Emphasis written work, readings, independent research, oral presentations, group work.

POSC 336 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM SCCE E108
Th 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM SCCE E108

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
​The Political Economy of Latin America - 2nd edition ​Routledge ​Peter Kingstone Amherst Books TBD
​Dragon in the Tropics: Venezuela and the Legacy of Hugo Chavez ​Brookings Institution Press ​Javier Corrales and Michael Penfold Amherst Books TBD
​Fixing Democracy: Why Constitutional Change Often Fails to Enhance Democracy in Latin America ​Oxford University Press Javier Corrales Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Fall 2022, Fall 2024