Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Contemporary Latin America
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  1750 Words  45%
Semester Assessment Seminar participation  10%
Semester Exam 8.5 Hours   Online Examination  1,750 words  45%
Supplementary Assessment Report in lieu of seminar participation  500 Words  10%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  1750 Words  45%
Supplementary Exam 8.5 Hours   Online Examination  1,750 words  45%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Critically evaluate the political issues most salient across the Latin American region today.

Critically analyse the political, social and economic situation in a range of Latin American countries.

Critically analyse the social dynamics that underpin inequality.

Assess and critique the impact of social actors on politics in the region.

Brief description

This module explores a number of key contemporary themes in Latin American politics and society. Following an introduction to the historical, political and social context of Latin America, students will discuss a new topic each week. Topics will focus on aspects of democracy and political relationships, development strategies, the struggle for social justice, as well as gender and the colonial legacy. We will discuss issues of relevance to domestic politics as well as regional or international dynamics.


This module will introduce some of the key 'hot topics' in Latin American politics over the last ten years. It will engage with the contemporary issues in the news media and locate those trends in a regional and recent historical context.


The module begins by introducing Latin American politics, economics and society, and then goes on to explore a number of major contemporary issues relating to poverty and social inequality, political relationships and democracy, key political movements, indigenous politics, drugs and the US-Mexico nexus.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas verbally and in writing, and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will develop skills in using the many sources of information available to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their written assessments in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from the module convenor and other students. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding how to answer assessed essay questions.
Information Technology Students will enhance their proficiency using Blackboard, where materials to support learning will be made available. Students will also develop skills in searching for, and assessing the validity of, online information sources as part of preparation for lectures, seminars and assessed tasks. Assessed work will be presented in electronic format, according to standard expectations.
Personal Development and Career planning The module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work requires students to write clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of written assignments will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research in order to complete the assessed work. This will involve utilizing a range of information sources, including core academic texts, journal articles, electronic publications, and online news sources.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualize and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module • Evaluate competing perspectives Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary social and political problems.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 6