Module Identifier IP38720  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Lucy F A Taylor  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Lecture   16 x 1 hour lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   8 x 1 hour seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Seminar performance  10%
Semester Assessment Seminar presentation (1000 words)  10%
Semester Assessment Country report (2000 words)  30%
Semester Exam2 Hours pre-seen examination  50%

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Critically evaluate the political issues most salient across the Latin American region today
2. Discuss the political, social and economic situation in a range of Latin American countries
3. Analyze the impact of detrimental phenomena (e.g. poverty, corruption) on political wellbeing
4. Assess the impact of new political actors in the region
5. Evaluate the role and significance of transnational phenomena (e.g. drugs, the environment)
6. Discuss the prospects for future political development in the region


This module adds to Departmental provision in the areas of Politics, International Politics, and the Third World. It will introduce some of the key 'hot topics' in Latin American politics over the last ten years. It will engage students with the contemporary issues which they hear about in the news media and locate those trends in a regional and recent historical context.

Brief description

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, human rights, corruption, the political left, indigenous movements, drugs and the environment.


1. Introduction
2. Understanding Latin America - politics, economics, society
Seminar: Country comparisons - contemporary data and key personalities
3. Poverty and neo-liberalism
4. The 'Piqueteros', barter clubs and the Argentine crisis of 2000
Seminar: Why is prosperity so elusive?
5. Human Rights
6. The Pinochet Case and the women of Mexico's Ciudad Juarez
Seminar: Trial and error in the search for justice
7. Corruption
8. Clientelism and corruption in Mexico
Seminar: How corruption undermines democratic society
9. Leftist options
10. Chavez in Venezuela, Lula in Brazil and Fidel in Cuba?
Seminar: Is the new leftist wave starting in Latin America?
11. Indigenous Movements
12. Evo Morales in Bolivia
Seminar: 'Indians' transform politics and the state
13. Drugs
14. Narco-politics in Colombia
Seminar: Whose drugs problem?
15. Environmental degradation
16. Amazonia, NGOs & Eco Tourism
Seminar: The future of Latin America is the future of the planet

Module Skills

Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of a report and preparation of a seminar presentation 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. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of students' ability to work alone can be undertaken.  
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for all elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.  
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication 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. This module will particularly test aural and oral communication skills as it involves an assessed presentation and assessed seminar performance.  
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. 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 (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to conduct a seminar presentation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well. Students will be obliged to reflect on their own performance in the seminars (key strengths and weaknesses measured against the published criteria) in a form which will be appended to the written version of their seminar presentation.  
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars and the convenor will encourage students to work in teams outside of them. Blackboard facilities such as the discussion board will also be used.  
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and OCLC). Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on the Blackboard VLE.  
Application of Number N/A  
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly giving presentations, listening, thinking and responding to spoken presentations. Moreover, the written work includes writing a presentation 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.  
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise 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 - Ability to evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques - Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and political problems  


This module is at CQFW Level 6