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International Relations in Latin America


Credits: 4 ECTS

Second semester

Elective Courses




How do countries in Latin America relate with each other and with the rest of world? What institutional structures are used to promote regional cooperation and to participate in an increasingly interconnected world? This course engages students with the debates concerning the main dynamics of Latin American international relations, with a special focus on the contemporary period. It is designed to provide students with analytical tools and factual knowledge to understand and account for the region’s international politics and dynamics.

The course starts with a general introduction offering an analytical and historical background of Latin America, the region’s location in the global context, its regional and international politics, both from a theoretical and empirical standpoint. It then explores the changing role, power, and position of the region over time. In so doing, the course turns to the identification and assessment of the insertion strategies developed since the 1960s, their successes and failures, consequences and key reformulations, together with a critical examination of the relations of Latin America with third partners, including the United States, the European Union, and China, and the recent turn towards South-South relations and deeper cooperation initiatives.

Along the course, theoretical debates will be documented with a number of empirical case studies, while also examining the challenges and opportunities that Latin America faces in a world dominated by shifting political and economic balances and changing interaction patterns between countries and regions.


Class attendance and participation. The course comprises weekly sessions. The first hour of each session will involve a lecture to situate the week’s themes and issues within the broader context of the course and clarify concepts and arguments. The second part of the session will take the form of seminar-style group discussions, debates, and presentations on the topic. Attendance and participation are strongly encouraged. Students are expected to have read and thought about the required readings prior to each class and to make regular, informed contributions to class discussions.

Assessment details:

  • Active participation requires each student to complete the assigned readings prior to class, to contribute to class discussions building on the readings, and to act as discussant for another student’s paper presentation (Session 11). (If you encounter difficulties participating in class, please discuss these with the professor).
  • In-class presentation requires each student to be responsible for the presentation of (at least) one of the main readings. Presentation dates will be arranged in class during the first session, together with details on how to prepare it.
  • Conference presentation requires all students to present their work-in-progress papers in a final conference-like presentation at the end of term (Session 11).
  • Take-home essays require students to submit a research paper in two steps.
    • Research paper proposal. This research paper proposal will be based on a research topic that students think might be particularly interesting. The chosen topic must be relevant to the broad themes and questions covered by this course. The paper should include the chosen topic, the research question to address, together with a short outline of the project and a bibliography. It should be about 1000 words.
    • Final research paper. The final research paper should provide a well-argued and documented answer to the research question posed. The evaluation will assess understanding of the main theoretical concepts and approaches discussed throughout the course. It will also evaluate the clarity and relevance of the research question, the pertinence of the concepts and methods used, as well as the structure and presentation of the paper. It should be between 3500-4000 words, excluding bibliography.

Policies on written assignments: All written assignments should be free of spelling and grammatical errors. They must include your name, a title, page numbers, appropriate citations and bibliography. Assignments are due on the dates specified through the Campus.

Assessment criteria:

The final grade will be a weighted average of five different elements:

  • Active participation in class 15%
  • In-class presentation 20%
  • Research paper proposal 25%
  • Final research paper 40%