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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 politics, with a special focus on the contemporary period.

The course starts with a general introduction to the historical background of Latin America, and the development of international relations thinking in the region. It then explores the changing role, power, and position of Latin America 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 and the European Union, and the recent turn towards South-South relations and deeper cooperation initiatives with countries like China and India.

Along the course, theoretical debates will be documented with several empirical case studies to understand and account for Latin America’s regional and international politics, while also examining the challenges and opportunities the region 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 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).
  • Final paper requires students tosubmit a research paper in two steps.

    • Paper proposal. The paper proposal will be based on a research topic of interest to the students, and relevant to the broad themes covered by the course. The paper proposal should introduce the chosen topic (research question), together with a short outline of the project and a bibliography of at least five scholarly articles, book chapters or books you have already read and reviewed. It should be about 800-1000 words, excluding bibliography
    • Final paper. The final paper should provide a well-argued and documented answer to the research question posed in the paper proposal. 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 3000-3500 words, excluding bibliography.

Assessment criteria:

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

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

Competences, learning outcomes and teaching activities (PDF)