2017-2018 Catalog

POLS 295 Topics in Politics

Topics in Politics.

Politics and Political Economy of Mexico and Latin America. This seminar is a survey of theoretical approaches and contemporary issues in the politics and political economy of Mexico and Latin America, focusing particularly on political history and change, government institutions and electoral politics, political economy of development, and public policy challenges in the context of globalization. The course is divided in three sections: 1) the first section provides an overview of the politics and political economy of Latin American development focusing on the history of Latin American colonization and independence, state formation, economic underdevelopment and development policies, political culture, authoritarianism and democracy, political institutions and electoral politics, democratic consolidation and neo-liberal politics, socialist revolutions, and contemporary challenges from the political left to neo-liberal development policies; 2) the second section examines closely the politics and political economy of Mexico, paying particular attention to political change, economic development, market reforms and social inequality, globalization and North American regional integration and trade, and the politics of social movements and interest groups representing indigenous people, women, business and labor; and 3) the third, and final, section addresses the historical and contemporary cultural bonds and socio-economic conflicts which shape U.S-Mexico political relations, and the public policy challenges confronting the U.S-Mexico border region. Several major public policy challenges are examined: border urbanization, economic development and labor conditions; environmental degradation; drug trafficking, undocumented immigration, violence and citizen security. We conclude the seminar by exploring the possible future of U.S-Mexico and U.S-Latin America relations in light of contemporary political and economic challenges. By the end of this course, students will be able to understand and analyze Latin American politics and political economy, contemporary Mexican politics and economic development, and the most pressing public policy issues in U.S-Mexico relations. In addition, students will be well-prepared to undertake advanced coursework in comparative politics and public policy, comparative political economy of developing countries, and the politics of inter-American affairs.


4 units