This course examines the impact of international economic integration and liberalization policies on Latin America and the Caribbean. It focuses on the social impact of globalization and the responses that these changes call forth. In the first half of the course, we look at the ways in which civil society organizations develop to meet new needs created by neoliberal policies. These organizations include new social movements, unions, producers’ cooperatives, community policing and other grassroots activities. Ironically, another form of collective action can be found in the development and spread of gangs in urban and village settings throughout the region. Thus the course will also examine pandillas and maras as a response to neoliberalism and globalization.
However, collective action is not the only response that may be stimulated by deteriorating social and economic conditions. An alternative response to neoliberalism has been accelerated international labour migration in the Americas: permanent, cyclical and temporary. Thus, the second half of the course will consider this process and the “transnationalism” that results from the international flow of capital, commodities, individuals, and whole communities.
Both types of responses are examined with respect to case studies highlighted in readings on Brazil, Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua, and Peru. However, greatest emphasis, throughout the course, will be given to the case of Mexico.
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The grade for the course will consist of:
Three short critical analyses of the readings (7 pages each)
The course consists of a weekly three hour seminar in which the assigned readings will be discussed. All students are expected to complete the required readings, think carefully about them before coming to class, and take an active part in the discussion. Generally no "oral reports" will be assigned. Instead, all seminar members will be expected to come prepared to introduce, summarize, and analyze any of the required readings upon request of the instructor.
All the readings listed below are required for the week in which they appear, except when a reading is explicitly noted as "recommended," or appears between square brackets [ ]. Books and articles listed as "recommended" can be thought of as bibliographic suggestions for future exploration.
Written Assignments will consist of three short essays. In these essays you will explore a question or questions which will serve as one of several starting points for seminar discussion on any given week. The essay must be typed (double-spaced with standard margins, standard type) and must not exceed seven pages (i.e. 1,750 words) in length. Five to six pages would be an ideal length. Please make sure to number every page and to use your computer program to provide a word count at the end of your essay.
The essay is due at 11:30 A.M. Thursday of the week in which you have chosen
to write (that is, at the beginning of class). You may prepare an essay for any week from week 2 through the end of the course. Questions will be distributed providing topics for each of those seminar meetings. However, every member of the class who plans to continue in the course should have submitted at least one essay by the 5th class meeting, a second essay by week 9, with a third due by the final class meeting.