L.A. Pierce College

 Political Science 42, Fall 2008

Ms. Holland, hollankd@piercecollege.edu

(818) 710-4494, ext. 5265

Office Hours: MW:12:40-1pm, TTH 11-12 noon @ FO 2308, & by appt.



Course Description: To study the political, social, and historical background of Central and South America.  Special attention on the 20th and 21st century challenges facing Latin America, with a focus on Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru.


Required Texts:   

 Vanden/Prevost (VP), Politics of Latin America: the Power Game, 2nd Edition

 Skidmore/Smith (SS), Modern Latin America, 6th Edition           

Both textbooks are on the reserve shelf in the Library.


Website: All readings and extra credit assignments are found at this website address: http://www.piercecollege.edu/faculty/hollandk/ 


Recommended (any one of the following):

The Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, New York Times Time, Newsweek, La Opinion


Week 1:  Overview/Contemporary Settings: Identifying key issues impacting South and Central America.

                Readings: VP 1, SS 1


Week 2:  Colonial Legacies: From Conquest to the 20th Century.

                Readings: VP 2, SS 12


Week 3:  Colonial Legacies: From Conquest to the 20th Century, cont.

                Readings: VP 3-4


Week 4: Authoritarianism and Military Rule: Military uprising and coups, prolonged periods of military dictatorships, and rising against such rule.

                Readings:  VP 8


Week 5:  Revolutions and Counter-revolutions: assessing conditions that led to revolution or prevented revolution in the hemisphere.

                Readings: VP 9-10


Week 6:   Defining post-modern democratization within the hemisphere: including socialism, fascism, & Marxism

                Readings: VP 7


Week 7: Era of Neoliberalism: looking at the effects of neoliberal political and economic agenda promulgated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund

                Readings: SS 2


Week 8:  Gender, Ethnic, Social & Religious Movements

                Readings: None, so review for the midterm!


Week 9: Midterm Exam


Week 10:  Focus Country: Nicaragua: From Somoza Dynasty to Sandinistas to Violetta Barrios de Chamorro and the return of the Sandinistas

                Readings: VP 19


Week 11:  Focus Country: El Salvador: Stability, Insurgency, FMLN and Civil War

                Readings: SS 11


Week 12: Focus Country: Brazil: From Republicanism to Military Rule to Re-democratization

                Readings: VP 14, SS 5


Week 13:  Focus Country: Argentina: From Fascism/Peronism to Cristina Fernandez

                Readings: VP 15, SS 3


Week 14: Focus Country: Venezuela: Hugo Chavez and Neo-socialism

Happy Thanksgiving!   Term papers and extra credit are due on this Tuesday.

                Readings:  VP 17


Week 15: Chile: From Pinochet to Michelle Bachelet Jeria

                Readings: VP 16, SS 4


Week 16: Peru: Fujimori’s war against state terrorism to new democracy

                Readings: SS 6


Week 17: Final Exam: Monday, Dec 15th, 11-1 pm.


Grading Requirements:

Grades are determined by your performance on the Midterm exam (100 points), the Term Paper (100 points) and on the Final Exam (200 points). Exams are essay-only, two essays per exam, so buy your bluebooks!  There are NO make-ups for missed exams. The Comparative Essay will replace the Midterm exam, should you miss the exam. Any student caught cheating will automatically fail.


Grading Scale:

The grading scale below is absolute and not based on a curve.

Midterm/Term Paper:  A=90-100    B=80-89      C=60-79      D=50-59       F= Below 50

Final Exam:                A=180-200   B=160-179   C=120-159  D=110-119   F= Below 100

Final Grade:               A= 360-400   B=320-359  C=240-319  D=200-239   F= Below 200


Final notes:

  1. Proper etiquette requires that all cell phones and other electronic devices be turned off during class time, so please be considerate of the instructor and fellow students.

2.        The use of electronic devices, including electronic dictionaries, is strictly forbidden during exams. It is considered to be a form of cheating.

3.        Lectures may be recorded only with the permission of instructor.

4.        Textbooks need not be brought to class.

5.        Beverages (Coffee, tea, water, etc) are allowed during class, and please throw any trash into the wastebaskets.            

6.        Please be on time to class. We have a lot of material to cover in a very short (5 weeks!) amount of time. We need to maximize every moment. If you must be absent from class, get the notes from your fellow classmates. Moreover, it is okay to share, and have study groups!

  1. Extra Credit assignments are due two weeks before the Final Exam.  None will be accepted at any time after the established due date. Assignments may be turned in via Email.  However, it is the students’ responsibility to verify receipt of all emailed documents.  The Instructor is not responsible for any electronic malfunctions.



Worth 25 extra-credit points.


In order to earn those 25 points toward your final grade in Political Science 1 or 19, students are required to enroll in Service Learning 1 or Service Learning 2 with Prof. Jim Dawson*.  In doing so, students must complete the requirements of Service Learning 1 and 2 and therefore earn 1 college unit of transferable credit, and a “service learning” notation will be added to your academic record. (Remember: many four-year schools will ask to see this on your application and transcripts, and may help you get accepted!).  Proof of successful completion will result in the awarding of the 25 points at the end of the semester.


*Prof. Dawson will visit with a list of specific projects and the add slips necessary for enrollment.