Geography 330 Latin America: Landscapes of Change
Course Description and Goals
This course explores the geography of Latin America through examination of pressing issues facing the region as a whole, and which play out differently across its various nations. We will examine the transformation of Latin America through processes of globalization and neo-liberalization; processes of rural and urban change; gender and race relations; and transformations of political and civil society. These issues will be illustrated by case studies drawn from Central America, the Andean countries, the Southern Cone, and Brazil. Course structure and analytical method is built around an examination of the operation of economic, political, and social processes at international, national, and local scales in order to understand the interconnections of processes across analytical scales. The course also involves either a service-learning option or a research paper.
Gwynne, R. and C. Kay. 1999. Latin America Transformed. Globalization and Modernity. New York: Arnold.
Readings packet of articles at the Rams Copy and Print and on reserve in Odegaard Undergraduate Library.
I have two broad learning goals for this course. The first is to focus critical attention on the ways in which Southern nations are represented, and on how the current development crisis in the region is understood in North America. The second goal is for students to learn a political-economy analysis of Latin American development, which provides a set of tools for rethinking dominant narratives about Latin American development.
1) Students are expected to attend all lectures and to participate in class discussions -- worth 10% of the total grade.
2) There is a take-home midterm exam worth 30% of the total grade.
3) Students may opt for one of the following to earn 40% of the total grade. For either option, the grade is broken down into one graded exercise(10%); an in-class group presentation (10%); and a paper handed in at the end of the quarter (20%).
a) Community service of between 2-3 hours per week during the quarter (9 weeks). Students will work in small groups in class to discuss the experience and to prepare for their paper and presentation. The paper will be 6-8 pages in length. Students will volunteer with an organization that works with Latin American people in Seattle, or with an organization that works with low income people that are experiencing challenges that parallel those in Latin America. Further details to follow.
b) A case study of one Latin American country in which issues addressed in class are investigated through library research and empirical data to demonstrate how these issues operate in historical and geographic context. This case study will involve a 10 to 15 page paper . Students who opt for the case study will submit a 4 page proposal and bibliography in the 7th week of class (see class schedule).
4) The in-class final exam is worth 20% of the total grade.
Week #/Date Activity/Evaluation
Week #5, Wed May 1st Takehome midterm out
Week #6, Mon May 6th Midterm handed in
Week #7, Mon May 13th Paper proposal handed in
Week #9, Mon May 27th No class – memorial day
Week #10, Wed May 5th Final paper handed in
Finals Week, Mon May 10th Final exam – 8:30 - 10:20am.
i) Setting the stage: introduction to the political-economy of the Americas. (Mon April 1st – Wed April 3rd)
Gwynne, R. and C. Kay. 1999. Latin America Transformed. Globalization and Modernity. New York: Arnold, chapter 1
Bromley, R. and R. Bromley. 1988. South American Development. Chapter 2.
The course examines contemporary Latin America, and the transformations of economy, society and politics that have occurred in the twentieth century. In this introduction, I outline the contemporary geography of Latin America through consideration of a series of global and continental issues facing the region as a whole -- which play out differently across its various nations. We will examine the transformation of Latin America through processes of globalization and neo-liberalization; processes of rural and urban change; gender and race relations; and transformations of political and civil society.
ii) Latin America in the world economy: from protectionism to neo-liberalism (Mon Apr 8th – Wed Apr 17th)
Gwynne, R. and C. Kay. 1999. Latin America Transformed. Globalization and Modernity. New York: Arnold, chapters 4 and 5.
Green, D. 1999. Silent Revolution, chapters 1, 3 and 4.
Canak, W. Lost Promises. Boulder: Westview Press, 1989, chapter 1 'Debt, Austerity, and Latin America in the New International Division of Labor'.
2001. The Policy Roots of Economic Crisis and Poverty SAPRIN Executive Summary.
NACLA Report on the Americas, 1999. ‘Global Finance in the Americas. Wealth and Poverty Revisited.
Smith, W., C. Acuna, E. Gamarra. 1994. Latin American Political Economy in the Age of Neo-Liberal Reform. Chapter 1.
This section of the course begins by situating Latin America within the world economy. We trace the position and role of Latin America in the world economy with a focus on recent dynamics. Attention will be devoted to Latin America's role in the international division of labor, the role of transnational capital, and the current situation of indebtedness, economic crisis and the move to neo-liberalism within the region.
Helpful Resources for your work:
Veltmeyer, H. and J. Petras. The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America. 2000.
Stallings, B. and R. Kaufman. Debt and Democracy in Latin America. Boulder: Westview Press, 1989.
George, S. A Fate Worse than Debt. New York: Grove Wiedenfield, 1988.
Griffith-Jones, S. and O. Sunkel. Debt and Development Crisis in Latin America. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986.
Armstrong, W. and T. McGee. Theatres of Accumulation. London: Methuen. Chapters detailing overall framework and case study on Cuenca, 1985.
Walton, J. 'Debt, Protest and the State in Latin America' in S. Eckstein, ed., Power and Popular Protest. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1989.
iii) Agrarian systems and environmental change in Latin America (Mon Apr 22nd – Wed May 1st)
Jose Alas Lecture – El Salvador, Peace and Sustainability
Santiago’s Story; Kayapo or Profit and Loss-- video
Gwynne, R. and C. Kay. 1999. Latin America Transformed. Globalization and Modernity. New York: Arnold. Chapters 6 and 11.
Foundation for Self-Sufficiency in Central America. Summer 2001 Newsletter ‘Rebuilding El Salvador with Solidarity’.
NACLA Report on the Americas. 1994. Rural Latin America. Wrestling with the Global Economy.
Hecht, S. and A. Cockburn. 1989. The Fate of the Forest, chapters 6 and 7.
Here we will dicuss processes of economic transition and transformation in agricultural and environmental systems. We will discuss the current status of this transition in various countries and explain the differences that we find in terms of i) country resource bases, ii) political and social forces prompting the maintanence or transformation of farming systems, iii) the role of primary products in national and international markets. Connections will be made between current economic crisis and a renewed emphasis upon agricultural and primary sector exports in certain countries as a strategy to earn foreign exchange and service the debt. We will also examine the impacts of the role of the primary sector in terms of social classes, income distribution, gender, and ethnicity to more fully understand resultant social and economic transformations.
Helpful Resources for your work:
De Janvry, A. The Agrarian Question. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981.
Goodman, D. and M. Redclift. From Peasant to Proletarian. Capitalist Development and Agrarian Transitions. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1981.
Grindle, M. 'The Response to Austerity: Political and Economic Strategies of Mexico's Rural Poor' in W.Canak, ed., Lost Promises. Boulder: Westview Press, 1989.
Deere, Carmen Diana. 'Rural Women and Agrarian Reform in Peru, Chile and Cuba' chapter 10 in J. Nash and H. Safa. Women and Change in Latin America. South Hadley, Mass.: Bergin and Garvey, 1986.
Ugarteche, O. 2000. The False Dilemma.
Flora, Cornelia Butler and Blas Santos. 'Women in Farming Systems in Latin America' chapter 11 in J. Nash and H. Safa. Women and Change in Latin America. South Hadley, Mass.: Bergin and Garvey, 1986. or another case study
iv) Migration, urbanization and work (Mon May 6th -- Wed May 15th)
The Border Video – Mexico/US
Gwynne, R. and C. Kay. 1999. Latin America Transformed. Globalization and Modernity. New York: Arnold. Chapters 10 and 12.
Fernandez-Kelly, M.P. For We Are Sold: I and My People. Albany: S.U.N.Y. Press, 1983, chapter 2 'The Border Industrialization Program'.
Chant, S. 1992. Gender and Migration in Developing Countries, chapter 2.
Lawson, V. 1995. ‘Beyond the Firm’ Society and Space.
We will explore the structure of Latin American urban economies in this section. The employment forms generated by both national and international capital will be examined in order to understand and compare processes operating and intersecting across geographic scales. The form and nature of both formal and informal employment in industrialization, service, and commerce sectors will be explored. We will also examine informality and current debates over its potential and actual contribution to resolving pressing economic ills in the face of economic and political crisis in several countries. In the selection of case studies and in the discussion of various employment forms in Latin American cities, we will note the particular positions and roles of women and ethnic minorities.
Helpful Resources for your work:
Lomintz, L. 'The Social and Economic Organization of a Mexican Shanty Town' chapter 14 in J. Gugler, ed. The Urbanization of the Third World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cravey, A. 1998. Women and Work in Mexico’s Maquiladoras.
Beneria, L. and S. Feldman. 1992. Unequal Burden: Economic Crises, Persistent Poverty, and Women's Work. Boulder: Westview Press.
Birkbeck, C. 1979. 'Garbage, Industry, and the "vultures" of Cali, Colombia' chapter 8 in R. Bromley and C. Gerry, eds., Casual Work and Poverty in Third World Cities. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Moser, C. 'Mobilization is women's work: struggles for infrastructure in Guayaquil, Ecuador' chapter 8 in C. Moser and L. Peake eds., Women, Human Settlements and Housing. London: Tavistock Publications, 1987.
Bolles, L. 'Kitchens Hit by Priorities: Employed Working Class Jamaican Women Confront the IMF' in J. Nash and M.P. Fernandez-Kelly, eds., Women, Men, and the International Division of Labor. Albany: S.U.N.Y. Press, 1983.
Berlin, M. 'The Formation of an Ethnic Group: Colombian Female Workers in Venezuela' in J. Nash and M.P. Fernandez-Kelly, eds., Women, Men, and the International Division of Labor. Albany: S.U.N.Y. Press, 1983.
Beneria, L. 1989. 'Subcontracting and Employment Dynamics in Mexico City' in A. Portes, M. Castells, and L. Benton., eds. The Informal Economy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Portes, A., M. Castells, and L. Benton. The Informal Economy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.
Gilbert, A. Latin America. London: Routeledge. Chapter on the economy of the city, 1990.
Handleman, H. 'The Role of the State in Housing the Urban Poor' chapter 15 in Patton, C. Spontaneous Shelter. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988.
v) Civil society, difference and politics in a globalized world (Mon May 20th -- Wed May 29th)
Remarkable Images Video – Ecuador
Magda Ortega to speak
Gwynne, R. and C. Kay. 1999. Latin America Transformed. Globalization and Modernity. New York: Arnold. Chapter 9.
Chapter from Kim Van Eyck’s dissertation on gender and labor unions in Colombia.
Schirmer, J. 1993. ‘The seeking of truth and gendering of conciousness’ Viva.
NACLA Report on the Americas. 2000. ‘Adelante! The New Rural Activism in the Americas’
This section examines connections between debt crisis, austerity, fiscal crisis of the state, and the emergence of new political voices and actors. The strengthening or weakening of popular movements in recent decades, the types of issues around which they are organizing (i.e. gender, ethnicity, community issues), and their relations with the state all will be examined. These sessions will interrogate the extent to which social movements are in response to international, national, and/or local pressures and problems facing particular countries.
Helpful Resources for your work:
Houtart, F. and F. Polet. 2000. The Other Davos. The Globalization of Resistance to the World Economic System.
NACLA Report on the Americas, 1996. ‘Gaining Ground. The Indigenous Movement in Latin America’.
Castells, M. 'Squatters and Politics in Latin America: A Comparative Analysis of Urban Social Movements in Chile, Peru, and Mexico' in H. Safa ed., Towards a Political Economy of Urbanization in Third World Countries. Delhi: Oxford University Press. 1982.
Dalla Costa, M. and G. Dalla Costa. 1995. Paying the Price. Women and the politics of international economic strategy.
Marchand, M. and A. Runyan. 2000. Gender and Global Restructuring: Sightings, Sites, and Resistances.
vii) Class Presentations (Mon June 3rd -- Wed June 5th)