Socialism, Capitalism and Communism in Latin America

Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Socialism, Capitalism and Communism in Latin America

  • Host University

    Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

  • Location

    Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, Chile

  • Area of Study

    Economics, International Economics, International Relations, International Studies, Latin American Studies, Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    Through historic texts, the course explores the promises and shortcomings of nation-building in Latin America; the increasing gap between the elites and the subaltern groups; the integration of the economy into the global system centered in Europe and the United States; urbanization and urban poverty; regional disparities and rural poverty; populism and popular culture; military dictatorship and repression; and contemporary prospects.


    This course aims for students to:

    1. Understand the main social, political, economic and cultural issues of Modern Latin America from a historical, social and political perspective.

    2. Develop the skills to discuss events and processes of Modern Latin America from an informed perspective concerning economical and political ideologies.

    3. Have the opportunity to examine significant primary text in Modern Latin America, and develop the skills to draw sound conclusions from various primary sources.

    4. Develop critical thinking and the capability to understand the cultural richness of societies of emergent economies in Latin America.

    5. Improve writing and oral skills by writing analytical essays and debates during the semester.


    1. Formal lectures.

    2. Class discussion on interpretive essays and major topics on Latin American cultural and social phenomena.

    3. Films, slide presentations and documentaries which present examples of Latin American cultural and social expression.

    4. Oral Presentations by the students.

    5. Field research.

    Schedule of Topics

    - Introduction.

    Key Concepts: Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Sustainable Development.

    - The Colonial Foundations 1492?1880.

    The European Context.

    Portuguese America: A different World?

    The Brazilian Path to Independence.

    The Aftermath of Independence 1830-1850.

    The Pull of the International Economy, 1850-1880.

    - The Transformation of Modern Latin America 1880-2000.

    Phase 1: Initiation of Export-Import Growth 1880-1900.

    Phase 2: Expansion of Export-Import Growth 1880-1900.

    Phase 3: Importing-Substituting Industrialization 1930-1960.

    Phase 4: Stagnation in Import-Substituting Growth, 1960-1980.

    Phase 5: Crisis, Debt, and Democracy, 1980-2000.

    - Argentina, Prosperity, Deadlock, and Change.

    The Struggle over Nationhood.

    Overview Economic Growth and Social Change.

    Rhythms of Popular Culture.

    The Political System: Consensus and Reform.

    The Military Stewardship.

    The Failure of Developmental Reformism.

    The Bureaucratic-Authoritarian Solution.

    Peronists Back in Power.

    The military Returns.

    Transition to Democracy.

    - Chile Socialism Repression and Democracy.

    Economic Growth and Social Chang.

    Politics and Parliament.

    From Instability to Popular Front.

    The Era of Party Politics.

    Socialism via Democracy?

    The Pinochet Regime.


    - Brazil: Development for Whom?

    Dom Pedro I (1822-1831).

    Dom Pedro II (1840-1889).

    The End of Empire.

    Overview: Economic Growth and Social Change.

    The First Republic 1889-1930

    Getulio Vargas and the Estado Novo.

    The Second Republic.

    Military Rule.

    The Quest for Afro-Brazilian Identity.

    From Liberalization to Redemocratization.

    Brazil?s First Working-Class President.

    - Peru: Soldiers Oligarchs and Indians.

    The Independence Period.

    The Guano Age.

    Overview: Economic Growth and Social Change.

    Oligarchic Rule.

    Leguía: The oncenio.

    The Reformist Critique.

    Flirting with Alternatives.

    Economic Liberalism and Political Vacillation.

    The Military Revolution.

    Struggles of Civilian Governments.

    Fujimori?s Illiberal Democracy.

    Perils of Politics.

    - Colombia: Discord, Civility and Violence.

    Independence and its aftermath.

    Bolivar?s Gran Colombia and Experiment Failed.

    Forming Political Parties: Liberals and Conservatives.

    Rafael Núñez and the Politics of Regeneration.

    The Loss of Panama.

    Overview: Economic Growth and Social Change.

    Conservatives, Liberals and Convivencia.

    Gaitán, Reaction and La Violencia.

    The National Front.

    Seeking Constitutional Order.

    - Mexico The Taming of a Revolution .

    Reform, Monarchy and the Resorted Republic.

    The Díaz Era: Progress at a Price.

    The Mexican Revolution.

    Institutionalizing the Revolution.

    Stability, Growth and Rigidity.

    North American Free Trade: Tequila Crisis.

    Twilight of the Technocrats?

    Dawn of a New Era.

    - Cuba: Late Colony, First Socialist State.

    Dubious Independence.

    Politics: Corruption and Decay.

    Americanization in Pre-revolutionary Cuba.

    Fidel Castro and the Making of the Revolution.

    Defining the Revolution.

    Decade of Experiment.

    Consolidating the Regime.

    The Struggle for Survival.

    - The Caribbean Colonies and Mini-states.

    The Colonial Period Conquest and Competition.

    Overview: Economic Growth and Social Change.

    Haiti: Slave Republic. Voodoo Dictatorship.

    The Dominican Republic: Unfinished Experiment.

    Panama: A nation and a Zone.

    Costa Rica: The Exceptional Democracy.

    Nicaragua: From Dynasty to Revolution.

    Honduras: The Military in Politics.

    El Salvador: From Stability to Insurgence.

    Guatemala: Reaction and Repression.

    - What Future for Latin America?

    Dimensions of Change: Demography and Economics.

    Looking Ahead: Political Responses.

    Closing the Socialist Route.

    The Prospects for Development Under Capitalism.

    What will happen to the Non European Cultures in Latin America.

    Latin America?s Contribution to the World.

    - The Transformation of Modern Latin America 1880 2000.

    Latin America has undergone a series of far-reaching economic, social and political changes since the late nineteenth century. National economies have become integrated into the global system centered in Europe and the United States, social groupings and relationships have changed, cities have burgeoned, politics have witnessed reform and Upheaval and sometimes stagnation.


    Evaluation will depend on reading tests, written essays and participation in debates as well as in-class discussions and questionnaires.

    - Four written exams, 40%

    - Three oral presentations, 20%

    - Debates and participation, 10%

    - Four Written Papers, 20%

    - Ten questionnaires based on class lectures, 10%



    - Skidmore, T. and Smith, P. (2005). Modern Latin America (5th ed.). Oxford University Press: New York.

    Complementary bibliography given in class by the professor:

    - Enríquez, L. (1997). Agrarian Reform and Class Consciousness in Nicaragua. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

    - Gonzales, M. (2002). The Mexican Revolution, 1910-1940. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

    - Malloy, J. and Thorn, R. (1971). Beyond the Revolution: Bolivia Since 1952. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

    - Paige, J. (1989). Agrarian Revolution: Social Movements and Export Agriculture in the Violence, 1750-1940. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    - Parsa, M. (2000). States, Ideologies, and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of Iran, Nicaragua and the Philippines. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    - Pérez, L. (1995). Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    - Pérez-Stabli, M. (1998). The Cuban Revolution: Origins, Course, and Legacy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    - Rivera Cusicanqui, S. (1987). Oppressed but not Defeated: Peasant Struggles Among the Aymara and Qhechwa in Bolivia, 1900-1980. New York: United Nations.

    - Roberts, P., LaFollette Araujo, K. and Bauer, P. (1978). The Capitalist Revolution in Latin America. New York: Free Press.

    - Tutino, J. (1989). From Insurrection to Revolution in Mexico: Social Bases of Agrarian Violence, 1750-1940. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

    - Vanden, H. (1991). Latin American Marxism: a bibliography. New York: Garland Pub.

    - Womack, J. (1970). Emiliano Zapata and the Mexican Revolution. New York: Vintage.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us improve the user experience. By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies.

Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.