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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Fall 2009

SOC 321K • Contemporary Issues in Society

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46499 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
PAR 203

Course Description

This course provides a broad introduction to present-day Latin American politics and society. During the semester, we will focus on drug-trafficking and urban destitution in Brazil, party politics, protest and collective violence in Argentina, the current political situation in Chavez's Venezuela, and migration from Central American and the Caribbean to the United States. In each case, we will study what is specific to the national histories of each country and what can be analyzed as common to the history and present reality of the sub-continent. Through a close reading of Jon Lee Andersons masterful biography of Ernesto Che Guevara, the course will also offer a general overview of revolutions and revolutionary movements and of the forms and effects of the U.S intervention in the region during the 20th century.

Grading Policy

Best four of five quizzes 25%
Oral Presentations 25%
Final exam 50%
Since the class is organized around lectures, discussions of the required readings, group presentations, and films ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY.
There will be FIVE quizzes (10 questions each) on the assigned readings. Dropping your lowest score, the sum of the remaining FOUR stands for 50% of your final grade. There will also be a final exam (10 page paper). Note on grades: If your final grade (addition of FOUR best quizzes and final) is: 100-93, then your grade is an A; 92-90, then your grade is an A --; 89-85 then you grade is a B +; 84-80 then your grade is a B; 79-76 then your grade is a C; 75-65 then your grade is a D; 64 or below is an F.


Robert Gay, Lucia, Testimonies of a Brazilian Drug Dealer's Woman
Javier Auyero, Poor People's Politics
Javier Auyero, Routine Politics and Collective Violence
Jon Lee Anderson, Che Guevara, A Revolutionary Life


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