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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Daniel M Brinks

Associate Professor Ph.D., J.D., University of Notre Dame, University of Michigan

Associate Professor, Department of Government
Daniel M Brinks

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Interests

human rights; rule of law; democracy and democratization; regimes and regime change; state building

LAS 337M • Law & Democracy Latin Amer

40910 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 204
(also listed as GOV 337M )
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Course description:

 

Subject matter of the course: This course explores many of the challenges and improvements to the rule of law across Latin America, and their connection to democracy. We will begin by examining the relationship between law and democracy, then look at a series of issues that illustrate the strength or weakness of the rule of law in the region. Rather than focusing on one country at a time or a few countries in depth, we will use events and systems in various countries as illustrations of important themes. We will also look at the possible consequences of these challenges for democracy in the region, and possible solutions.

The readings are a collection of recent research on these issues and require the students to engage critically with the readings. We will test authors’ claims against the evidence they present, challenge the logic of their arguments, and question their conclusions. To do this effectively, students must come to class prepared. We will use the quiz lotto (described below) to monitor and reward prepared class attendance.

By the end of the semester you will have acquired some basic information about Latin American legal systems, and some basic concepts about the different ways the law works in that part of the world. More importantly, however, you will have a greater understanding of what a robust democracy should look like, and where different countries fall short. You should be able to engage in a discussion about the role courts and laws do play, should play and can play in the (democratic) political systems of Latin America, and its potential for improvement. The various essays and the take home exam will help you to think about these issues and test how well you are acquiring the basic concepts and information needed.

 

Evaluation: Your grade in this course will be determined as follows:

15% each of the four essays due throughout the semester

15% your grade on the quiz lotteries

25% take home final

The quiz lottery: At the beginning of each class period, I will run the quiz lottery. The lottery has a 50% chance of generating a single question meant to determine whether you have done the reading for that day. The question should be fairly obvious if you have done the reading, but hard if you have not. If you are absent, you get a 0, if you are present but don’t know the answer, you earn a 1, if you answer accurately, you earn a 2. At the end of the semester I drop the lowest score and average the rest.

 

Required Books:

A Course Packet will be available from Jenn’s at 2200 Guadalupe. No books are required.

LAS 337M • Law & Democracy In Latin Amer

40157 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 203
(also listed as GOV 337M )
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Subject matter of the course: “Democracy and the rule of law” seem to be the prescription for what ails the developing world. But they are harder to put into practice than they at first appear. This course explores many of the challenges to the rule of law across Latin America, and how they affect the quality of democracy in the region. We begin by examining the meaning of democracy and its relationship to the rule of law. Then we look at a series of issues that illustrate the strength or weakness of the rule of law in the region. We use academic writings primarily, but also movies, news reports and statistical reports to examine topics such as violence and crime, human rights violations, judicial independence and corruption. Rather than focusing on one country at a time or a few countries in depth, we will use events and systems in various countries as illustrations of important themes. We will then look at the possible consequences of these challenges for democracy in the region, and possible solutions.

 

By the end of the course you will have acquired some basic information about Latin American legal systems and about the recent history of democracy in the region. More importantly, however, you will have a greater understanding of what a robust democracy should look like, where different countries fall short and why it might be so hard to implement the rule of law. You should be able to engage in a discussion about the role courts and laws do play, should play and can play in the (democratic) political systems of Latin America, and the possibility of improving that role. The grade is based on two quizzes and two exams and class participation – you will need to come to class prepared and you may be required to contribute to a class blog, although this is still in the planning stages. You should expect this class to be somewhat time consuming; you should also expect it to be interesting and rewarding.

LAS 381 • Law In Latin Amer: Comp View

40365 • Fall 2011
Meets TH 400pm-700pm TNH 3.125
(also listed as GOV 384N )
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description coming soon

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