Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Kurt Weyland


ProfessorPh.D., Stanford University

Mike Hogg Professor in Liberal Arts, Department of Government
Kurt Weyland

Contact

Interests


Democratization; diffusion; social policy; populism; bounded rationality; market reform

Courses


LAS 337M • Intnatl Politics Latin Amer

39665 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm MEZ B0.306
(also listed as GOV 337M)

Kurt Weyland

 

 

GOV 337M/LAS 337 – unique 37925/39665: International Politics of Latin America

 

Course description:

 

This course will analyze Latin America’s international relations in a wide-ranging, theoretically informed perspective. The first week will introduce a variety of theoretical approaches to this topic. For a few weeks thereafter, the course will examine U.S. policy toward Latin America, starting with the long list of U.S. interventions during the twentieth century (before and during the Cold War); we will focus on emblematic cases, such as Mexico (1910s), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1959 ff), Chile (1970-73), Grenada (1983) & Panama (1989). We will then analyze how U.S. – Latin American relations have changed with the end of the Cold War. Thereafter, the course will investigate the impact of economic structures and forces on the region’s international position and influence; in particular, what have the repercussions of Latin America’s “economic dependency” been, and how has international economic integration (e.g., NAFTA) changed the region’s insertion into the international economic and political system? Finally, the last third of the course will discuss a variety of new issues that have arisen on Latin America’s international agenda, such as democracy and human rights; international migration; drugs and (other) international criminal activities; and the protection of the environment and of indigenous populations. How have the U.S. and Latin America dealt with all of these novel issues, and how do we need to adjust our theoretical frameworks to account for these new developments?

 

 

Grading:

 

1 six to seven page essay paper about questions distributed by the instructor; midterm and final examinations; 2 quizzes about the readings. Strict attendance rule & policy. Rigorous enforcement of scholastic honesty norms.

 

 

Texts:

 

Michael Grow, U.S. Presidents and Latin American Interventions. University Press of Kansas, paperback edition, 2012.

 

Robert Pastor, Exiting the Whirlpool. Westview Press, 2001.

 

Russell Crandall, The United States and Latin America after the Cold War. Cambridge University Press, 2008.

 

Coursepack with xeroxed journal articles and book chapters

 

Pls. note: The readings will amount to about 100 pp. of material per week.

LAS 337M • Intnatl Politics Latin Amer

40915 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm MEZ B0.306
(also listed as GOV 337M)

 Course description:

 This course will analyze Latin America’s international relations in a wide-ranging, theoretically informed perspective. The first week will introduce a variety of theoretical approaches to this topic. For a few weeks thereafter, the course will examine U.S. policy toward Latin America, starting with the long list of U.S. interventions during the twentieth century (before and during the Cold War). We will then analyze how U.S. – Latin American relations have changed with the end of the Cold War. Thereafter, the course will investigate the impact of economic structures and forces on the region’s international position and influence; in particular, what have the repercussions of Latin America’s “economic dependency” been, and how has international economic integration (e.g., NAFTA) changed the region’s insertion into the international economic and political system? Finally, the last third of the course will discuss a variety of new issues that have arisen on Latin America’s international agenda, such as democracy and human rights; international migration; drugs and (other) international criminal activities; and the protection of the environment and of indigenous populations. How have the U.S. and Latin America dealt with all of these novel issues, and how do we need to adjust our theoretical frameworks to account for these new developments?

 

 Grading:

 1 six to seven page essay paper about questions distributed by the instructor; midterm and final examinations; 2 quizzes about the readings. Strict attendance policy. Rigorous enforcement of scholastic honesty norms.

 

 Texts:

 

Michael Grow, U.S. Presidents and Latin American Interventions. University Press of Kansas, paperback edition, 2012.

 

Robert Pastor, Exiting the Whirlpool. Westview Press, 2001.

 

Russell Crandall, The United States and Latin America after the Cold War. Cambridge University Press, 2008.

 

Coursepack with xeroxed journal articles and book chapters

 

The readings will amount to about 100 pp. of material per week.

LAS 337M • Intnatl Politics Of Latin Amer

40385 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm MEZ B0.306
(also listed as GOV 337M)

Course Description:

This course will analyze Latin America’s international relations in a wide-ranging, theoretically informed perspective. The first week will introduce a variety of theoretical approaches to this topic. For a few weeks thereafter, the course will examine U.S. policy toward Latin America, starting with the long list of U.S. interventions during the twentieth century (before and during the Cold War). We will then analyze how U.S. – Latin American relations have changed with the end of the Cold War. Thereafter, the course will investigate the impact of economic structures and forces on the region’s international position and influence; in particular, what have the repercussions of Latin America’s “economic dependency” been, and how has international economic integration (e.g.,, NAFTA) changed the region’s insertion into the international economy and political system? Finally, the last third of the course will discuss a variety of new issues that have arisen on Latin America’s international agenda, such as democracy and human rights; international migration; drugs and (other) international criminal activities; and the protection of the environment and of indigenous populations. How have the U.S. and Latin America dealt with all of these novel issues, and how do we need to adjust our theoretical frameworks to account for these new developments?

 

Grading Policy:

1 six to seven page essay paper about questions distributed by the instructor; midterm and final examinations; 2 quizzes about the readings. Strict attendance policy. Rigorous enforcement of scholastic honesty norms.

 

Texts:

Michael Grow, U.S. Presidents and Latin American Interventions. University Press of Kansas, paperback edition, 2012.

Robert Pastor, Exiting the Whirlpool. Westview Press, 2001.

Russell Crandall, The United States and Latin America after the Cold War. Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Coursepack with xeroxed journal articles and book chapters

The readings will amount to about 100 pp. of material per wee

LAS 337M • Intnatl Politics Of Latin Amer

40215 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 300pm-400pm WAG 214
(also listed as GOV 337M)

Course description:

This course will analyze Latin America’s international relations in a wide-ranging perspective. The first week will introduce a variety of theoretical approaches to this topic. For a few weeks thereafter, the course will examine U.S. policy toward Latin America, starting with the long list of U.S. interventions during the twentieth century (before and during the Cold War). We will then analyze how U.S. – Latin American relations have changed with the end of the Cold War. Thereafter, the course will investigate the impact of economic structures and forces on the region’s international position and influence; in particular, what have the repercussions of Latin America’s “economic dependency” been, and how has the wave of market-oriented reforms changed the region’s insertion into the international economy and political system? Finally, the last third of the course will discuss a variety of new issues that have arisen on Latin America’s international agenda, such as democracy and human rights; international migration; drugs and (other) international criminal activities; and the protection of the environment and of indigenous populations. How have the U.S. and Latin America dealt with all of these novel issues, and how do we need to adjust our theoretical frameworks to account for these new developments?

Grading:

1 six to seven page essay paper about questions distributed by the instructor; midterm and final examinations; 2 quizzes about the readings. Strict attendance policy. Rigorous enforcement of scholastic honesty norms.

Texts:

Michael Grow, U.S. Presidents and Latin American Interventions. University Press of Kansas, 2008.

Robert Pastor, Exiting the Whirlpool. Westview Press, 2001.

Russell Crandall, The United States and Latin America after the Cold War. Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Coursepack with xeroxed journal articles and book chapters

The readings will amount to 80-100 pp. of material per week.

LAS 337M • Intnatl Politics Of Latin Amer

40530 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm BUR 134
(also listed as GOV 337M)

Course description:This course will analyze Latin America’s international relations in a wide-ranging perspective. The first week will introduce a variety of theoretical approaches to this topic. For a few weeks thereafter, the course will examine U.S. policy toward Latin America, starting with the long list of U.S. interventions during the twentieth century (before and during the Cold War). We will then analyze how U.S. – Latin American relations have changed with the end of the Cold War. Thereafter, the course will investigate the impact of economic structures and forces on the region’s international position and influence; in particular, what have the repercussions of Latin America’s “economic dependency” been, and how has the wave of market-oriented reforms changed the region’s insertion into the international economy and political system? Finally, the last third of the course will discuss a variety of new issues that have arisen on Latin America’s international agenda, such as democracy and human rights; international migration; drugs and (other) international criminal activities; and the protection of the environment and of indigenous populations. How have the U.S. and Latin America dealt with all of these novel issues, and how do we need to adjust our theoretical frameworks to account for these new developments?Grading:1 six to seven page essay paper about questions distributed by the instructor; midterm and final examinations; 2 quizzes about the readings. Strict attendance policy. Rigorous enforcement of scholastic honesty norms.Texts:Michael Grow, U.S. Presidents and Latin American Interventions. University Press of Kansas, 2008.Robert Pastor, Exiting the Whirlpool. Westview Press, 2001.Russell Crandall, The United States and Latin America after the Cold War. Cambridge University Press, 2008. Coursepack with xeroxed journal articles and book chaptersThe readings will amount to 80-100 pp. of material per week.

Articles


Latin America’s Authoritarian Drift: The Threat from the Populist Left

Abstract:

Democracy has been on the defensive in contemporary Latin America; under the cover of progressive rhetoric, competitive authoritarianism has emerged. Leftist leaders like Hugo Chávez relied on populism to establish their political hegemony, erode institutional checks and balances, marginalize the opposition through discriminatory legalism, and severely skew political competition. Left-wing populism has done more damage to democracy than the rightist, neoliberal populism of the 1990s. Self-styled socialist leaders command more solid, durable support, use growing economic interventionism to boost their power, invoke nationalism as a shield against foreign democracy promotion, and act as a coordinated group in suffocating democracy.


The Arab Spring: Why the Surprising Similarities with the Revolutionary Wave of 1848?

Abstract:

Prominent scholars have highlighted important similarities between the Arab Spring of 2011 and the “revolutions” of 1848: Both waves of contention swept with dramatic speed across whole regions, but ended up yielding rather limited advances toward political liberalism and democracy. I seek to uncover the causal mechanisms that help account for these striking parallels. Drawing on my recent analysis of 1848, I argue that contention spread so quickly because many people in a wide range of countries drew rash inferences from the downfall of Tunisia's dictator. Applying cognitive heuristics that psychologists have documented, they overrated the significance of the Tunisian success, overestimated the similarities with the political situation in their own country, and jumped to the conclusion that they could successfully challenge their own autocrats. This precipitation prompted protests in many settings that actually were much less propitious; therefore problems abounded. Cognitive shortcuts held such sway because Arab societies were weakly organized and repressed and thus lacked leaders from whom common people could take authoritative cues. The decision whether to engage in emulative contention fell to ordinary citizens, who—due to limited information access and scarce experience—were especially susceptible to the simple inferences suggested by cognitive heuristics.


The Diffusion of Regime Contention in European Democratization, 1830-1940

Abstract:

This article goes beyond the established literature’s focus on domestic conditions by examining the impact of external impulses on European democratization from 1830 to 1940. Specifically, it analyzes the diffusion of regime conflict that arose from the cross-national spread of situational judgments about the feasibility of political change: Striking precedents of regime collapse, such as the overthrow of French kings in 1830 and 1848, tended to produce dramatic waves of political contention across Europe. But because the actual distribution of power in polities that experienced such externally stimulated episodes of regime contention often differed from the front-runner, these conflicts produced various types of results. The article distinguishes four outcomes of diffusion, namely (a) successful replication, (b) preemptive reform, (c) abortive replication, and (d) blockage of replication efforts. The latter two outcomes help explain why in European history, not only did political liberalism and democracy diffuse, but during certain time periods authoritarianism, corporatism, and fascism spread as well.


The Logic of the Tenure Decision:In Dubio Contra “Reum”

Abstract:

Since tenure decisions concern the award of an employment guarantee, the burden of proof ought to rest on the candidate; in cases of doubt, the vote should be negative. However, a number of corrosive tendencies often weaken the strict application of this principle. To counteract these tendencies, this article advocates a strategy of pre- commitment to fairly objective standards and reliance on the professional judgments of a variety of anonymous outside experts, as reflected in a candidate’s success in the double- blind peer review process.


The Diffusion of Revolution: ‘1848’ in Europe and Latin America

Abstract:

What accounts for the spread of political protest and contention across countries? Analyzing the wildfire of attempted revolutions in 1848, the present article assesses four causal mechanisms for explaining diffusion, namely external pressure from a great power (such as revolutionary France after 1789); the promotion of new norms and values—such as liberalism and democracy—by more advanced countries; rational learning from successful contention in other nations; or boundedly rational, potentially distorted inferences from select foreign experiences. The patterns in which revolutionary contention spread and eyewitness reports from all sides of the ensuing conflicts suggest that bounded rationality played a crucial role: cognitive heuristics that deviate from fully rational procedures drew attention to some experiences but not others and induced both challengers and defenders of the established order to draw rash conclusions from these experiences, particularly the French monarchy's fall in February 1848. My study also shows, however, that other factors made important contributions, for instance by preparing the ground for the wave of regime contention.


Toward a New Theory of Institutional Change

Abstract:

Going beyond historical and rational choice institutionalism, this article elaborates the core of a new theory that can account for the discontinuous, disproportionate, and frequently wavelike nature of institutional change. Cognitive-psychological findings on shifts in actors' propensity for assuming risk help explain why periods of institutional stasis can be followed by dramatic breakthroughs as actors eventually respond to a growing problem load with efforts at bold transformation. And insights on boundedly rational learning explain why solutions to these problems often occur as emulation of other countries' innovations and experiences. The new approach, which elucidates both the demand and the supply side of institutional change, is illustrated through an analysis of the transformation of developmental states, welfare states, and political regimes.


Theories of Policy Diffusion Lessons from Latin American Pension Reform

Abstract:

What accounts for the waves of policy diffusion that increasingly sweep across regions of the world? Why do many diverse countries adopt similar changes? Focusing on the spread of Chilean-style pension privatization in Latin America, this article assesses the relative merit of four theoretical explanations that scholars of diffusion have proposed. As the principal mechanism driving innovations' spread, these approaches emphasize external pressures, emanating especially from international financial institutions; the quest for symbolic or normative legitimacy; rational learning and cost-benefit calculation; and cognitive heuristics, respectively. The article assesses which one of these frameworks can best account for the three distinctive features of diffusion, namely its wavelike temporal pattern; its geographical clustering; and the spread of similarity amid diversity. While several approaches contribute to understanding policy diffusion, the analysis suggests that the cognitive-psychological framework offers a particularly persuasive account of the spread of pension reform.


You Might Not Be Ready for Promotion

Preview:

Who wouldn’t like more salary and higher status? Understandably, then, it is tempting for academics to bid for promotion as soon as the opportunity seems to arise. Associate professors who have been at that rank for a few years are often eager to become full members of the academic guild. How nice it would be to reach the top of the career ladder soon.

The problem is that human beings tend to overestimate their capabilities and accomplishments. That’s why large majorities of survey respondents rate themselves as above-average drivers, spouses, and parents. Academics are not exempt from that tendency: We often have exaggerated views of our own qualities and contributions.

 

Curriculum Vitae


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  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    SRH 1.310
    2300 Red River Street D0800
    Austin, Texas 78712