Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
plan2 masthead
Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2007

T C 357 • Democracy and Democratization in Latin America

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43375 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
CRD 007B

Course Description

In 1980 every country in South America except Colombia and Venezuela was under military rule. By the mid-1980's all countries in South America were under democratic, civilian rule. Such a massive and rapid change has generated a range of questions about how a country can change from one political system to another and how that change can become permanent. This course focuses on this transition to democracy; it concentrates on reading about on the factors that facilitate the formation and consolidation of democratic governments in Latin America. Much of the coursework will involve a careful reading of theoretical and analytical works on the subject and the development of a framework for understanding a specific case or country. The ultimate goal will be to examine the interchange between theory and case: to what extent do existing theoretical/analytical models help us understand a given case, and to what extent does the examination of a case help us to accept, reject, or modify a model? The course does not require a background in Latin American studies, and therefore we will take the first few weeks or so to bring everyone up to speed (more or less). Obviously some understanding of the region and its history or politics will be most useful, as will a reading knowledge of Spanish and/or Portuguese. Such language facility again is not required, but for research purposes, an ability at least to struggle through social science Spanish will be helpful.

About the Professor

Henry Dietz has spent most of his professional career studying Latin American politics, and has concentrated his work on the Andean countries, especially Peru. He has done research on political participation (voting, community involvement), urban politics and poverty, and civil-military relations. He has spent about 4-5 years in Peru over the past 30 years, starting with duty as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1964-66. Dietz has been given the Presidential Associates' Teaching Excellence Award twice and is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. In what passes for his spare time, he reads and writes more about Sherlock Holmes than is probably good for him or anyone else around him.

Grading Policy

This course will contain a substantial writing component.

Several written exercises will be required, both in and out of class. There will be a short paper following the first two to three weeks of the course on the introductory text (Skidmore and Smith). The major requirement for the course is a paper, which is divided into several parts: a proposal, a paper outline and tentative bibliography (20%), a first draft (30%), and a final draft (40%). In-class participation will count for the remaining 10%, and everyone will be expected to be involved in discussion.


Tentative, but texts will probably include:

Skidmore and Smith, Modern Latin America
Dahl, Polyarchy
Assorted readings in a packet


bottom border