BA Politics and Modern History / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
The Politics of Business in Latin America

Unit code SPLA31092
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Spanish, Portuguese and Latin
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This unit will familiarise students with some of the key issues at stake in the politics of Latin American business from the end of the nineteenth century until the present. It will be constructed around a series of case studies taken from across the region that address, among other things, foreign interests in Latin America, dependency theory, and the impact of globalisation in the region. Introducing students to debates about the social impact of state-led business strategies and about how informal economies engage with and function outside formal structures, the unit will encourage students to reflect on a range of historical processes that offer an insight into the way that Latin America is positioned in global affairs.

Aims

This unit will familiarise students with key topics in the politics of business in Latin America from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. It will highlight trends in Latin American business politics by drawing comparisons between specific case studies taken from across the region. By the end of the course, students will be in a position to reflect on the social impact of political decisions about Latin American business both at the national, regional and global level.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • communicate familiarly with key topics in the politics of business in Latin America from the end of the nineteenth century to the present
  • Identify and understand trends in Latin American business politics by drawing comparisons between specific case studies
  • understand the social impact of political decisions about Latin American business both at the national, regional and global level

Syllabus

The unit will be taught via a number of topic areas that will then be supplemented by in-depth analysis of relevant case studies via selected readings. The following is a list of topics and case studies that are indicative of the material to be addressed on the unit:

  • Tourism (Case study: Machu Picchu)
  • British Investments in Latin America (Case study: Chilean Nitrate/Peruvian Rubber)
  • US Investments in Latin America (Case study: Fordlandia)
  • Dependency Theory (Case Study: Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe [CEPAL])
  • Neoliberalism and its Discontents (NAFTA, Maquiladoras, Zapatistas)
  • Nation Branding, Urban Branding (Case Study: Marca Peru/Buenos Aires)
  • Neo-Extractivism (Case Study: Amazon)
  • Economic Migrants (Case Study: Latinos in the US)

Teaching and learning methods

3 hours per week (1 x 1 hr lecture, 1 x 2 hr seminar)

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • communicate knowledge of major moments in the politics of business in Latin America from the end of the nineteenth century to the present
  • identify and understand the diversity of political standpoints taken by different groups in relation to the implementation of business strategies in Latin America and their impact on society
  • determine the benefits and drawbacks of different political strategies in relation to Latin American business and society

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • synthesise historical trends and draw comparisons between different historical and political contexts
  • describe the main trends in the political debates surrounding diverse forms of business in Latin America
  • engage critically with primary and secondary sources that discuss a range of business forms in Latin America and the politics that accompany them

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • communicate ideas in written form
  • to deploy effective research strategies
  • to work in groups and present a collective piece of work
  • where appropriate, to read primary texts in Spanish/Portuguese with greater confidence

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • independent, analytical and critical thinking
  • written communication skills
  • oral skills
  • interpersonal skills and ability to work in groups
  • research skills into a range of sources, histories and theories

Employability skills

Other
The unit will be useful for students intending to pursue a career in business after graduation. It will also be useful for those thinking of working in Latin America or with organisations that have ties to the region. The analytical and political content of the unit mean that it will also be excellent preparation for postgraduate study.

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Length

Weighting within unit

Essay 1

Group Presentation

Essay 2

1,500 words

c.20m per group of 4 students

3,000 words

25%

25%

50%

 

Feedback methods

·           oral feedback during seminar discussions

·           written feedback on essay drafts/plans

·           written feedback on the essays themselves

·           additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

  • Cardoso, F. H., ‘Dependency and Development in Latin America’, in The Globalization and Development Reader: Perspectives on Development and Global Change, ed. by Roberts and Hite (Malden, Mass.; Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), pp.115-125.
  • Ferna¿ndez-Kelly, Mari¿a Patricia, and Jon Shefner (eds), Out of the Shadows: Political Action and the Informal Economy in Latin America (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State UP, 2006)
  • Grandin, Greg. Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City. (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2009)
  • Green, Duncan, Silent Revolution: The Rise and Crisis of Market Economics in Latin America (London; New York: Latin America Bureau; Monthly Review Press, 2003), chapters 1-4.
  • Marca Perú, www.peru.info
  • Miller, Rory, Britain and Latin America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (London: Longman, 1993)
  • Romero, Mary, Maid in the USA (New York; London: Routledge 1992)
  • Vellinga, Menno, ‘Some Observations on Changing Business Forms of Organisation in the Colombian Cocaine Trade’, Global Crime, 8:3 (2007), 233-259.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
James Scorer Unit coordinator
Ignacio Aguilo Unit coordinator

Additional notes

SCHEDULED ACTIVITY HOURS

  • two weekly office hours
  • additional office hours for individual feedback (to be scheduled)
  • assessment related activities: compiling a bibliography; researching relevant books and journal articles in the library

ADDITIONAL NOTES

The language of instruction and assessment for this unit will be English. All primary materials will be available in English, though students with Spanish and/or Portuguese will be encouraged to use appropriate sources in those languages where appropriate.

 

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