Introduction Course: Democracy, Identity and Sustainable Development in Latin America

Course lecturer: Prof. Dr. Barbara Hogenboom
Period: 3 September - 26 October
Schedule: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday at 13.00-15.00
Course load: 12 EC
Course ID: 180410002Y

This course introduces key subjects and approaches in contemporary Latin American Studies. The objective of this course is to provide students with a strong fundamental of academic perspectives. The course is built around the different disciplines and the research and research orientations within CEDLA. It provides students both with new knowledge on Latin America and the different – especially disciplinary - perspectives and methods to study the continent. The course is built around important texts which are read and discussed in the different weeks.

The Thesis Course 1 is meant to prepare you for conducting research in Latin America. This course will focus on how to elaborate a research proposal, how to use some research methods and how to write a thesis. The course is divided into four modules. The first module (Research Proposal) deals with basic theoretical foundation of multidisciplinary research and how to write a research proposal. Special attention will be given to how to identify a research issue and elaborate a research question. The second module (Methods and Analysis) covers different research methods from various social science disciplines. Both qualitative and quantitative methods will be presented and discussed in order to help each student to design a proper methodological strategy to answer the research question. The third module (Academic Writing) provides you with a general explanation on academic writing both in terms of content (e.g., argumentation, coherence, empiricism) and form (e.g., format, editing, referencing). Finally, the last module (Getting Ready to Go) addresses practical aspects of conducting fieldwork in Latin America such as arranging accommodation, building up local network, dealing with cultural differences, and being aware of safety issues.
The course starts immediately after the CMP Introduction Course. During the Research Proposal module, classes take place every other week in order to give the student more time to develop their research ideas and formulate their research question with support from your supervisor. This module will end in December with a session where each student will present his/her research idea to the group and staff members. Between January and February, the classes take place weekly and run parallel with individual supervision of writing of the research proposal. During this period, the second and third modules will address relevant methods and information for the elaboration of the research proposal along with assigned exercises. At the end of the third module, a seminar will be held where all students will present the first version of their research proposal to the group and staff members. The fourth module will address logistical issues related to the preparation of the field trip and conduct during fieldwork.

Form of instruction and assessment
Each class combines content-theoretical segment and skills-learning segment in which practical issues of the research proposal are discussed. Supporting literature is required for some classes.
Each week has different types of assignments and forms of examination. The weekly assignments will be marked by the teacher. The mark and feedback will be based on the content and conclusions of the assignment (in relation to what was asked), the composition and the (academic) style of writing.
The examination will take place in week 8 (the last week of this course). It will consist of questions covering the contents of the literature and teaching material of the relevant weeks.

For the examination dates please consult the timetable on
Click here for the course description in the UvA Studiegids.

In the first week the students read Arnold Bauer, Goods,power,history: Latin America’s material culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). In the following weeks (parts of) books and articles are read, for instance George Phillip & Francisco Panizza, The Triumph of Politics. The Return of the Left in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011); David V. Carruthers (ed.). Environmental Justice in Latin America: Problems, Promise, and Practice (MIT Press 2008); James Holston, Insurgent Citizenship. Disjunctions of Democracy and Modernity in Brazil (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008). The full reading list will be made available two months in advance.

Some general knowledge on (or from) Latin America, acquired in a BA programme, minor or courses. In addition, the ability to also read a few academic articles in Spanish.

Registration and Participation

This course primarily serves as the introduction to CEDLA Master's Programme (CMP) Latin American Studies. Some students from other programmes and non-students may also be accepted as participant in this full time course. They are however required to write a motivation letter, explaining why they want to participate and confirming their availability to attend all the meetings and tasks. Send the letter no later than 15 August to the course coordinator (first come, first serve), Barbara Hogenboom: Information about course registration can be found here.

UvA Students
Students registered at the University of Amsterdam can register for the CEDLA courses through SIS.

Students registered at other Dutch universities
BA students that are registered at another Dutch university can register as a guest student Spanish Language and Culture (‘bijvakstudent Spaanse Taal en Cultuur’) at the University of Amsterdam in Studielink.

MA students that are registered at another Dutch university can register through our digital registration form.

Persons who are interested in our courses, but are not registered as students at a university, may participate in some courses under certain provisions. Those interested, should provide the secretariat with some information on their background, their background knowledge and their special interest in taking the course. Non-students can register for the courses through our digital registration form

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the CEDLA secretariat. We are open on weekdays from 9.00 to 17.00 hours.

Telephone: +31 20 525 3498

Fotografia (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) & Katie Wheeler (CC BY-NC 2.0)