Approved by Faculty Senate.

University Studies Course Approval

Department or Program: Political Science & Public Administration
Course Number: 335
Semester Hours: 3

Frequency of Offering: Once Every Year

Course Title: Latin American Political Systems

Catalog Description: This course is a study of the impact of factors such as religion, wealth, natural resources, modern ideologies, nationalism, etc. on the lives of individuals, groups and countries of Latin America and their politics.

This is an existing course previously approved by A2C2: Yes

This is a new course proposal: No

University Studies Approval is requested in: Unity and Diversity:
Multicultural Perspectives


Department Contact Person for this course Yogesh Grover 457-5415

General Course Outcomes:

As required by the approval process, the following address the four outcomes listed for Multicultural Perspectives courses and documents course content and learning activities relevant to the course outcomes:

Multicultural Perspectives

The purpose of the Multicultural Perspectives requirement in University Studies is to improve students' understanding of diversity (gender, ethnicity, race, etc.) within and between societies. Courses in this area will help students employ a multicultural perspective for examining historical events; contemporary social, economic and political issues; and artistic, literary and philosophical expressions. Courses that fulfill the Multicultural perspectives requirement must address at least three of the following outcomes:

These courses must include requirements and learning activities that promote students' abilities to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different cultures;
  2. Throughout the semester students will learn that they live in "a world of differences." Ethnocentricism is a premise we start with and which we hope to be rid of by the end of the semester. Various concepts of power, social relations, cultural interactions with genders, races and classes within nations such as that in Brazil will be uncovered. Concepts of "machismo" and "marianismo" which define the relations between men and women in Latin American countries will be investigated and understood. The struggle for power between and among the elite, the military, the Church, the poor, organized labor as in the case of Argentina will be studied. Differences in perceptions about the role of government in society will be examined. Thus a comparison of democratic and capitalist principles with statist and corporatist ideas will also be elaborated upon.

    By using a text that focuses attention upon the historical, political, social, cultural and economic backgrounds of Latin American countries in general and of individual countries specifically, the student obtains a better understanding of how these differences manifest themselves in countries like Peru, Chile, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, etc.

  3. understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas and experiences;
  4. The basic historical, political, economic, social and cultural premises of the course are laid out at the beginning of the semester. Latin American countries have gone through the same patterns of colonization and conquest, the struggle for independence and the search for political and economic stability that will allow them to take care of major economic and political problems of inflation, unemployment, terrorism and insurgency. How each nation has dealt with these historical experiences and these problems have varied as a result of the racial and class compositions of different countries. Alberto Fujimori of Peru, by taking up the cause of the indigenous populations, endeared him to the people in the early years of his rule. Juan Peron with the charm of his second wife, Eva Peron, allowed the descamisados to forget about their problems temporarily.

    The same historical events such as World War I, World War II, the Cold War will be approached in different ways by different Latin American countries depending on their alignment with the United States or the former Soviet Union. One of the books used in the course The President who Dared to Dream takes a look at the struggle of the Fujimori family as members of a minority group (the Japanese) in Peru and how these cultural differences were hindrances as well as advantages that Alberto Fujimori’s mother would make use of in raising her son and which Alberto would also capitalize on when he becomes President.

  5. understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interactions between individuals and/or groups;
  6. Throughout the semester students will be made aware of the value of understanding cultural differences. They will learn that these differences manifest themselves not only in distinctions in race or ethnicity but also in terms of gender and class. Thus in understanding the Argentina of Eva and Juan Peron’s time students will see that one of the major reasons the upper class did not accept Evita was because she came from lower class roots and was illegitimate and the reason why the military refused to support her vice-presidency was because she was a woman and was deemed incompetent despite the fact that she was able to mobilize the masses in ways they were not able to.

  7. examine different cultures through their various expressions.

Students in this course will be exposed to different expressions of culture through videos on Evita, Augusto Pinochet, Fidel Castro; novels like Santa Evita; and biographies such as The President Who Dared to Dream.

Students will also explore various manifestations of these different cultures on their own. They will prepare a PowerPoint presentation about their chosen country and deliver the presentation to the class. And some time during the semester they will be invited to the instructor’s house for dinner where they will prepare a dish from the culture that they have chosen to explore. It will be a time for discovery for the members of the class.

Guest speakers from the individual countries will also be invited should they be available for such a sharing of cultural experiences.






I. INTRODUCTION Skidmore, Prologue a-d

Goodwin, pp. 3-6, 138-160


II. THE COLONIAL EXPERIENCE Skidmore, Chapter One a-d




IV. ARGENTINA Skidmore, Chapter Three a-d

Video, "Evita"


V. CHILE Skidmore, Chapter Four a-d

Goodwin, pp. 70-73

Video: "Defeat of a Dictator"


VI. BRAZIL Skidmore, Chapter Five a-d

Goodwin, pp. 63-69, 171-178

Video: "Brazil"

Guest Speaker


VII. PERU Skidmore, Chapter Six a-d

Goodwin, pp. 85-88

Kimura, entire book

Video: "Peru"


VIII. MEXICO Skidmore, Chapter Seven a-d

Goodwin, pp. 7-16, 160-166

Video: "Mexico"

Guest Speaker


IX. CUBA Skidmore, Chapter Eight a-d

Goodwin, pp. 112-115

Video: "Fidel Castro, Maximum Leader"


X. THE CARIBBEAN Skidmore, Chapter Nine a-d

Goodwin, pp.98-133, 189-205


XI. CENTRAL AMERICA Skidmore, Chapter Ten

Goodwin, pp. 17-47, 167-168 a-d


XII. LATIN AMERICA AND THE WORLD Skidmore, Chapter Eleven a-d


XIII. THE FUTURE Skidmore, Chapter Twelve a-d



Course Syllabus


Winona State University

Department of Political Science and
Public Administration


PS PS 335 Latin American Political Systems



a. demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different cultures

b.  understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences

c. understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interactions between individuals and/or groups

d. examine different cultures through their various expressions; and/or

e. possess the skills necessary for interaction with someone from a different culture or cultural group






quizzes, group discussions, individual written assignments and projects, attitude, and class participation