SOCIAL STUDIES 295.02 (Carlos de la Torre)
Special Topic: The Resurgence of Radical Populism in Latin America. Scholars, politicians, and media pundits are debating the degree to which the regimes of Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa are democratic or authoritarian. For some these regimes are dangerous to democracy. They claim that they concentrate power in the executive, do not respect the rights of the opposition nor the independent media. Others analyze these regimes as democratic innovators. They argue that they are experimenting with novels forms of participatory and direct democracy that can correct the deficits of liberal representative democracy. This interdisciplinary course will analyze the historical relationships between democracy and populism. We will study different historical experiences and theories to explain the first wave of incorporation of common people to democracy under the classical populist regimes of Juan Perón, José María Velasco Ibarra, and Getulio Vargas. The class will also survey the surprising affinities between neoliberalism and populism under the regimes of Carlos Menem, Alberto Fujimori, Abdalá Bucaram, and Collor de Mello. We will read different analyses of the innovations and continuities with past populist experiences of Chavez, Correa, and Morales. In addition to reviewing different theories of populism, the class will explore how democracy is understood and experienced by populist followers. Prerequisite: 100 level Social Studies course.
August 26-December 9, 2010