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This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Reduced inequalities Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student has a map of the most important historical phases of political and economic development in Latin America from the Nineteenth Century to the present. The student will know the different interpretations and the different methodological approaches of the history of development and international relations in Latin America. The student is able to: - conduct a biographical research on a case study; - place it in the general context of the historiography on the subject; - report and discuss specialist essays; - write a report.

Course contents

The course aims to offer students the knowledge to be able to analyze the political and economic development and international relations of Latin America in the Contemporary age.

The course will present the principal issues in the history of development and international relations in Latin America from independence to the 21st century. Starting from the analysis of the consequences, for the Latin American area, of the Napoleonic invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, the course will analyze the International dimension of the processes of State building and - subsequently - of Nation building, the inclusion of Latin American Countries in the dynamics of the first Globalization, the consolidation of the export-led growth strategy model, the transition to mass democracies and, in some cases, the structuring of populist regimes, the definition of the ISI development model, the evolution of the Pan-American system and, then, the inter-American the diffusion of the dynamics of the cold war, the diffusion of the Washington Consensus, of forms of regional integration and, later, of nationalist movements.

The course is organised into lectures and seminars, according to the logic of the inverted classroom. Lectures (16 hours) aim to introduce students to the core tenets of the discipline. Seminars (12 hours) aim to provide occasions for in-depth discussions of class materials and exercises. Students attend 8 lectures on theoretical interpretations. In the seminar section, students are divided in two groups, each of which must attend 6 seminars. The activation of online classes will depend on the evolution of the pandemic situation.


1. Textbook: 

  • Smith, Peter H., Talons of the eagle: dynamics of U.S.-Latin American relations, Oxford University Press, 2000 (or all subsequent editions).

2. Monographic Part (alternative texts can be agreed with the teacher):

  • Brown, Jonathan C., Cuba’s Revolutionary World, Harvard University Press, 2017.
  • Calandra, Benedetta, Il corpo del Caribe, Ombre Corte, 2020.
  • Garcia-Bryce, Iñigo, Haya de la Torre and the Pursuit of Power in Twentieth-Century Peru and Latin America, University of Carolina Press, 2018.
  • Gardini, Gian Luca – Lambert, Peter (a cura di), Latin American Foreign Policies. Between Ideology and Pragmatism, Pallgrave – Macmillan, 2011.
  • Iber, Patrick, Neither Peace Nor Freedom. The Cultural Cold War in Latin America, Harvard University Press, 2015.
  • Klein, Herbert S. – Vidal Luna, Francisco, Brazil 1964-1985. The Military Regimes of Latin America in the Cold War, Yale University Press, 2017.
  • Marchesi, Aldo, Latin America’s Radical Left, Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • Mariano, Marco, L’America nell’«Occidente». Storia della dottrina Monroe (1823-1963), Carocci, 2013.
  • McPherson, Alan, The Invaded. How Latin Americans and Their allies Fought and Ended U.S. Occupations, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Ragno, Francesco Davide, Liberale o populista? Il radicalismo argentino (1930-1943), Il Mulino, 2017.
  • Rinke, Stefan, Latin America and the First World War, Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • Rupprecht, Tobias, Soviet Internationalism after Stalin. Interaction and Exchange between the USSR and Latin America during the Cold War, Cambridge University Press, 2015.
  • Sabato, Hilda, Republics of the New World. The revolutionary political experiment in the 19th-Centrury Latin America, Princeton University Press, 2018.
  • Thornton, Christy, Revolution in Development. Mexico and the Governance of the Global Economy, University of California Press, 2021.
  • Wise, Carol, Dragonomics. How Latin America Is Maximizing (or Missing Out on) China’s International Development Strategy, Yale University Press, 2020.
  • Zanatta, Loris, I sogni Imperiali di Perón. Ascesa e crollo della politica estera peronista, Libreria Universitaria, 2016.

Teaching methods

The learning organization of this course foresees the subdivision into two modules (modality Y). The first module consists of 16 hours of lectures in which the main development processes and the main dynamics of international politics in Latin America - from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present day – will be presented.

The second 12-hour module, organized in seminars, will address some relevant case studies. In the first week of the course, a list of articles and book chapters will be delivered to read before each seminar. Students are required to read the assigned texts in such a way as to be able to have an active participation in the classroom, demonstrating the knowledge and skills acquired in critical reading.

Assessment methods

For attending students, 25% of the final mark will depend on active participation during the second module seminars. For 75% of the final mark, there is an oral exam. In this, the knowledge of the fundamental notions of teaching and the skills acquired in critical analysis of such contents . will be assessed. At the same time, the ability to establish connections between the different sources (notes, manuals and monograph (s)) will be assessed. The oral exam will focus on:

  1.  the text in point 1 of the bibliography;
  2. a text among those in point 2 of the bibliography.

Non-attending students must submit a paper [max. 25,000 characters - spaces and bibliography included], on a theme agreed with the teacher. At the same time they will have to perform an oral exam which will focus on:

  1. Smith, Peter H., Talons of the eagle: dynamics of U.S.-Latin American relations, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000 [up to chap. 4, included];
  2. Brands, Hals, Latin America's Cold War, Harvard University Press, 2010;
  3. Zanatta, Loris, Fidel Castro. L’ultimo “re cattolico”, Salerno, 2019.

Teaching tools

Pc, slides, video.

Office hours

See the website of Francesco Davide Ragno

See the website of