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Latin America Today

Lecture Slides

Seminar questions:

How has the War on Drugs affected Latin America?

Why has increasing violence accompanied democratization in Latin America?

What is the civil society response to violence?


Required Reading:

Enrique Arias and Daniel Goldstein, “Introduction” in Enrique Desmond Arias and Daniel M. Goldsein (eds.) Violent Democracies Duke, 2010 [e-book at library]


For recent news stories, choose an article on gang violence, drug trafficking, and politics from either a decent US-UK publication (Guardian, Independent, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Slate, Atlantic etc), (if you speak Spanish or Portuguese) a decent Latin American or Spanish paper (El Pais, Proceso, La Jornada, Milenio) or a good blog site like borderlandbeat. Bring it in to seminar and discuss it with the class.



Alfredo Corchado, Midnight in Mexico. Penguin, 2013.

Rosa-Linda Fregoso and Cynthia Bejarano, eds. Terrorizing Women: Feminicide in the Américas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.

Elizabeth J. Friedman, and Ana Laura Rodríguez Gustá, “Welcome to the Revolution”: Promoting Generational Renewal in Argentina’s Ni Una Menos. Qualitative Sociology, 2023.

Paulina García-Del Moral. "Transforming Feminicidio: Framing, Institutionalization and Social Change" Current Sociology, 64:7, 2016, 1017-1035.

Ioan Grillo, El Narco, Bloomsbury, 2012.

Rupert Knox, "Mobilising and constraining: the dynamics of human rights discourse in two Mexican social movements", The International Journal of Human Rights, 2003: 27:4, 613-634

Mary Roldan, "Colombia: Cociane and the Miracle of Modenrity in Medellin" in Paul Gootenburg (ed.), Cocaine: Global Histories  Routledge, 1999.

Francisco E Thoumi, "Why the Illegal Psychoactive Drugs Industry Grew in Colombia" Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs (1992)

Mark Edberg, "Drug traffickers as social bandits: culture and drug trafficking in northern Mexico and the border region." Journal of Contemporary Criminology 2001;17(3):259-77

Julien Mercille, "Violent Narco-Cartels or US Hegemony" in Third World Quarterly, (2011)


Further reading

Sidney Zabludoff, "Colombian Narcotics Organizations as Business Enterprises", Transnational Organized Crime, 3.2 (1997), 20-49

Dominic Streatfeild, Cocaine: an unauthorized biography. Picador, 2013. (Chapters 9-11)

Francisco E. Thoumi, Illegal Drugs, Economy and Society in the Andes. Johns Hopkins, 2003.

Michael Taussig, Law in a Lawless Land: diary of a "limpieza" in Colombia. Chicago, 2005.

Enrique Arias, Drugs and Democracy in Rio de Janeiro, North Carolina, 2006.

Kees Koonings and Kirk Kruijt, (eds.) Fractured Cities: Social Exclusion, Urban Violence and Contested Spaces in Latin America. Zed Books, 2006.