Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Week 8: Latin America and the Global Politics of Human Rights

Latin America and the Global Politics of Human Rights: Authoritarianism, insurgency and counter-insurgency, revolution

What was the nature of the authoritarian regimes in Latin America in the late twentieth century? What was the impact on state-society relations regarding the protection of rights? What was the impact of the Cold War and the international order? What was the civil society response to the regimes and what effect did this have on the development of a Latin American tradition of human rights? How did the Transnational Solidarity Movement develop?

Primary Sources:

Guatemala: Testimonio Rigoberta Menchú, I Rigoberta (1984) Menchu, Rigoberta. I, Rigoberta Menchu : An Indian Woman in Guatemala edited by Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, Verso, 2010.

Argentina: Madres Newspaper Report 1976.

Chile: Warwick Digital Archive of the Chile Solidarity Campaign.

Core Readings:

Frenz, Helmut. "A Bishop Saving Singers: Tales of Torture in Pinochet's Chile." Dialog: A Journal of Theology, vol. 47, no. 3, Fall 2008, p. 251.

Patrick William Kelly. Sovereign Emergencies: Latin America and the Making of Global Human Rights Politics. Cambridge University Press: 2018.

Further Reading:

Greg Grandin and Gilbert Joseph, A Century of Revolution: Insurgent and Counterinsurgent Violence during Latin America’s Long Cold War. Duke, 2010.

Margaret E. Keck, and Kathryn Sikkink. Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Cornell University Press, 1998. (Chapter 3)

Kenneth Serbin, Secret dialogues : church-state relations, torture, and social justice in authoritarian Brazil. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press 2000.

Kathryn Sikkink. Mixed Signals: U.S. Human Rights Policy and Latin America. (Cornell University Press, 2011)

William Michael Schmidli, The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere: Human Rights and U.S. Cold War Policy toward Argentina (Cornell, 2013).

Steve J. Stern. Battling for Hearts and Minds: Memory Struggles in Pinochet's Chile, 1973-1988. Duke University Press, 2006.

Jessica Stites Mor (ed.) Human Rights and Transnational Solidarity in Cold War Latin America, edited by Jessica Stites Mor, University of Wisconsin Press, 2013.

Markarian, Vania. Left in Transformation : Uruguayan Exiles and the Latin American Human Rights Network, 1967 -1984, Routledge, 2005.

Jan Eckel, ‘The Rebirth of Politics from the Spirit of Morality: Explaining the Human Rights Revolution of the 1970s’ in Moyn and Eckel (eds.), The Breakthrough: Human Rights in the 1970s (U Penn: 2013), 226-260.

Some films and podcasts:

Patricio Guzmán's film series, La batalla de Chile. Chile, 1975-79.

The Official Story. Dir. Luis Puenzo. Argentina, 1985.

Machuca. Dir. Andrés Wood. Chile/ Spain, 2004.