Syllabus Tech/Dev in Latin America 2021

This is my syllabus for the course GTD 508: Tech/Dev in Latin America. This course is an elective class in the Global Technology and Development Program in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

It´s important to consider that all the materials in this course are in English, as well as designed for asynchronous learning, with weekly deadlines. Students get direct supervision of me during all the 7 weeks of the course, but not a direct synchronous conversation is expected or required.

As design principles, I looked to balance different kinds of media, offer parity on the gender and location from the authors. For that reason, I´m relying on multimedia sources(videos, images, maps) with scholarly blogs, magazines, papers, and books and allowing selection in topics with case studies. I tried to make each week 3–5 papers/book chapters, 2–3 videos, one map, and one interview in relation to the week.

Other than that, I´m happy to get your questions for any of my decisions or material in this course. (That is happening between January and February 2021)

Latin America is a world region that appears to be soaked in politics, it breathes politics, it eats politics, it dies from politics.” Hebe Vessuri (2020)

Course Description:

This course focuses on the vast region known as Latin America, stretching from the Mexican border, a mere half day’s drive from ASU, to Cape Horn, not far from Antarctica, considering the main development trends and issues in the region. The intent of this course is to provide a panoramic view of the region, focusing on historical and current patterns in political and socio-economic development, while giving students the opportunity to apply theories and concepts from GTD core classes.

These concepts and frameworks include colonial legacies, income inequality and uneven development, resource extraction and sustainable development, social stratification, authoritarianism, democratization, and the effects of globalization and the information economy. We will also take a look at relations between Latin America and the United States, as this relationship has, at times, significantly impacted political and economic development in the region.

The course is designed for graduate students in the Global Technology and Development program, challenging you to apply theories and concepts from core graduate seminars in this regionally focused course. The course may also be taken by graduate students in other disciplines with an interest in the region. Each student will have the opportunity to focus on a single country within Latin America and follow its current political and economic trends and issues and analyze its development priorities and policymaking. At the end of the course, students should have a more detailed knowledge of a single country, a general understanding of a sub-region (Central, Andes, etc.), and an overall perspective on the entire region of Latin America in terms of the complexity of development, histories, and futures.

Course Objectives and Outcomes:

In this course participants will:

  • Identify the significant historical trends and events that have shaped the region, especially politically, scientifically, and economically.
  • Evaluate how the region is being affected by the current era of globalization and its relations with the rest of the world economy, particularly the United States.
  • Compare and appraise current political, socioeconomic, and technological development and change while applying relevant theories and concepts.
  • Write a policy critique, analyzing science and/or technology policy for a selected country, evaluating the strategy in light of development priorities for the region

Required Book: John Charles Chasteen (2016). Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America. W.W. Norton.


Assignments Points.

Each assignment will be having a certain amount of points, between 10 to 80 points. Every week you will have 2 to 3 assignments, which can be a discussion post, writing a paper, or completing one research task about the country that you selected at the beginning of the course. The total score of the course is 400 points to get full credit for the class.

A) Discussion Board (DB)

Regarding all online discussions, proper online etiquette should be observed at all times. Please observe traditional grammatical rules in your postings — i.e., capital letters where necessary and full spelled out words and phrases. In general, discussion board posts should be 200 to 700 words, unless other is indicated.

The criteria for grading your class discussion board participation include the following:

  • Posting insightful comments that reflect an understanding of the course material and prompt on-topic discussion.
  • Writing comments that reflect complete thoughts and ideas that are clearly articulated.
  • Clarifying, synthesizing, or asking insightful questions to another student’s comments.
  • If disagreeing with other students’ ideas, the participant states his/her disagreement or objections clearly, yet respectfully.
  • Cite all sources.
  • Respond to at least one other participant’s post with a reflection, question, or clarification.

B) Country Research (CR)

Each student will choose a country in the region at the beginning of the course, on a first ask, first-serve basis. The countries must be in the Latin American geopolitical region; depending on the size of the class there may be more than one student working in a country, but the idea is to have wide regional coverage.

Every week at least one assignment will be dedicated to exploring dimensions of its history, culture, development, current affairs, and/or futures of that country. Be attentive to which assignment is related to your own country. You must answer in reference to that country, and no other. Nevertheless, it´s expected that you also comment on the contribution of 1 classmate.

Once a country is chosen good news sources should be found to follow events in the country, as well as the government website to begin the search for the technology/science policy (see Policy Paper above). A focus on this chosen country will also impact some of the discussion assignments with participants reporting on their countries.

C) Policy Paper (PP)

This is a brief paper, approximately 2500 to 3000 words, double-spaced, that examines the government’s science/technology policy from your selected nation-state in the region and analyzes its relevance to development. How broad or specific this policy is will depend on the country and your interest areas, as well as whether it addresses just a technological policy or controversy or overall science and technology state of the art.

The week that you must submit the policy paper at the end of week 6. You will be asked to submit a 300 words summary and 5 references on week 3, as well as any other consultation that you have with the instructor.

The goal is to briefly assess how the country conceptualizes and potentially implements technological/scientific solutions, and what potential outcomes might be, both positive and negative for social, economic, and/or environmental development. Sources that can be used are government reports and websites that post policy, but some academic research and analysis articles will be expected, too.

Take into consideration that you might need to consult materials that aren´t in English, in particular, if you focus on current local issues. Consider between 7 to 10 references to write this piece, and you must add at least 1 reference from a scholar from that country working in a national institution or university. (That resource may be in English, Spanish or Portuguese, as well can be an interview, report in which contributed, academic paper, or another respectable reference). This one resource will be requested by the week 3 summary.

The paper must summarize facts and ideas, and direct quotes of sentences and phrases cited within the text, as well as have a list of sources at the end (I recommend using APA style format, but if you´re more conformable with another referencing style, please let me know by week 3 in your initial submission).

The paper should have a title that indicates or hints at the central problem or thesis, and must cover the following elements: *background to the problem — this would include history, going only as far back as necessary to explain the current issue, author´s thesis (your way to analyzing the issue and sources), the main perspectives and sides in play, potential solutions that the people is implementing or considering, and a strong and short conclusion in which the student provides an analysis of the issue. Ask the instructor if you have any questions about any of these assignments.

Schedule of Topics, Activities, and Goals for every week.

(Note: All the syllabus is subject to change, and in the process to be improved over time to make a memorable and positive experience for all students). Each week there are 3–5 readings, a map exploration, and some short videos to explore, in addition to one assignment for each module, and the policy paper across all the course.

Week 0. Introductions (A bit early, as well week 1)

A. Share a video with your introduction! (Forum),

B. Comment on interest, expectations, and experience in Latin America

C. Answer a 10-question quiz about Latin America (non-graded)

D. Select a country to study in deep during the course.

Week 1: January 11–18: I. Latin America Today!

1. Geographies of Latam: Place and Time

Paul Barby (2017) Geography Now (30 min approx) South America explained; the Caribbean Explained

Map Analysis: Google map of the physical geography of Latin America.

2. The development of Latin America: An overview

Bértola, L., & Ocampo, J. A. (2012). The economic development of Latin America since independence. OUP Oxford. Ch.1. Latin America in the World Economy, 1810–2010 p. 1–47

3. What does it mean to be Latin American?

Galeano (1971) Introduction: 120 Million Children in the Eye of the Hurricane. In Open Veins of Latin America.

Introduction. Medina, E., Marques, I. D. C., Holmes, C., & Cueto, M. (2014). Beyond imported magic: essays on Science. Technology, and Society in Latin America. Cambridge: MIT Press.

4. Video-Guest: Geographer, Matthew Toro (Map & Geospatial hub, ASU)

Week 2: January 18–25: II. Latin America Origins (Before 1800)

1. Indigenous population in The Americas

Map Analysis: Explore, with attention in your country,

Project 68 Voices / Explore and watch 5 videos from

Optional: If you want more context, check their web

2. Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English Conquest

*Read Chasteen, Born in Blood and Fire, Introduction and Chapters 2–3 (Encounter, Colonial Crucible)

3. Common elements from Imperial times, and colonial legacies.

Castillo, Lina (2018) Colonial legacies in Latin America.

Miguel, V. V. R. (2009). Colonialism and Underdevelopment in Latin America. Political Affairs. Marxism Fresh Daily.

Optional: Mahoney, J. (2003). Long-run development and the legacy of colonialism in Spanish America. American Journal of Sociology, 109(1), 50–106.

Optional: Roberts, N. (2004). Colonialism & Its Legacies: New Directions in Contemporary Political Theory. Philosophia Africana: Analysis of Philosophy and Issues in Africa and the Black Diaspora, 7(2), 89–97.

4. Video- guest: Local and/or Indigenous activist (Peru´s organization)

The Battle of San Lorenzo

Week 3: January 25 — February 1: III. Forge the nations: XIX Century (1800–1900)

1. Independency process of Latin America

Latin American Revolutions: Crash Course World History #31 (2012) (12 min)

Pick 1:

a) Salgado, P. (2020). Agency and geopolitics: Brazilian formal independence and the problem of Eurocentrism in international historical sociology. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 33(3), 432–451.

b) Joao Paulo Pimenta (2016) Brazilian Independence: Change and Continuity Oxford Latin American History

2. Border reconfigurations, common histories: South Cone, Andean Region, La Gran Colombia, Mexico, Central America, The Caribbean and Brazil

Johnny Harris (2020) How the US stole Mexico (15 min)

AlternativeHistoryHub (2020) What if Great Colombia never colapsed? (12 min)

Map Analysis: Evolution of borders of South America

Optional: Selections from Holden, R. H., & Zolov, E. (2000). Latin America and the United States. A Documentary.

3. Interdependencies: Institutional, Revolutionary and modernist processes.

Chasteen, Born in Blood and Fire, Introduction and Chapters 4 and 5 (Postcolonial blues, Progress)

Pick 1:

a) Wolfe, M. D. (2019). The Climate of Conflict: Politico-environmental Press Coverage and the Eruption of the Mexican Revolution, 1907–1911. Hispanic American Historical Review, 99(3), 467–499.

b) Font, M. A. (1987). Coffee planters, politics, and development in Brazil. Latin American Research Review, 22(3), 69–90.

c) Lamrani, S. (2016). Women in Cuba: The Emancipatory Revolution. International Journal of Cuban Studies, 8(1), 109–116.

4. Video-Guest: Historian (TBD)

(You must submit a 300-word summary and 5 references for your policy paper)

Getulio Vargas

Week 4: February 1–8 IV. Early XX Century (1900–1940)

  1. Early Century Changes: Populism and Neo-colonialism

*Chasteen, Born in Blood and Fire, Introduction and Chapters 6–7 (Neocolonialism, Nationalism)

Watch Populism in Latin America — Interview to the Professor María Esperanza Casullo (2018)

2. Industrial development in Latam

Vincent Ferraro, “Dependency Theory: An Introduction,” in The Development Economics Reader, ed. Giorgio Secondi (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 58–64

Miller, N. (2020, November 16) How Latin America Reimagined Classical Economics. Boston Review.

3. Extractive Economies: Mining, Fishing, Agriculture

Barandiarán, J., & Walsh, C. (2017). Production/destruction in Latin America. Journal of Political Ecology, 24(1), 716–725.

Map Analysis: Environmental Justice Atlas

Pick 1:

a) Bebbington, A., & Humphreys Bebbington, D. (2011). An Andean avatar: Post-neoliberal and neoliberal strategies for securing the unobtainable. New Political Economy, 16(1), 131–145.

b) Thorpe, A., & Bennett, E. (2001). Globalisation and the sustainability of world fisheries: a view from Latin America. Marine Resource Economics, 16(2), 143–164.

c) Bebbington, A. J., Sauls, L. A., Rosa, H., Fash, B., & Bebbington, D. H. (2018). Conflicts over extractivist policy and the forest frontier in Central America. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies/Revista Europea de Estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe, (106), 103–132.

4. Video-Guest: Artist or Art Historian (TBD)

The Economist, Partnerships and its obstacles (image by Peter Schrank)

Week 5: February 8–15: V. The Big Brother: The US-Latin America Relations (1940–1980)

1. Ideological processes between the US and Latin America

Zanchetta, B. (2016). Between Cold War Imperatives and State-Sponsored Terrorism: The United States and “Operation Condor”. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 39(12), 1084–1102.

Watch Adam Westbrook (2015) Bananas, Sardine, and Sharks (9 min)

Watch How U.S. Involvement In Central America Led To a Border Crisis| AJ+ (2018)

Finally, pick one in between of Tyrants and dictators — Manuel Noriega (44 min) or Operacion Condor (22 min)

2. Science, Technology and Memory during the Cold War

Sagasti, F. R. (1973). Underdevelopment, science, and technology: the point of view of the underdeveloped countries. Science Studies, 3(1), 47–59.

Watch Hebe Vessuri (2014) “The Role of Science in the Ideology of Five Models of Latin American Modernity”

Then, Pick 1:

a) Smith, L. A. (2016). Identifying democracy: Citizenship, DNA, and identity in postdictatorship Argentina. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 41(6), 1037–1062.

b) Alcañiz, I. (2010). Bureaucratic networks and government spending: a network analysis of nuclear cooperation in Latin America. Latin American Research Review, 148–172.

c) Bernasconi, O., Lira, E., & Ruiz, M. (2019). Political Technologies of Memory: Uses and Appropriations of Artefacts that Register and Denounce State Violence. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 13(1), 7–29.

d) Araya, A. L. (2019). The politics of dispossession in the Honduran palm oil industry: a case study of the Bajo Aguán. Journal of Rural Studies, 71, 134–143.

Map Analysis: Explore your country in the Atlas of Economic Complexity

3. Video-Guest: Scientist/Engineer/SciPol Practioner

World Economic Forum

Week 6: February 15–22: VI. Contemporary Latin American Development (1980–2020)

1. Recent Ideological transformations: Debt-Crisis and Post-neoliberalism

Luis Alberto Moreno (2021) Latin America´s Lost Decades. Foreign Affairs

Watch, Latin America: Preventing a second lost decade

Chasteen, Born in Blood and Fire, Introduction and Chapters 11 (Beyond Neoliberalism)

Ruckert, A., Macdonald, L., & Proulx, K. R. (2017). Post-neoliberalism in Latin America: a conceptual review. Third World Quarterly, 38(7), 1583–1602.

2. Development agendas now: ICT4D, Water, Migration and Climate Change Adaptation

Executive Summary CEPAL, N. (2019). Latin American Economic Outlook 2019: Development in transition. p 21–39

Pick 1:

a) Rajão, Raoni, and Camilla Marcolino. “Between Indians and “cowboys”: the role of ICT in the management of contradictory self-images and the production of carbon credits in the Brazilian Amazon.” Journal of Information Technology 31.4 (2016): 347–357.

b) de Paula, N., Pereira, W., & Parmentier, M. J. (2019). How an Innovative Sugarcane Biofuel System Can Prevent a Clash between Food and Energy in Brazil. Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 21(01)

c) Beilin, Katarzyna Olga, and Sainath Suryanarayanan. “The War between Amaranth and Soy: Interspecies Resistance to Transgenic Soy Agriculture in Argentina.” Environmental Humanities 9.2 (2017): 204–229

d) Ames, M. G. (2014). 10 Translating Magic: The Charisma of One Laptop per Child’s XO Laptop in Paraguay. Beyond imported magic: Essays on science, technology, and society in Latin America, 207–224

e) Kwasinski, A., Andrade, F., Castro-Sitiriche, M. J., & O’Neill-Carrillo, E. (2019). Hurricane maria's effects on Puerto Rico electric power infrastructure. IEEE Power and Energy Technology Systems Journal, 6(1), 85–94.

f) Albornoz, M. B., & Pérez Ones, I. (2020). Researching public policy in the making: the Ecuadorian Law of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society, 3(1), 107–124.

Extra: List of Dev projects in the region

ECLAC — Development Projects (Links to an external site.)

International Development Group — Latin America (Links to an external site.)

World Bank — Latin America (Links to an external site.)

Ford Foundation — Mexico and Central America (Links to an external site.)

Ford Foundation — Andean Region (Links to an external site.)

HAC (Humanitarian Activities Committee) IEEE Case Studies (Links to an external site.)

IEEE HAC Region 9 (Latin America) (Links to an external site.)

In addition, some interesting projects to explore

KiX Hub in Latin America (Canada, Education)

3. Video-Guest: Sociologist/Anthropologist/Developmentist

(Your policy paper must be submitted this week)

Stefania Tejada, for Noema Magazine

Week 7: February 22 — March 1: Latin American Futures (2020-beyond)

1. Latin American identities and inequities

Indigenous Latin America in 21st century (2016) (3 min)

Maria Amparo Cruz Saco (2018) Indigenous communities and social inclusion in Latin America

Székely, M., & Mendoza, P. (2015). Is the decline in inequality in Latin America here to stay? Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 16(3), 397–419.

Optional: Watch Why Anime in Latin America was… Different (and Better) — As Told by Cristal | Get In The Robot (2019)

2. Latin America´s dreams

Watch Hyper-reality (2015) by Keiichi Matsuda

Jose Maria Tortosa (2019) Maldevelopment; Marisela Svampa (2019) The Latin American critique to development. In Kothari, A., Salleh, A., Escobar, A., Demaria, F., & Acosta, A. (Eds.). (2019). Pluriverse: A post-development dictionary. Tulika Books and Authorsupfront p.9–12, 18–22

Souza, N. M. F. D. (2019). When the body speaks (to) the political: Feminist activism in Latin America and the quest for alternative democratic futures. Contexto Internacional, 41(1), 89–112.

3. Which futures will Latin America create?

Blauvelt, A (2020) Defuturing the image of the future. Walker

Myers, M. (2021) China´s quiet play for Latin America. Noema

And, a draft manuscript about Latin American Futures/Antifutures by myself.

4. Guest: Futurist

[After this, are all the university policies, but these aren´t relevant for this open version of this syllabus. If you want to know more, you can write to me directly to Marciano Martín via mail, Twitter or any other source.]

土 龍 Oscilando desde 1988 / Oscilating since 1988