Human Rights in Latin America

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Course Information
Political Science
Terms offered: 
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

This course is oriented to students who had taken at least one course (one semester) of Social Sciences: History, Economy, International Relations, Latin-American studies, Laws, Sociology, among others. And, students must have taken at least 4 semesters of Spanish classes.


Humans Rights in Chile and Latin American is a course oriented to contribute to the intercultural development of IES Abroad students in Chile through reflection, critical analysis, and debate. To achieve this goal, the course covers a range of subjects related to fundamental human’s rights during the twentieth century and the first part of the twenty-first century. This reflection is based on an interdisciplinary perspective of political science, with the purpose of achieving a global and comprehensive vision of the phenomena. In turn, students are going to understand the development of the republican history in Latin-America from the most important process which allowed the configuration of the states and its relation to fundamental human’s rights.

Attendance policy: 

Attendance and punctuality are mandatory for all IES Abroad classes, including course-related excursions. Any exams, tests, presentations, or other work missed due to student absences can only be rescheduled in cases of documented medical or family emergencies.

If a student misses more than 1.5 classes (for courses taught once a week) or 2.5 classes (for courses taught twice a week) in any course, the final grade will be reduced by one-third of a letter grade (for example, A- to B+) for every additional unexcused absence. Six absences in any course will result in a failing grade.

Punctuality: Students who are late to class will receive a .5 absence. Arriving in class more than 15 minutes late will result in 1 absence.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand general aspects of Chilean history and its relationship with human rights during the XX Century and the beginning of the XXI Century
  • Recognize the links among history, memory and democracy in the construction of societies that are more integrated and respect cultural diversity
  • Identify the principles and values that are essential to the Chilean culture and its influence in human rights development
  • Evaluate ideological tensions that happened during the XX Century as a result of the violation of human rights
Method of presentation: 
  • Readings
  • Bibliographical discussions
  • Analysis of written and audio-visual material
  • Field studies
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Reading reports - 15%
  • Analysis workshop - 15%
  • Forum in Moodle - 20%
  • Oral presentation - 20%
  • Final project - 30%

Reading reports
The objective of Reading reports is for students to acquire a general position about the compulsory readings. To achieve this, at the beginning of every class we will discuss the text in groups.  Moodle will also be used.

Analysis workshop
The Analysis Workshop’s purpose is to offer students a space to reflect on an experience that they may have in one of the places that they will visit. The analysis has to integrate compulsory readings specified by faculty, as well as documentaries and concepts learned in classes.

The Forum is an activity for students to debate about controversial and current issues. Faculty will present open questions and students will have to argue, through strong arguments and counterarguments using a constructive and rich dialogue.

Oral presentation
The Oral Presentation is a collaborative task. Faculty will assign a reading to each group, and students will respond critically to the text. The presentation has to show the outstanding aspects of the text, with the purpose of explaining the main theme of the document.

Final project
The Final Project is a summary of the course. The task is to create audiovisual material related to one subject of the course. Videos will be presented on the next-to-last class.

Complementary activity
During the course there is an option of replacing one reading report for an activity related to the theme of the text. For more information, please look at the activities plan for each class.




Unit 1 The role of memory, history and democracy in the building of a society that is more open and conciliatory to global cultural diversity.
Unit 2 Political regimes that arose in Latin American that used physical and psychological violence as a method of legitimization of a new democratic system.
Unit 3 The analysis of socio-political background that caused the institutional collapse on September 11th, 1973.
Unit 4 To learn about the main aspects of gender situations and minorities groups in Chile.
Unit 5 To learn about the main challenges of Chile and Latin America (in general) in relation to the development of human rights.
Required readings: 
  • Agger, Inger, Ph. D. y Sören Buus Jensen, M.D. Ph. D, Trauma y Cura en Situaciones de Terrorismo de Estado. Santiago de Chile: Ediciones CESOC, 1996.
  • Contardo, Oscar, Raro, Una Historia Gay de Chile, Santiago de Chile: Editorial Planeta, 2011.
  • Correa, Sofía, Historia del Siglo XX Chileno. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Sudamericana, 2001.
  • Correa, Sofía, Documentos del Siglo XX Chileno. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Sudamericana, 2001.
  • Gárate, Manuel, La Revolución Capitalista de Chile, 1973 – 2003, Santiago de Chile: Ediciones Universidad Alberto Hurtado, 2012.
  • García-Huidobro, Juan Eduardo, “Desigualdad educativa y segmentación del sistema escolar. Consideraciones a partir del caso chileno”, en: Revista Pensamiento Educativo, Vol. 40, N°1, Santiago, 2007.
  • Informe Conferencia Internacional Memorialización y Democracia: Políticas de Estado y Acción Civil. 20 y 22 de junio de 2007, Santiago de Chile.
  • Inzunza, Jorge, La construcción del derecho a la educación y la institucionalidad educativa en Chile: antecedentes para una polémica de 200 años. Santiago de Chile: OPECH, 2009.
  • Pinto, Julio (ed) Mujeres, Historia Chilena del siglo XX, Santiago de Chile: LOM Ediciones, 2010.
  • Salazar, Gabriel, Violencia Política Popular en las Grandes Alamedas. La violencia en Chile 1947 – 1987. Santiago de Chile: LOM Ediciones, 2006.
  • Universidad Diego Portales, Informe Anual sobre Derechos Humanos en Chile, Santiago de Chile, 2012.
  • Articles from El Mercurio and La Tercera.