Not available in 2015/16
The Cold War in Latin America

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible



This course is available on the MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in History of International Relations, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia) and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This seminar is designed to introduce students to new historical approaches to the Cold War in Latin America. It responds to new research and debates that have arisen in recent years regarding the meaning of the Cold War in a Latin American context, its origins, who its protagonists were, the extent to which the superpowers were involved, and its significance at a local, regional, and global level. It also places particular emphasis on the role of ideas and ideological struggles; the intersection between these ideas and the challenges of modernity and economic development; the causes of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary upheaval; the manifestations of violence and its effects; and the cultural Cold War. Students will be especially encouraged to explore the intra-regional and transnational dynamics of the Cold War in Latin America. They will study how events in one part of Latin America (for example, the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, the Cuban Revolution, the Brazilian and Chilean coups of 1964 and the Central American crisis in the 1980s) impacted upon people and events in other areas of region. However, the seminar will also devote three weeks to looking at Latin America’s experience of the Cold War from a global comparative perspective and exploring its experience in contrast to other parts of the Third World. Although the seminar will mostly involve intensive reading and discussion of secondary sources, students will also be encouraged to reflect on new online archival material, published writings of principal thinkers and oral histories as a means of understanding related key concepts and ideas.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 4 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students are required to write one 3,000 word formative essay in the Michaelmas Term and one formative discussion post at the beginning of the year.

Indicative reading

Gilbert Joseph and Daniela Spenser (eds.), In From the Cold: Latin America's New Encounter with the Cold War (Durham/London: Duke University Press, 2007); Greg Grandin and Gilbert Joseph (eds.), A Century of Revolution: Insurgent and Counterinsurgent Violence During Latin America's Long Cold War (Durham/London: Duke University Press, 2011); Michael Löwy (ed.), Marxism in Latin America from 1909 to the Present: An Anthology (London, 1992); Thomas C. Wright, Latin America in the Era of the Cuban Revolution (Westport: Praeger, 2001); Steven G. Rabe, The Most Dangerous Area of the World: John F. Kennedy Confronts Communist Revolution in Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press,1999); Jean Franco, The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City: Latin America in the Cold War (Harvard, 2002); John Dinges, The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents (New York: The New Press, 2004); Dirk Kruijt, Guerrillas: war and peace in Central America (London: Zed, 2008); Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Piero Gleijeses, Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003); Tanya Harmer, Allende's Chile and the Inter-American Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011).


Essay (50%, 6000 words) in the ST.
Other (40%) and class participation (10%).


Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2014/15: 15

Average class size 2014/15: 16

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information