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LASP Fall '16 Seminar: "Challenges of Party-Building in Latin America" by Steve Levitsky, VIDEO Recording, 14 Nov 2016

More than three decades after the onset of the Third Wave of democratization, parties remain weak in much of Latin America: parties have collapsed in much of the region, and most new party-building efforts have failed. Yet the party-building experience in the region has not been universally bleak. Of the 308 parties that were created in Latin America between 1978 and 2005 (and which received at least one percent of the legislative vote), 11 succeeded in taking root. Why do some new parties succeed while most fail? Our book challenges the widespread belief that democracy and elections naturally give rise to strong parties and argues that successful party-building is more likely to occur under conditions of intense conflict than under routine democracy.

Steve Levitsky is Professor of Political Science at Harvard University. He focuses on authoritarianism and parties in Latin America - specifically Peru.

"Decentralizing Payments for Ecosystem Services Programs on Coupled Human and Natural Systems in Mexico " by Mariana Nava, LASP Seminar VIDEO Recording, Oct 31 2016

Use of payments for watershed services (PWS) programs as a policy tool for enhancing water quality and supply has gained momentum in recent years. One of the oldest PWS programs, Mexico’s Federal Payment for Hydrological Service (PHS) was initiated in 2003 by the National Forestry Commission as a government-financed program. It was envisioned as a mechanism for providing financial incentives to land owners to conserve their forest cover in key watersheds identified on the basis of the presence of priority ecosystems. In 2008, an additional mechanism was created by the government to transition from the national program funded by the government to a local program funded by the government in combination with the private sector. With this new scheme, the Matching Program, Mexico wanted to evolve from a government-financed to a user-financed PES program, by creating a more direct link between water users and providers and by fostering local participation in the creation, design and implementation of PHS programs.

'Real Tobacco for Real People: Lacandon Maya Nicotine Trade in the Lowland Frontier" by Joel Palka, LASP VIDEO Recording Monday, Oct 24th

Lacandon Maya engaged in brisk trade with outsiders in the lowland rainforest frontier of the burgeoning colonial powers in Petén, Guatemala, and Chiapas, Mexico. Documents describe Lacandon economic exchanges and archaeological investigations recovered abundant foreign goods in nineteenth-century Lacandon sites. This kind of domestic trade and inherent symmetrical interactions were based on indulgences and random encounters not controlled by states. These classes of small scale social and economic exchanges with a reduction in power differentials were typical in peripheral regions of expanding world systems in Latin America.

Joel Palka is Professor of Anthropology and Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

"Impeachment in Brazil: Coup or Accountability?" by Anibal Perez-Liñan, LASP Seminar VIDEO Recording, Monday, September 26

The Impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil has ignited a debate. Is impeachment the functional equivalent of old-fashioned military coups or is it an effective mechanism for presidential accountability? Professor Aníbal Pérez-Liñán will discuss the proliferation of presidential impeachments in Latin America since 1990, analyze their similarities and differences with traditional coups, and explore their limitations as a mechanism of accountability.

Aníbal Pérez-Liñán is Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of Presidential Impeachment and the New Political Instability in Latin America. He is Editor in Chief of the Latin American Research Review.

LASP Seminar Lecture VIDEO: "Muisca Sounds: Indigenous Politics of Recognition in Multicultural Colombia" by Beatriz Goubert, Columbia University, 19 Sep 2016

Through an emphasis on the Andean musical practices of the Muisca community, this talk analyzes the conflictive production of an indigenous identity within the indigenous politics of recognition in multicultural Colombia.

LASP Research Symposium to take place on Saturday, February 25

The Latin American Studies Program (LASP) invites you to participate in its Annual Research Symposium on February 25, 2017 (read more...).

Calendar of LASP Events Spring 2017


Sat 25

2017 Latin American Studies Program (LASP) Research Symposium February 25, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Physical Sciences Building, Room 401.


Mon 6

¨Clandestine Cattle and Community Forestry Unraveling the Conservation Paradox in Guatemala´s Maya Biosphere Reserve¨ Jennifer Devine, Geography, Texas State University, 206 Stimson Hall, 204 East Avenue, Cornell University, 12:15 PM

Mon 13

¨Innovating to Overcome Crisis: Brazil and Latin America,¨ BRASA Annual Conference 2017, 401 Physical Sciences Building, 3 PM -8 PM.

Wed 15

¨The Cry of the Renegade: Politics and Poetry in Interwar Chile,¨ Raymond Craib, History, Olin Chats in the Stacks, Cornell University, 4:30 PM, 107 Olin Library.

Fri 24

¨Presidential Elections and Democracy in Latin America in the Trump Era,¨ Patricio Navia, Liberal Studies, New York University; Political Science, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile, 206 Stimson Hall, 12:15 PM.

Mellon Seminar Investigates Cities of the Amazon

By Rebecca Bowes
A recent field trip to cities in the Brazilian rainforest gave students a first-hand look at the complex conditions that characterize urbanization in the Amazon. The 10-day journey, which took place in March, was part of the spring semester seminar Forest Cartographies, and focused on issues including community, housing, resettlement, deforestation, political ecology, anthropology, and archaeology.


We recommend that you visit the LASP blog created by Latin American Studies Program Graduate Fellows, a very useful resource for the LASP community. Thanks to all the LASP graduate fellows, especially this year's lead on the blog, Nick Meyers. To visit the blog click here


BIG RED BARN135 President’s Way,
LIVE MUSIC with “Griot Rumbero” six piece Salsa fusion band – vocals, violin, bass, flute, guitar, and percussion – interpreting classic Son-Salsa, Rumba and Bomba from Cuba and Puerto Rico, for the dance lesson and two sets for the party. DJ spinning top Salsa and Latin dance hits between and after sets til 1am.