Today Chile is one of the strongest economies and safest nations in all of Latin America. Yet less than fifty years ago the country suffered a severe economic crises and a brutally violent military dictatorship. How has Chile come so far in such a short time? This will be the question we will attempt to answer in this class: Chile After Pinochet. This class studies the political, economic, and cultural history of Chile's military coup of 1973 and the seventeen-year dictatorship that followed it. More importantly, we will also study how the country succeeded in putting a democratic end to its authoritarian regime and how it has re-established itself as a leader of democratic principles, cultural development, and economic strength within the Latin American region. Our studies will focus on key economic industries in Chile, including the publishing, retail, and tourism industries in an attempt to understand how they have been affected by Chile's recent political history and what role, if any, they have played in the nation-state's democratic reconstruction. We will also meet with important social activists who represent some of the country's most politically relevant minority groups, namely women, indigenous peoples, human rights advocates, and student activists. Finally, our course study will also include interaction with Chile's incredibly unique national geography, specifically the Pacific coastline and the Andes Mountains. The dictatorship of General Pinochet in Chile was and is an incredibly divisive topic for all Chileans; many strongly argue that he brought economic freedom and wealth to the nation, while others vehemently decry him as inflicting violence and terror on his own people. Our class will explore these contrasting viewpoints, not in an effort to arrive at a definitive answer privileging of one over the other, but rather to understand the subtle contradictions endemic to this unique nation-state.
Please visit the class Facebook page for more details and photos. The PreparedU blog featured a story about cartonera, the art of making books by hand out of cardboard trash. The students who traveled to Chile with Professor Griffin in January 2017 had a chance to try their hand at cartonera.
Sample syllabus and itinerary:
Please contact Professor Jane Griffin for more details. Before applying for this course, students are required to contact Professor Griffin to express their interest and to arrange an interview.