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LAMS 1100: Introduction to Latin America (Online)

A LAMS 1100 guide with a focus on online resources for Summer 2020.

About this Guide

´╗┐This assignment guide is designed to help you find reputable resources for your upcoming research paper. This guide will walk you through the following research strategies:


  • Using reference sources (like encyclopedias) to start your research or locate statistics to bolster your research findings.
  • Finding peer reviewed articles in databases.
  • Citing your sources using one of three popular citation styles.

Online Research & Writing Support

Online Research Help

Research help is available online via AskAway chat 7 days a week. You can also reach out to your subject librarian via e-mail or schedule a one-on-one zoom session. 

Online Writing Help

Writing help is available online through the WConline platform and through WriteAway. Visit the Langara Writing Centre homepage for more information.

Help selecting a research question

You must choose one of the following general topics. From this you can start by formulating a Thesis Question / Research Question. After some research you will be able to come up with a Thesis Statement. With more research you will be able to create an outline that indicates the arguments you will use to prove your thesis.

  • Examine the causes and or effects of civil war El Salvador or Guatemala. What needs to happen to preserve the peace in these countries?
  • Who were the key stakeholders in the civil war in Colombia and what stake do each have in the continuation of violence or the promotion of peace?  Do you think peace is tenable?
  • Has the US war on drugs in Latin America contributed to the decline of the production and sale of drugs? Why or why not?  Has the “War on Drugs” made matters better or worse for people in Latin America? Is there a better approach to the problem and why would this approach be more effective?
  • Examine a revolutionary movement.  Discuss their ideology and methodology and explain their successes and failures.  Good case studies would be the FSLN in Nicaragua,  FMLN in El Salvador, the EZLN of Mexico or the 26th of July Movement in Cuba. 
  • What are the successes and failures of the Cuba revolution?   What accounts for these successes and failures? 
  • Why has US policy toward Cuba been so aggressively intent on bring the revolutionary regime down and why is it still so opposed to the Cuban regime today? 
  • Look at the problem of narco-trafficking in Latin America.  Here you can focus on Central America, Colombia and Mexico..  What are the causes and effects of narco-trafficking and what can be done to solve the problem?
  • Why is the Amazon forest being destroyed and what can be done to save it?
  • Who are the Mothers of May Square, what are they fighting for?  Assess whether the Mothers have been successful in achieving their goals or not.
  • Who are the MST and what are they fighting for? Do you think their methods and actions are successful?  Why or why not?
  • What is the legacy of military rule in Latin America?  Using a case study examine the impact of military rule and state violence on the society and politics of a specific nation such as Argentina, Chile, Brazil or Guatemala.
  • Should countries put the  military on trial for the atrocities they committed during the dirty or civil wars of the 70s and 80s? A good case study here might be Guatemala, Chile or Argentina. What obstacles stand in the way for justice to be done for the victims and their families? 
  • Why and how has the U.S. intervened in Central or South America?  Critically examine the rationale and methods of US intervention.  Good case studies would be Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Chile.
  • Examine the economics of a particular commodity like coffee, sugar, bananas or flowers to understand the dynamics of North / South trade.  Do an expose of the reality behind the products we buy here in Canada that come from Latin America.  Examine the problems that are part and parcel of North South trade, and explore some alternatives. 
  • Look at Canada’s relations to Latin America.  What has our policy been regarding Latin America.  Here you can also do an expose of the nature of Canadian investment in Latin America.  Examples can include Canadian mining activities in Latin America, and their impacts on the local economy and environment.
  • Compare and contrast the realities and or struggles of indigenous peoples in Latin America and Canada.  What do they have in common and what differences exist?