Kenneth Roberts begins five-part lecture series in International Studies

Nicholas Paulson

Political shifts, human rights and the impact of immigrants on the U.S. economy are the topics of Lawrence’s 2011 Povolny Lecture Series in International Studies, titled “Latin America: Past, Present and Future” cosponsored by the Government and Spanish departments along with the Latin American Studies Program.

The lecture series is sponsored by the Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies. Named in honor of past Lawrence government professor Mojmir Povolny, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on issues of moral significance and ethical dimensions.

Associate Professor of Government and Edwin & Ruth West Professor of Economics and Social Science Claudena Skran explained the importance of the topic, noting “the enhanced role that Latin America is playing on the world stage. President Obama just went to Latin America, so there’s a kind of recognition that Latin America economies, for the most part, are growing.”

Kenneth Roberts, professor of government and the Roberts S. Harrison Director of the Institute for Social Sciences at Cornell University opened the five-part series Thursday, April 7 with the address “Free Markets and Troubled Democracies: Understanding Recent Political Trends in Latin America.”

A scholar on the political economy of development, political representation and the politics of social inequality in Latin America, Roberts examined the contradictory political and economic development patterns in Latin America and discussed how they relate to the trends toward political democracy and market liberalization that re-aligned the region’s politics — and its relations with the U.S. — at the close of the 20th century.

Roberts, who earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University, has conducted grant-funded research in Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Argentina. He is the author of the book “Deepening Democracy? The Modern Left and Social Movements in Chile and Peru” and serves on the editorial boards of the journals Latin American Research Review and Latin American Politics and Society.

Joining Roberts in the lecture series are Assistant Professor of History Jake Frederick, Senior Scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Alexander Wilde ’62, Governor of Guanajuato, Mexico Juan Carlos Romero Hicks and Sarah Bohn ’99, research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

In conjunction with this year’s lecture series, a Latin America-themed film series in the Warch Campus Cinema will include the films “Walt y El Grupo,” “Matar a Todos,” “Amores Perros” and “Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti.”