The Latin American Left in the 21st century: looking back to the future, Guadalajara, Mexico, October 1-2, 2019

Jochen Kemner's picture
Call for Papers
March 19, 2019 to March 31, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, Sociology, Political History / Studies

Since the end of the 1990s, Latin America witnessed the so-called "left turn", which broke, for two decades, with the "Washington Consensus". On the base of the increase of prices of the basic products and a strong economic growth, an expansion and a reconfiguration of the social and labor policies was implemented. While the rest of the West maintained its model of neoliberal design and went through a severe financial crisis beginning in 2008, in Latin America poverty rates were reduced by almost the half. These achievements were accompanied by a broad social mobilization, and in some cases complemented by new models and policies. The region became more autonomous and gained confidence in the international political context, also reflecting a notion of regional union that materialized in initiatives such as the creation of UNASUR. In this sense, in 2010 The Economist magazine celebrated the "Latin American decade".

However, the political landscape has reversed, returning to the opposite direction. With the decline in export prices and the limitations of the production model, a process of economic weakening  has become visible in several countries. At the same time, support for governments and progressive forces is languishing, while a return to the extreme right is evident, even though its economic performance points towards disaster, towards the dismantling of social policies and publicly defame the minorities.

There is no doubt that the crisis of progressive governments in Latin America is partly due to external factors such as the (inter)national turn to the right, the decline of prices in international markets and the new interventionist policies of the USA, among these the "cold coups". But this is only one side of the coin.

It is also inevitable to analyze the internal factors that contributed to this political crisis, which account for the responsibility of the progressive and left forces in their own process of exhaustion The loss of trust and legitimacy has a specific character in each country and, up to now, has been scarcely discussed and analyzed. Particularly striking is the silence of many intellectuals who, only a short time ago, supported the progressive governments vivaciously.

Within the framework, CALAS platform for dialogue " La izquierda latinoamericana en el siglo XXI: la mirada de vuelta al futuro"seeks to analyze the factors that led to the loss of legitimacy and power of the progressive governments in the region. We hope that from this analysis may arise comprehensive, profound and imaginative contributions for the future of Latin America.


  • The Congress will offer space for lectures, thematic panels, and roundtables for dialogue and debate. For the panels, we call for proposals for individual papers. For further details consult the detailed description of the conference, available at the CALAS web site.
  • The call is aimed at applicants with recognized experience in the disciplines of the Social Sciences and Humanities that provide solid theoretical and empirical reflections on at least one of the topics mentioned in the detailed call.
  • To apply, please fill out the application form available at the conference site.
  • Papers can be presented in Spanish.
  • End date to submit proposals: March 31, 2019.
  • An academic committee will select the papers under criteria of excellence. The applicants will be notified by April 20 if selected.
  • CALAS will cover the lodging expenses for the participants. In addition, there will be limited resources for travel expenses.
Contact Info: 

Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies

Dr. Jochen Kemner (General Management)

Avd. José Parres Arias 150, C.P. 45132 Zapopan, Jalisco, México

Tel.: ++52-33 38193300, Ext. 23594


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