The purpose of this seminar it to analyze the politics of constitutional change from a theoretical and comparative perspective. We will discuss different approaches to constitutional stability and change and apply them to explain selected cases of constitutional reform in Latin America. The seminar is divided into three sections: concepts and approaches, institutional design and variation, and constitution making episodes. We conclude with a discussion about the impact of constitutional design on democratic performance. The first section focuses on conceptual issues. We start by discussing the nature of constitutions, the concept of constitutional change and stability, and theories of constitution making. The second section concentrates on the evolution of central political institutions, such as the separation of powers, electoral rules, presidential powers, and the judicial system in Latin America. In this section, we will study the evolution of these institutions as well as the nature of recent changes. The third section is dedicated to discussing particular cases of constitutional reform. We will cover different areas of reform in Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador.
This course is taught by Gabriel Negretto, Visiting Associate Professor