The goal of this course is to identify and analyse the alternation between authoritarianism and democracy in Latin America from the end of the colonial rule to our time. By doing so, we seek to uncover broad patterns of structural change over time in the region. After achieving independence, most Latin American countries found themselves plagued by social disparities which translated into institutional inequalities which, in turn, created a fertile soil for authoritarian governments. The course will begin by analysing Latin America on the cusp between independence and the early independent period, a time when the region was characterised by the constitutionalism of political leaders and the personal power of Caudillos. The most relevant elements of Latin America's political history will be analysed throughout the course: from inter-war nationalism to the military rule of the 1960s and 1970s to the democratisation wave of the 1980s to the return of populism. Given the current economic and political context in Latin America, where populism and authoritarianism are being increasingly challenged in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, this course will not only serve to shed light on the region's past but also provide students with the necessary critical tools to decipher future challenges looming on the region's horizon.