Political Institutions

A Section of the Latin American Studies Association

Section Annual Reports

Section Business Meeting Report

Political Institutions and Processes Section (LAPIS)

2022 Congress of the Latin American Studies Association

Memo written by Jennifer Cyr (Section Chair)

On Friday, May 6, 2022, at 18:00 (PT), the Political Institutions and Processes (LAPIS) Section of LASA met for its annual business meeting. A total of ten people participated. The meeting informed members of our activities over the past year.

At the meeting, we first provided an update on our section’s finances and membership numbers. Then we informed members of our principal activity for the year: the founding and organization of ¡Charlemos!, a virtual presentation series designed to get scholars talking about their latest research in an informative and also informal format. We agreed to continue working on ¡Charlemos! in the year to come.

We also discussed the new membership status offered by LASA, that of the “amigos” de LASA. We discussed ways to potentially recruit new members—especially junior scholars and graduate students—using this new status.

Awards:

We then announced three awards.

The first award was the Donna Lee Van Cott Book Award for the best book on political institutions in 2020, and it was awarded to Sandra Ley (CIDE-Mexico) and Guillermo Trejo (University of Notre Dame) for their book, Votes, Drugs, and Violence. The Political Logic of Criminal Wars in Mexico. The jury that chose her book included Sara Niedzweicki and Santiago Anria.

The second award was the Donna Lee Van Cott Book Award for the best book on political institutions in 2021, and it was co-awarded to two different individuals: Virginia Oliveros (Tulane University), for her book, Patronage at Work: Public Jobs and Political Services in Argentina, and Yanilda González (Harvard University), Authoritarian Police in Democracy: Contested Security in Latin America. The jury that chose her book included Katherine Bersch and Tomas Dosek.

Finally, the third award was from the 2021 LASA Congress, for the best paper presented at the conference on political institutions. The award was presented to Brian Palmer-Rubin, Daniel Berliner, Aaron Erlich, and Benjamin Bagozzi for their paper, entitled “Accountability in Time: Gradual Change in Access-to-Information Institutions.” The jury that unanimously chose his paper included Paula Muñoz, Cecilia Rossel, and Fabrizio Scrollini.

Board:

Our last item of business was to thank and acknowledge the hard work of the three LAPIS EC members who would be stepping down at the end of the Congress. These included Gisela Sin (EC member), Rodrigo Barrenechea (EC member), and Jennifer Cyr (Section Chair). We also welcomed the three incoming members. (Because we only received three nominations, we agreed unanimously to welcome them rather than have a formal vote.) These three new members include Rodrigo Barrenechea (Section Chair), Hernán Flom, and Luis Schenoni.

Barrenechea then introduced himself and spoke about his goals for the section moving forward. He proposed three ideas: first, organizing a roundtable once every 3 years of previous book and paper award winners to discuss the state of political institutions in the region; second, a large reception at the next in-person conference to increase visibility and promote growth; and, third, establishing procedures for certain tasks (e.g., assigning members to award committees) to better institutionalize them.

Section Business Meeting Report 2020

Political Institutions and Processes Section (LAPIS)

By Jennifer Cyr (Section Chair)

• Business Meeting:

On Friday, May 15, 2020, at 17h30, the Political Institutions and Processes (LAPIS) Section of LASA met for its annual business meeting. A total of sixteen people participated. The meeting served as a sort of re-launch of the section. Our goal was to discuss new activities and review section awards, as well as introduce a new award.

Toward that end, at that meeting we introduced the Executive Council, to serve the 2020-21 year. We provided an update on our section’s finances and membership numbers. We announced a new award—we will be granting two travel grants at $500 each for the next Congress. In discussions with members, we decided to grant three travel grants for the next meeting.

• New ideas:

We also brainstormed new ideas to support current members and recruit new ones. We discussed the possibility of organizing a series of (virtual) presentations on issues related to political institutions in Latin America. We discussed updating the website and working with other like sections in other organizations on collaborative projects. We are hoping to move forward on these three action items in the year to come.

• Awards:

We announced two awards. The first award was from the 2017-2018 cycle. The Donna Lee Van Cott Book Award for the best book on political institutions in 2017-18 was awarded to Alisha Holland (Harvard University) for her book, Forbearance as Retribution: The Politics of Informal Welfare in Latin America. The jury that unanimously chose her book included Tiffany Barnes, John Polga-Hecimovich, and Peter Siavelis.

The second award was from the 2019 LASA Congress for the best paper presented at the conference on political institutions. The award was presented to Luis Schenoni (University of Notre Dame) for his paper, entitled “Bringing War Back In: Victory and State Formation in Latin America.” The jury that unanimously chose his paper included Rodrigo Barrenechea, Andrés Mejía Acosta, and Gisela Sin.