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Peru: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization

Peru: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization

Explore how indigenous peoples in Peru are adapting and innovating to ensure the preservation of their cultural values and to shape their own future in the face of globalization and rapid change.

This program explores the social, economic, political, and cultural impacts of globalization on indigenous peoples, and the ways in which communities respond and adapt to these transformations in Peru. Students can rapidly advance their Spanish and also learn introductory Quechua, an indigenous language of the Andean region.

Major topics of study include:

  • Indigenous rights, advocacy, and policy
  • Community empowerment
  • Identity recognition
  • Historical legacies and contemporary social movements
  • Impacts of global changes: society, culture, economy, and ecology
 

Cantagallo SchoolIn the Peru: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization study abroad program, students examine Peru's traditional and contemporary indigenous societies in the context of Peruvian identity politics and the economic pressures of globalization. With 35 to 45 percent of the country's population identifying as either an Andean peasant or as a member of a native Amazonian community, Peru is an ideal location to learn about and observe firsthand the pressures indigenous peoples currently face. Students are challenged to scrutinize the complexities of multiple identities, transformation, and marginalization visible in Peru today.

Program Components

In addition to the in-country orientation and concluding reentry and wrap-up exercises, the program consists of the following components:

  • A six-week homestay in Cuzco during which students take intensive Spanish and Quechua language instruction and begin their thematic seminars on indigenous peoples and globalization, as well as their Research Methods and Ethics course.
  • Three weeks of educational excursions
  • Multiple field visits throughout the program
  • A four-week Independent Study Project

Cuzco

In the first phase of the program, students spend six weeks living with a homestay family in middle class neighborhoods located 10–15 minutes from downtown Cuzco. Students participate in lectures on topics such as political violence, Andean and Amazonian cultures, gender issues, indigenous movements, international indigenous law and human rights, extractive industries, and the environment.

LoretoResearch Methods and Ethics

Field-based exercises are an essential component of the program. The Research Methods and Ethics course focuses on field research methods and the ethical considerations of conducting field research in a study abroad context. In the course, students will study various topics such as appropriate methodologies; research proposal development; gathering, organizing, and communicating data; developing skills in observation and interviewing; and research ethics and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy.

Assignments provide an opportunity for students to test these and other techniques introduced during the course, while providing opportunities for in-depth discussions. Throughout the course, students work to properly develop their research proposals for their Independent Study Project. By the end of the course, students significantly advance their initial ideas, assumptions, and drafts in close consultation with their academic director.

Independent Study Project (ISP)

Students spend the last month of the program working on an Independent Study Project (ISP) in which they conduct primary research on a selected topic. The ISP allows students to directly apply the concepts and skills learned in the thematic seminars and Research Methods and Ethics course, while providing the opportunity for students to deepen their knowledge of a topic of particular significance to them. Sample ISP topic areas include but are not limited to:

  • Role of oral histories, legends, and myths in ethno-cultural preservation
  • Grassroots empowerment
  • Ecotourism as a community development model
  • Interaction of urban-rural communities
  • Generational dynamics in cultural pride and heritage
  • Cross-cultural education
  • Environmental conservation and extractive industry conflicts
  • Changing agricultural practices

Role of the ISP Advisor

The ISP advisor is generally a host national or long-time foreign resident in Peru who has expertise in the student's field of interest. Advisors include host-country academics, field professionals, and other experts. The advisor works with the student on the design and implementation of the research project. Generally, students will meet with their advisor prior to the initiation of research to explore the student’s plan and preliminary project proposal. Once the research plan has been agreed upon, the student and advisor meet or communicate regularly to monitor the progress of the research and to discuss unexpected issues that may arise. With the culmination of the research portion of the ISP, the student meets or communicates with their advisor to discuss the data and results of the fieldwork.

Prerequisites:

Four recent semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish, as assessed by SIT.

Access Virtual Library Guide

Through the interdisciplinary coursework in the Peru: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization program, students learn about the history and cultural identity of Peru's native Andean, Amazonian, and campesina communities while examining these groups' community development, preservation, and advocacy efforts in the context of shifting global forces. Students participate in a variety of research and cultural activities throughout the semester and learn from researchers, academics, professionals, practitioners, and community experts. During the final month of the semester, students leverage their field study experience and research skills to conduct an Independent Study Project (ISP).

The following syllabi are from a recent or upcoming semester of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of unique learning opportunities, actual course content varies from semester to semester.

Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

History of Indigenous Cultures in Peru - syllabus
(LACB 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
The course begins with an examination of the history of Andean and Amazonian indigenous peoples in Peru. Students consider the prosperity and peacefulness of the precolonial period, the violence of the colonial era, and the birth and construction of the Peruvian republic, asking how indigenous populations were and were not included in the nationalist project. Students also learn about the cosmovisions of both Andean and Amazonian cultures, traditional conceptualizations of gender, land use, and other topics. With these foundations, students then shift toward contemporary issues, in particular focusing on urbanization processes as they have affected indigenous peoples. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Indigenous Peoples in Motion: Changes, Resistance, and Globalization- syllabi
(LACB 3005 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
In this seminar, students explore contemporary transformations of indigenous groups through multiple lenses. In particular, they analyze ethnic identity within the urban environment, examining indigenous migration and “cholification,” racism, and discrimination. They consider the ethnic component of political violence in Peru and study how indigenous peoples have mobilized resistance and organized to defend their cultures, territories, and local environments. Students study topics such as bilingual education movements, national law, and international rights for indigenous peoples, among other topics. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Intensive Language Study: Quechua - syllabus
(QUEC 1000 / 1 credit / 15 class hours)
This introductory course emphasizes building oral and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Formal instruction is enhanced by language practice during rural homestays and excursions.

Intensive Language Study: Spanish for the Social Sciences I - syllabus
(SPAN 2000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Spanish for the Social Sciences II - syllabus
(SPAN 2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Spanish for the Social Sciences III - syllabus
(SPAN 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Spanish for the Social Sciences IV - syllabus
(SPAN 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
In this course, students hone their speaking, reading, and writing skills through classroom and field instruction. They practice reading social science literature as they learn the theoretical terms and local expressions needed to discuss sociocultural issues, to conduct field research, and to interact in settings related to the program themes. Students are placed in small classes based on an in-country evaluation that tests both written and oral proficiency.

Research Methods and Ethics - syllabus
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
In this research methods course designed to prepare students for the Independent Study Project, students learn how to organize and conduct a research project. Through lectures, readings, and field activities, students study and practice a range of basic social science methods. They examine the ethical issues surrounding field research related to the program themes and are guided through the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review process, which forms a core component of the course. By the end of the course, students will have chosen a research topic, selected appropriate methods, and written a solid proposal for an Independent Study Project related to the program themes. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Independent Study Project - syllabus
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Cuzco or other approved and appropriate locations in Peru, the Independent Study Project offers students the opportunity to conduct field research on a topic of their choice within the program’s thematic parameters. The project integrates learning from the various components of the program and culminates in a final presentation and formal research paper. Sample topic areas: the role of oral histories, legends, and myths in ethno-cultural preservation; knowledge transmission; changing agricultural practices; ecotourism as a community development model; grassroots empowerment; interaction between urban and rural communities; generational dynamics in cultural pride and heritage; cross-cultural education; conflicts between conservation and extractive industries.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

The Peru: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization program includes educational excursions designed to directly complement and enhance classroom study and fieldwork. Through excursions, students experience the innovative ways in which indigenous peoples in Peru are working toward their own community development and cultural preservation in the face of shifting global influences.

Machu Picchu

Incan ruinsAt the end of orientation, students undertake a one-day excursion by train to Machu Picchu. Built at the beginning of the fifteenth century, Machu Picchu is located on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba River. It is Peru's most important archaeological site, and in 2007 was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Peruvian Amazon – Madre de Dios

Madre de Dios, located in the southeastern region of the Peruvian Amazon bordering Brazil, is a storehouse of tropical biodiversity and renewable and nonrenewable resources. However, the effects of globalization make this region more than a natural paradise; various competing economic activities, including petroleum interests, gold mining, timber, agriculture, natural protected areas, hydroelectrics, and the inter-oceanic highway megaproject compete for power, resources, and rights. In the middle of these conflicts are the indigenous peoples who have occupied this region for millennia, including the Matsiguenka, Ese Eja, and Harakmbut, as well as other communities, such as the Shipibos, Quichuarunas, Ashaninca, and Yines, that have arrived in this region as a result of extractive enterprise displacement processes. These groups have organized into the Native Federation of Madre de Dios (FENAMAD) and have achieved significant advances in defense of their territorial rights.

Students will travel in Amazonia for one week, where they will attend lectures from indigenous leaders and participate in local community activities. For four days, students will stay in indigenous communities and have the opportunity to learn firsthand about Amazonian livelihood systems. Students will have the opportunity to build a broad understanding of the ways in which indigenous peoples are confronting the impacts of globalization.

UrosLake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and, by volume, the largest lake in South America. During this excursion, students will visit the indigenous community of the Uros, an Aymara people, who today live on floating totora reed islands at an altitude of 12,494 feet. When the Incas, under Emperor Pachacútec, reached Lake Titicaca in the fifteenth century, inhabitants of the area were forced to withdraw. Since then, the Uros have overcome harsh living conditions by relying on fishing, which comprises their main source of food as well as a bartering resource. Due to the impossibility of agricultural and livestock activities in the region, the Uros have increasingly sought alternative means of survival. 

After visiting the Uros, students will travel to Taquile Island, located at an altitude of 12,507 feet. The island has been populated since the pre-Columbian period and remained almost isolated until the 1970s when it was mentioned in the South American Tourism Handbook, which induced adventurers to the island. Students will stay on the island for four days and will learn about the way of life of the Taquileños, who are now famous for their traditional weaving.

Arequipa

Known as “the white city” because of the use of the volcanic white rock sillar in their buildings, Arequipa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is surrounded by three volcanoes (Misti, Chachani, and Pichu Pichu) and integrates European and native building techniques and characteristics, and it is filled with the work of colonial masters and criollo and indigenous masons, resulting in captivating ornamental architecture. While in Arequipa, students attend lectures on research methods and ethics and have the opportunity to process their learning experiences from their rural homestay.

Lima

Lima is Peru's capital and largest city. During the four-day excursion to Lima, students explore the reality of urban migration and examine the various factors that contribute to this phenomenon. Lima provides a unique opportunity for students to develop a firsthand sense of "power wielding.” As the capital of Peru, Lima is the epicenter of native advocacy activism, initiatives of lobby groups, and policy action.

While in Lima, students visit a community of indigenous Shipibos from the Peruvian Amazon, who arrived in Lima in 2000, seeking opportunities for education, healthcare, and employment. This community is located in Cantagallo, an impoverished zone in the center of Lima, located just five minutes from the Government Palace.

Alex AlvarezAlex Alvarez, PhD, Academic Director

A native of Cuzco, Dr. Alvarez received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from the National University of Cuzco, his master’s in social sciences with a focus in environmental management and development from the Latin American Social Sciences Institute (FLASCO), and his PhD in development studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. During the course of his studies, Alex received doctoral fellowships at the National Centre of Competence in North-South Research in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Russell E. Train Education for Nature program with the World Wildlife Fund. He also received the Exchange Legacy Lelong grant for social anthropology research from the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in France.

Alex became interested at an early age in indigenous communities of the Amazon and the Peruvian Andes, especially the impact of public policy on aspects of indigenous life. The results of his research have been presented in several scientific papers as well as at conferences in Peru and abroad. His latest publication, in the Latin American Journal of Conservation, explores the relationship of land ownership and the conservation of natural resources in terms of environmental sustainability and social justice in the Peruvian Amazon. He provides volunteer technical and scientific support to the Indigenous Federation of Madre de Dios (FENAMAD) in southeastern Peru on issues related to environmental governance, property rights, cultural landscapes, natural resource extraction, and conservation of biodiversity in indigenous territories.

View Dr. Alvarez's complete CV.

Milagros del Carpio, Program Coordinator

Milagros del Carpio studied social communication at San Antonio Abad University in Cuzco. She has worked for several years in the fields of alternative cross-cultural education and environmental education. She specializes in interpersonal relations training with adults and young leaders, as well as large-scale public service campaigns. As a journalist, she worked at the newspaper El Comercio and the magazine Somos in Lima. She has also hosted a radio program in Cuzco, Como en casa. In addition, she has acted in several plays, a television production, and had the lead role in two Peruvian films about terrorism and drug trafficking. In her role as program coordinator, Milagros works with the academic director in developing program activities, helps oversee the program’s structure, and assists students with daily issues and cross-cultural communication.

Julia Catalán Cervantes, Rural Coordinator

Julia was born in the Apurimac region, in the southern part of the Andean mountains of Peru. She is a native Quechua speaker; she learned her second language of Spanish at the age of 16. Due to political violence in Peru, she had to leave this region, migrating to Cuzco. Julia has worked with the program since 2010, performing administrative duties and supporting students and staff. In 2013, Julia began work as the program’s rural coordinator and is in charge of the coordination of homestays and field activities on Taquile Island and in Arequipa.

Faculty and lecturers typically include:

Luis Nieto Degregori

Luis Nieto Degregori holds a degree in philology from the University Patricio Lumumba in Moscow and was a professor at the National University of San Cristóbal de Huamanga throughout periods of political violence in Peru. Luis Nieto is one of the most important contemporary writers in Peru. He has written several novels and short stories, many of them about political violence, as well as historic and urban novels like Señores De Estos Reynos, Cuzco Después Del Amor, and Asesinato En La Gran Ciudad Del Cuzco, among many others. Nieto is also a renowned researcher and independent consultant, with extensive literary publications, essays, and newspaper articles. He is currently coordinator of the dissemination unit of the indigenous nongovernmental organization Guaman Poma de Ayala and the editor of the journal Crónicas Urbanas.

Antonio Zapata Velasco

Antonio Zapata Velasco earned his PhD in history with a specialization in Latin America at Columbia University, New York. He is a well known historian, political consultant, university professor, and writer, renowned for his research on Peruvian history and sociopolitical issues. Previously, he was a professor at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos; currently, he is a professor at the Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú. Dr. Zapata is also a columnist in one of the most important newspapers in Peru, La República, and a political analyst. He is an associated researcher at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP), and was formerly the director and presenter of the television history program Sucedió en el Perú.

Lucy Ann Trapnell

Lucy Ann Trapnell is an anthropologist and professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú with a master’s degree in education from Bath University, UK. She is co-founder of the Programa de Formación de Maestros Bilingües de la Amazonia Peruana, a training program for bilingual Peruvian Amazonian teachers, which is used by the indigenous confederation AIDESEP. Throughout the last twenty-five years she has been involved in teaching training programs with Amazonian indigenous peoples, in addition to developing many studies and publishing diverse articles on intercultural bilingual education, with an emphasis in curricular topics and educational practice.

Richard Chase Smith

Richard Chase Smith is the executive director of the Instituto del Bien Común (IBC), in Lima, Peru. He earned a doctorate in anthropology from Cornell University, and has since held positions as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, a visiting senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center and a professor at the National Agrarian University in Lima. He has resided and worked in Peru (and other Amazonian-Andean countries) for the past 40 years. His primary focus has been the invisibility of indigenous peoples in Peru and Latin America, with his initial work concentrating on political organization for land rights for indigenous peoples, analyzing this topic in terms of the the Yánesha people, the Amazon Basin, and at the national and continental level. Dr. Smith has also been the director of the South America program for Oxfam America for fifteen years.

Alberto Chirif

Alberto Chirif is a Peruvian anthropologist from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru. For the last 40 years, his professional practice has focused on Amazonian topics, especially concerning indigenous peoples’ collective rights. He works as an independent consultant and has written many specialized articles and collective books including Atlas de Comunidades Nativas, El Indígena y Su Territorio, and Marcando Territorio: Progresos y limitaciones de la titulación de territorios indígenas en la Amazonía

Ramón Pajuelo

Ramón Pajuelo is an anthropologist from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, in Lima, Peru, and holds two master’s degrees, one in Latin American history, from the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, and one in Andean history from the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar (Ecuador). He is principal researcher at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, the most prestigious social studies institute in the country. His work focuses on rural communities and indigenous peoples as well as social movements and ethnicity and politics.

Silvio Campana

Silvio Campana has been the official governmental ombudsman for the Cuzco region since 1998 and is a member of the Anticorruption Unit of the Peruvian National Ombudsman’s Office. He is a lawyer from the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal (Lima, Peru), specializing in criminal law, human rights, and conflict resolution. He holds two master’s degrees from the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (Spain), conducted postgraduate studies in human rights and health at the Universidad Cayetano Heredia (Lima, Peru), and was an intern at the USAID program for Human Rights and Democracy. He has been an advisor of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, director of various international cooperation projects, and professor at the Universidad Andina del Cusco.

Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore is a US-born anthropologist who earned his PhD at the Graduate Faculty, New School for Social Research, New York. He conducted ethnological field research among the Harakbut in south eastern Peru (1973–75) and has maintained a relationship with them and other indigenous peoples of the region since then. He is co-founder and the first president and executive director of Centro Eori de Investigación y Promoción Regional, a nongovernmental organization based in Puerto Maldonado, and has been a short-term advisor to many indigenous organizations in Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia. He has taught anthropology at four universities in the US, and also at San Marcos University in Peru. Additionally, he has managed diverse development programs for USAID in South and Central America, Pakistan, and for the United Nations Development Program in Peru. 

Daniel Rodriguez

Daniel Rodriguez, PhD candidate at Kent University, UK, is an anthropologist actively involved in a broad range of issues relating to indigenous rights in the Madre de Dios river basin in southeastern Peru, with a special focus on voluntary isolated indigenous peoples. Most of his work has been developed within indigenous organizations, in particular advising FENAMAD (Federación Nativa de Madre de Dios) on the impacts of gold mining and oil and gas concessions, and potential effects of mining on voluntarily isolated indigenous peoples. He has worked with the Ese Eja people in Peru and Bolivia and PPI's Cultural Landscapes and Resource Rights program since 2005.

The program includes urban and rural homestays in order to expose students to different Peruvian lifestyles, perspectives, and identities. By sharing daily activities with their families, students are fully immersed within the local culture and have a unique opportunity to practice their Spanish and Quechua language skills.

marketCuzco

Students live with host families for six weeks in one of two neighborhoods along Cuzco's Avenida Cultural. Students engage in daily activities with their homestay family that can include playing soccer in the neighborhood park, taking weekend trips, or joining in celebrations and religious holidays. Through daily conversations with host family members, students discuss their impressions and experiences of Cuzco while exchanging cultural information and insights.

Taquile Island

Students also spend four days living with a Quechua-speaking family on Taquile Island. In this community, students become immersed in the daily routine of the Andean countryside, including assisting their families in the sowing of potatoes or the grazing of cows or sheep.

Other accommodations during the program include hostels, private homes, small hotels, and shelters in the Amazon.

Program Dates: Spring 2015

Program Start Date:  Feb 22, 2015

Program End Date:    Jun 6, 2015

The dates listed above are subject to change. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.

Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.

Application Deadline:   Nov 1, 2014

 

SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.

Tuition: $15,570

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
    • Community development
    • History and cultural identity
    • Rights, advocacy, and policy
  • Research Methods and Ethics course on research methods and Human Subjects Review
  • Intensive language instruction in Spanish
  • Intensive language instruction in Quechua
  • All educational excursions to locations such as Madre de Dios, Taquile Island, Arequipa, and Lima, including all related travel costs
  • Independent Study Project (including a stipend for accommodation and food) 
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board:$2,710

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Cuzco), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay. 
  • All homestays (six weeks in Cuzco and four days with a Quechua-speaking family in Taquile Island)  
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.

Estimated Additional Costs:

International Airfare

International airfares vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.

Visa Expenses:$ 28

Immunizations varies

Books & Supplies :$150

Discretionary Expenses

Personal expenses during a semester abroad vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region.  See a full list of our alumni contacts.  Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited. varies

Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.

 

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