Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development


Previous college-level coursework in the social sciences, sociology, anthropology, gender, and/or cultural studies. Three recent semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish, as assessed by SIT.

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This program combines topical seminars and discussions with field-based learning, around the themes of cultural identity, social justice, and community development. These themes are divided into modules so that students can contextualize the Chilean reality, taking into account historical elements, current realities, and emerging trends.

Theoretical perspectives are provided through academic seminars and are reinforced through the Spanish language classes. Subsequently, academic excursions and community work experiences serve to contextualize theories and provide opportunities for critical reflection around programmatic themes.

The topic of human rights is intertwined with the programmatic themes of social justice and development as part of an expanded concept of social, economic, political, and cultural rights within Chile.

The following syllabi are either from a recent session of this program or for an upcoming session. 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.

Culture and Society in Contemporary Chile - syllabus (PDF)
(LACB 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course introduces students to societal and cultural changes in Chile by reviewing the military dictatorship and the post-dictatorial political order. Students analyze both old and new forms of subjectivity and sociocultural practice, which have emerged as a consequence of and in response to hegemonic political and economic discourses. Students will analyze cultural values and antagonisms, considering issues of exclusion and marginalization in terms of class, gender, sexuality, youth, and ethnicity. Students also consider the cultural influence and impact of political violence in the production of subjectivity and culture during the dictatorship. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Socioeconomic Development in Chile - syllabus (PDF)
(LACB 3005 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Chile has undergone a number of drastic and diverse economic and political changes since the military coup of 1973. After the end of dictatorship in 1989, economic growth and political stability in Chile were hailed by the international business community and economic agencies as a model to follow for the rest of Latin America and the world. In this course, students will critically question this process by looking at the impact the Chilean political system and the neoliberal model of economic development have had on the standards of living and quality of life of most Chileans. The course addresses political issues related to human rights violations, the character of the political constitution, labor relations in Chile, and the institutional continuities and discontinuities between dictatorship and democracy. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Intensive Language Study: Spanish for Social and Cultural Studies I - syllabus (PDF)
(SPAN 2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Spanish for Social and Cultural Studies II - syllabus (PDF)
(SPAN 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Spanish for Social and Cultural Studies III - syllabus (PDF)
(SPAN 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Spanish for Social and Cultural Studies IV - syllabus (PDF)
(SPAN 4000/ 3 credits / 45 class hours)
In this course, students hone their speaking, reading, and writing skills through classroom and field instruction. They practice reading cultural studies literature as they learn the theoretical terms and local expressions needed to discuss socio-cultural 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 (PDF)
(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 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 (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Valparaíso or in another approved location appropriate to the project, 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: memory and political violence; social movements; gender and sexuality; indigenous beliefs and culture; migration and ethnic minorities; youth culture, political parties, and processes; social class and community; youth culture, art, music, and cultural production.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Valparaiso

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: 3 semesters Spanish

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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