Ecuador: Development, Politics, and Languages


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

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The following syllabi are 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.

Paradigms of Development and Political Discourse in Ecuador — syllabus (PDF)
(LACB 3005 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This seminar provides students with a broad introduction to the core themes of the program. It offers an overview of Ecuadorian history and politics, introduces the concept of political discourse as an object of study, and examines the relationship between the language(s) of political power and development in this country. Through lectures, course readings, site visits, and excursions, students analyze how Ecuador has conceptualized and strategized its development. They then examine the discourse around these efforts, asking how language and power are related in Ecuador. Students construct a nuanced understanding of how different groups in Ecuador have used language to instill, reinforce, subvert, and reinvent power relationships over time as the country strives to develop. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Languages in Contact: Spanish, Quichua, and Other Languages in Ecuador — syllabus (PDF)
(LACB 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
In the second seminar, students combine theory and practice to study Ecuador’s languages in three different manners. First, they explore the history of Ecuadorian Spanish from its Old World roots to New World evolutions, into the national language as it exists today. From a cultural and linguistic focus, students study the encounter between Spanish and Ecuador’s indigenous languages. They consider the politics of bilingual education, questions surrounding intellectual production and translation, and the growing concern for languages in danger of extinction. The second module of the course hones in on the particularities of Ecuadorian Spanish. Students learn idiomatic expressions, study slang, and consider different registers of Spanish (formal and informal), which will help them read political texts more critically. In the third module, all students take a set of introductory lessons in Quichua. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Advanced Readings on Contemporary Ecuador — syllabus (PDF) (coming soon)
(SPAN 2000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Advanced Readings on Contemporary Ecuador — syllabus (PDF)
(SPAN 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Advanced Readings on Contemporary Ecuador — syllabus (PDF) (coming soon)
(SPAN 4000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
In this course, students refine their Spanish language skills while furthering their cultural knowledge by engaging with a series of academic readings on contemporary Ecuador. The course deepens students’ contact with intellectual work produced in Spanish and in Ecuador and includes visits to several relevant sites in Quito such as the Ecuadorian Institute of Intellectual Property and the National Library in Quito. Students take an ungraded placement exam to determine the appropriate class placement. The outgoing exam includes both a written and an oral component.


Beginning Quichua — syllabus (PDF)
(QUEC 1000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Quichua was one of the most important lingua francas of pre-Conquest Latin America and is currently one of the most widely spoken indigenous languages in the region. In this beginning Quichua course, students construct basic language skills while furthering their contact with Quichua-speaking communities and their exploration of the relationship between language and culture within Ecuador. The course emphasizes basic Quichua grammar and all of the skill areas. As a key component of the course, students engage in interactions with local Quichua speakers both in Quito and in rural areas. The outgoing exam includes a written and an oral component. This course is intended to complement and expand on the set of introductory lessons in Quichua provided in the Languages in Contact course.

 Research Methods and Ethics: Approaches to Political and Linguistic Analysis — 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 a range of methods related to studying development, language, power, and political discourse. 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’s themes. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Independent Study Project — syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Quito or in another approved location in Ecuador 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 broad concerns with power, politics, language, and development. The project integrates learning from the various components of the program and culminates in a final presentation and formal research paper. Sample topics areas: linguistic landscape of Quito; political perspectives on endangered languages; the discourse of development in Ecuador; bilingual intercultural education; social communication, micropolitics, and activism.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Quito

Language Study: Quichua,  Spanish

Prerequisites: 4 semesters college-level Spanish or the equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish, as assessed by SIT. Read more...


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

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