Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights

Educational Excursions

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

The Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights program includes exceptional, field-based learning opportunities for a broader and deeper understanding of course content. Students have the opportunity to visit and live in two different settings of Argentina: the northwest and Patagonia. In each location, intensive seminar sessions are organized by university faculty, development practitioners, government officials, and local community and labor groups.

Northwestern Argentina (two weeks)
The northwestern region of Argentina is the poorest area in the country. Largely deprived of economic development resources, the region's communities are struggling both to survive and to maintain their distinct cultural traditions. During this excursion, students examine peasant and gender movements and social economy amidst one of the most beautiful, and least developed, regions of Argentina. They also analyze opposition to mining projects due to the projects’ environmental impacts.

  • Students are based in the provincial capital of Salta, a beautiful city with a strong colonial flavor. Based at the foothills of the Andes Mountains, Salta is also well-known as one of Argentina's most traditional and conservative areas and, arguably because of this, is a central location in the struggle for women's rights and the fight against gender-based violence. In Salta, students hear lecturers and participate in discussions on either gender or social economy at the National University of Salta, which serves as the host institution. Students visit a gender organization focused on women's rights and a community soup kitchen to examine collective coping strategies of the city's indigent residents. 
  • Students visit the magnificent Quebrada de Humahuaca valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site recently declared "Historic Patrimony of Humanity." Students consider the impact tourism has on preserving cultural and economic stability in this community.
  • Students visit a mining project to see how the neighboring communities affected by the mines have organized themselves in protest.


Patagonia (one week)
The focus of the Patagonia excursion is on the use of human rights and legal resources to support different social movements. Over the years, the region's abundance of natural resources has invited extensive human intervention: mining, tourism, and other human involvement pose challenges for the health of the region's natural environment. Students examine these challenges and the movements working to address them as well as the struggles over land that continue for impoverished and indigenous communities in both urban and rural settings. The excursion also focuses on the conflicts surrounding land access and occupations from a human rights perspective. 

In Bariloche, students focus on the social and environmental impacts of tourism and experience the efforts that impoverished communities are making for land. While Bariloche is a beautiful city boasting abundant natural resources and stunning landscapes, students focus on the "other Bariloche" and the reality of discrimination and poverty endured by many of the city's poor. Students also consider the role of environmental movements in preventing the deprivation of natural resources, and visit a recycling cooperative created to provide more opportunities within the community.

In Mapuche communities, students observe the battle indigenous groups are waging for increased rights and recognition by the Argentine government as well as their attempts to define their fight for land and territory within the definition of community land rights. Students learn about traditional ways of working and living through visits to the local community center where Mapuche women create and sell artisanal crafts, such as woven and hand-crafted wood pieces. This allows students to understand more about this community and its role in preserving Mapuche culture while also providing a source of income.

With a visit to the picturesque national park Nahuel Huapi, students reflect upon a broader definition of sustainable management and development as a cultural as well as environmental issue.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Buenos Aires

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: 3 semesters Spanish and relevant coursework.


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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