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Argentina

Social Movements and Human Rights

Study social movements in a country internationally renowned for its innovation and protagonism in the struggle for human rights for its diverse populations.

At a Glance

Credits

16

Prerequisites

3 semesters Spanish, Relevant previous coursework

Language of Study

Spanish

Courses taught in

Spanish

Dates

Aug 28 – Dec 10

Program Countries

Argentina

Program Base

Buenos Aires

Critical Global Issue of Study

Peace & Justice

Identity & Human Resilience

Overview

Why Argentina?

Argentinians have historically shown a massive response of activism and mobilization in times of crisis. Studying in Argentina represents a unique opportunity to witness how social change and political unrest can assume different forms through social organization, direct actions, collective imagination, and advocacy strategies. Buenos Aires, the vibrant city where the program is based, is the heart of this eclectic collection of social movements and organizations.

During your semester, you will be guided to learn about the most relevant issues on the current human rights agenda from an intersectional approach. You will have the opportunity to discuss these issues with referents from human rights organizations and social movements, such as environmental, Afro descendant, migrant, feminist, indigenous, and LGBTQIA+ activists. Using a decolonial and critical perspective, you will navigate the interconnection between theory and practice to reflect on possible alternatives and strategies to the most pressing sociopolitical and economic issues that our societies face, in Argentina and around the globe.

This program will lead you around most regions of Argentina, from Patagonian provinces in the south (Río Negro, Neuquén, and Chubut), to the Northwestern region (Salta and Jujuy), passing through the Province of Santa Fe. You will analyze the specificities of the socio-economical model, the experiences of struggle in these territories, and their articulation within the national human rights agenda. Here you will meet rural families trying to maintain their livelihoods, and indigenous communities organizing to preserve their territory, identity, and natural resources. As the human rights agenda emphasizes environmental concerns, you will have the opportunity to visit environmental organizations in Buenos Aires, Patagonia, Jujuy, and Santa Fe. These excursions are unique opportunities to witness how different organizations with similar demands articulate and fight for their rights.

You will also have the opportunity to develop your Spanish language skills through 45 hours of classroom learning in the prestigious Universidad Nacional de San Martín, along with cultural immersion, homestays, and excursions.

Highlights

  • Learn about organizations’ creative care strategies developed in response to current events.
  • Explore dynamic social movements through a deep theoretical framework and dialogue with academic experts and activists.
  • Witness how grassroots organizations fight for human rights and social justice on multiple levels.
  • Visit Patagonia, Litoral, and the Argentine Northwest to learn about campesino and indigenous communities.
  • Hone your Spanish through homestays, classroom and field instruction.

Prerequisites

Previous college-level coursework or background in social work, political economy, development studies, or Latin American studies, as assessed by SIT. Three recent semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish, as assessed by SIT.

program map

Excursions

Patagonia 

During a week in Patagonia, you will learn about the challenges that the renewed extractivist model set for contemporary democracies and collective rights, especially environmental and indigenous rights. In Bariloche, focus on current struggles around environmental rights and the ecofeminist agenda. In Mapuche communities, observe indigenous groups’ works for recognition of their identity and their community land rights. In Esquel, witness a new cycle of “eco territorial” resistance and the success of a city that said no to mega-mining.

Northwestern Argentina and Rosario, Santa Fé

In the city of Salta, you will delve into the human rights organizations and social movements in one of the most economically impoverished and politically conservative regions of the country. In Jujuy, study territorial and food sovereignty conflicts in Quebrada de Humahuaca Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site threatened by extractive projects. Visit Salinas Grandes to learn how indigenous and environmental organizations advocate together against Salt Flats mining projects. In the port city of Rosario (Santa Fe), you will examine the ways agribusiness development, a real estate boom, drug trafficking, and institutional violence are connected, pushing grassroots organizations to work on these matters.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.

Academics

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to: 

  • Analyze recent Argentine history with a focus on its political and economic models. 
  • Apply different human rights theories to formulate public policy solutions to existing social and human rights problems.  
  • Assess traditional theories about social movements and the contributions of Latin American theories. 
  • Reflect on the relationship between social movements and human rights in the Argentinean and regional context. 
  • Demonstrate an acute sense of positionality, cultural sensitivity, and communicative proficiency while conducting fieldwork for your Independent Study Project or internship experience. 
  • Apply methodological tools to analyze a field of interest linked to human rights and social movements.  

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.



Coursework

Access virtual library guide.

The following syllabi are representative of 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.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.


Independent Study Projects

  • Environmental rights and neo-extractivism
  • Gender rights in Argentina
  • Memory and memorialization
  • Indigenous rights and community
  • Ethnicity and Race in Argentina
  • Labor rights
  • Art as a tool for social transformation
  • Social movements and activism
  • Culture, perception, and political discourse
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INTERNSHIPS

  • NGO human rights projects or grassroots organizations
  • Local human rights campaigns
  • Public institutions or NGOs related to gender, environmental problems, Indigenous communities, and more

Independent Study Project and internships are provided as examples and are not intended as a guarantee of subject matter approval or internship placement.


History and Human Rights in Argentina

History and Human Rights in Argentina – syllabus
(LACB3005 / 3 credits)

This course introduces students to Argentina’s long struggle to guarantee its diverse populations’ human rights, defined broadly to include civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights, as well as the so-called “solidarity rights.” Students examine the history of Argentina to facilitate the contextualization of the struggle for human rights that have taken place in the country during the past few years. They examine the present international system of human rights protection and the use of legislation as a tool for social transformation, as human rights issues are continually redefined in Argentina. Students are expected to be familiar with the contents of special protection rights, such as the rights of women, immigrants and indigenous people, the right to communication, the right to the city, and environmental rights. They also discuss topics that endanger respect for human rights including discrimination, racism, and state violence. This class is taught primarily in Buenos Aires but also in Patagonia. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Social Movement and Human Rights in Argentina

Social Movements and Human Rights in Argentina – syllabus
(LACB3000 / 3 credits)

This seminar introduces students to social movements and human rights issues in Argentina, focusing on the quest for social change in this country and Latin America. Students analyze the roles played by NGOs and other organizations, as well as by broader social movements, in Argentina’s struggle to attain and uphold human rights for its diverse citizens. The seminar includes both theoretical and experiential components, and students learn to draw connections from concepts to case studies and actual issues. Some of the main concepts studied in this seminar include: decolonizing, territory, social economy, food sovereignty, popular education, the role of youth in contemporary activism, and the growing role of women’s movements. This class is taught primarily in Buenos Aires but also in Salta, Jujuy, and Santa Fe. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Spanish for Social Sciences

Spanish for Social Sciences I – syllabus
(SPAN2003 / 3 credits)

Spanish for Social Sciences II – syllabus
(SPAN2503 / 3 credits)

Spanish for Social Sciences III – syllabus
(SPAN3003 / 3 credits)

Spanish for Social Sciences IV – syllabus
(SPAN3503 / 3 credits)

In this course, students hone their speaking, reading, and writing skills through classroom and field instruction. They practice reading professional social science literature as they learn the terms and expressions needed to discuss human rights and social movement 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

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits)

This research methods course is designed to prepare students for an Independent Study Project or internship. Through lectures, readings, and field activities, students study and practice basic social science methods. They examine the ethical issues surrounding field research related to human rights and other 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 or internship placement, selected appropriate methods, and written a solid proposal for an Independent Study Project or internship related to the program themes. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Independent Study Project or Internship

Choose one of the following two courses.

Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits)

Conducted in Buenos Aires 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 ISP topic areas:

  • Environmental rights and neo-extractivism
  • Indigenous rights and community resistance
  • Art, activism and social change
  • Feminism, LGBTQIA+ movements, sexual and reproductive rights
  • Migration, racism and interculturality
  • Food sovereignty and agroecology
  • Social movement theories and strategies from a decolonial perspective
  • Human rights, past and present, from an intersectional approach
  • Interrelations  between social, environmental, gender and ethnic/racial justice
  • Memory and memorialization

Browse this program’s Independent Study Projects / undergraduate research.

Watch an ISP done in video format.

OR 

Internship and Seminar
Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 4 credits)

This seminar consists of a four-week internship with a local community organization, research organization, or international NGO. The aim of the internship is to enable the student to gain valuable work experience and to enhance their skills in an international work environment. Students will complete an internship and submit a paper in which they process their learning experience on the job, analyze an issue important to the organization, and/or design a socially responsible solution to a problem identified by the organization. A focus will be on linking internship learning with the program’s critical global issue focus and overall program theme. The internship course includes a module designed to help students build a foundation on which to engage in the internship experience.

Sample Internships

  • Collaborating with NGO Human Rights projects or grassroots organizations
  • Participating in local Human Rights campaigns
  • Assisting in public institutions or NGO related to gender, environmental problems, indigenous communities, migration, discrimination, racism, education, social economy, etc.

Homestays

Buenos Aires

You will live with a local family while in Buenos Aires and have the opportunity to travel within the country during excursions and the four-week Independent Study/internship period. Buenos Aires offers an outstanding array of cultural assets and offerings, which many students enjoy together with their families. Most host families are middle class and live in apartments or small houses in the city. All live within the Capital Federal District.

Excursion & Orientation Accommodations

Small hotels and hostels

Career Paths

Students on this program represent a broad array of colleges, universities, and majors. Many have gone on to do important work that connects back to their experience abroad with SIT. Recent positions held by alumni include:

  • Founder and programs manager of Garden of Hope, Antigua, Guatemala

  • Graduate assistant at The Washington Post, Washington, DC

  • Thomas J. Watson Fellow researching informal waste collection systems, Egypt, Australia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Guatemala

  • Working for the United Nations, US embassies, NGOs, and the Peace Corps in advocacy, human rights, international relations, education, and policy making

  • Fulbright scholar

Faculty & Staff

Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights

Ana Laura Lobo, PhD candidate bio link
Ana Laura Lobo, PhD candidate
Academic Director
Eliana Ferradás, PhD candidate bio link
Eliana Ferradás, PhD candidate
Academic Coordinator
Griselda Vallejo bio link
Griselda Vallejo
Homestay and Student Affairs Coordinator
Catalina Correa bio link
Catalina Correa
Program Assistant

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

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  • Human Rights in Argentina

    Argentina: Social Movements class on human rights

    Video
  • LGBTQ POLICY JOURNAL A Harvard Kennedy School student publication

    Alumna Isabel Cruz (Harvard University) writes about trans and travesti rights in Argentina for LGBTQ Policy Journal.

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  • Trinity Junior Fights Violence in Argentina

    Trinity University junior Caitlyn Yates examined drug-related violence for her ISP and discovered the impact of peaceful protest in promoting social change.

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  • Graduate Student Spotlight: Erin Wheeler

    Erin Wheeler, now a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin, discusses how she first became interested in linguistic anthropology during her SIT Study Abroad program.

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