Argentina

Social Movements and Human Rights

Study Argentina’s social movements and the country’s past and current struggles to guarantee 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

Feb 25 ‎– Jun 8

Program Countries

Argentina

Program Base

Buenos Aires

Critical Global Issue of Study

Peace & Justice

Peace & Justice Icon

Identity & Human Resilience

Identity & Human Resilience Icon

Overview

Why Argentina?

With a rich history of workers organizing for rights, Argentina has seen rapid growth of social movements this century. You’ll be based in the vibrant capital city of Buenos Aires, where you’ll live with a local family for six weeks. While in the capital, you’ll study at one of the top think tanks in Latin America, the Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad (CEDES). You will also visit workers taking on factory bosses as well as feminist and other grassroots activists advocating for human rights and social welfare.

During your excursions to Patagonia, Salta, Jujuy, and Rosario, you’ll meet rural families struggling to maintain their livelihoods and indigenous communities organizing to retain their territory, identity, and natural resources. You will learn about the impacts of tourism, mining, and development and visit local organizations working to preserve their culture and the environment.

You will also have the opportunity to develop your Spanish language skills related to human rights and social movements through 45 hours of classroom learning, cultural immersion, homestays, and excursions.

Highlights

  • Visit grassroots organizations fighting for human rights and social welfare.
  • Hone your Spanish skills through homestays and classroom and field instruction.
  • Get a firsthand look at Argentina’s prolific and dynamic social movements.
  • A Patagonia excursion looks at human involvement in the natural environment.

Prerequisites

Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation 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.

Excursions

North Western Argentina and Rosario, Santa Fé

On a two-week excursion, examine indigenous and gender movements, social economy, and opposition to mining. Based in Salta, you’ll study at the National University of Salta and visit women’s rights and community organizations. See the impact of tourism on the Quebrada de Humahuaca Valley and learn about environmental opposition to the Salt Flats mining projects. In the port city of Rosario, learn about the consequences of the real estate boom, agribusiness development, pollution, and drug trafficking.

Patagonia 

A one-week Patagonia excursion focuses on human rights and social movements addressing the challenges of human involvement in the natural environment. In Bariloche, witness the impacts of tourism and impoverished communities’ efforts to access land. In Mapuche communities, observe indigenous groups’ battles for recognition from the government and fight for community land rights. In Nahuel Huapi national park, gain a broader definition of sustainable management and development as a cultural and environmental issue.

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

Academics

Coursework

Access virtual library guide.

Conducted in Spanish, courses include lectures and discussions on the political and social history of Argentina; human rights and the struggle for justice, from theoretical and applied perspectives; and theory and practice of social movements, including the future of social movements and their challenges in the international context. The Research Methods and Ethics course addresses culturally appropriate, ethical field methodology in preparation for the Independent Study Project. Spanish language study bolsters students’ ability to communicate, conduct field research, and delve deeply into the culture and theme of the program.

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.

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

Key Topics

  • The international system of human rights protection
  • The relationship between social movements and human rights
  • Social movements and human rights organizations in Latin America
  • Argentina’s political, economic, and social history
  • Environmental rights and anti-mining movements

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, and popular education. This class is taught primarily in Buenos Aires but also in Salta, Jujuy, and Santa Fe. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

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 then 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.

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.

Course Options

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:

  • Labor rights
  • Environmental rights and neo-extractivism
  • Memory and memorialization
  • Indigenous rights and community
  • Art as a tool for social transformation
  • Issues of identity
  • Women’s rights
  • Sexual and reproductive rights
  • LGBTQI and human rights in Argentina
  • Rights of migrants
  • Rights of Afro descendants
  • Children’s rights
  • Indigenous and rural community participation in social movements

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, business, 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
  • 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 family in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital and largest city, for six weeks. 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.

Other 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.

Faculty & Staff

Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights

Ana Laura Lobo, PhD Candidate
Academic Director
Eliana Ferradás
Academic Coordinator
Griselda Vallejo
Homestay and Student Affairs Coordinator
María Eugenia Díaz
Program Assistant

Discover the Possibilities

  • COST & SCHOLARSHIPS

    SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

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  • ACCESSIBILITY

    Prepare for an accessible educational experience with SIT Study Aborad! In-country conditions and resources vary by site. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact disabilityservices@sit.edu for more information.

    Accessibility Overview
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  • Facebook

    SIT Study Abroad Argentina: Movimientos Sociales y Derechos Humanos
    @SITArgentinaARR

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  • ARR Human Rights class

    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.

    Learn More
  • 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.

    Learn More