Spanish, Social Justice and Sustainable Development in Latin America

BRIEF COURSE DESCRIPTION

Based on the applied research undertaken by the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) and the practical expertise of its faculty, ICDS Spring semester program “Spanish, Social Justice and Sustainable Development in Latin America” gives participants the chance to understand the main challenges that Latin American countries face to secure the sustainability of their development processes. Special emphasis is given to human rights and social justice.

Core courses (required):

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT: A SERVICE-LEARNING COURSE

Community Engagement and Local Development is a course based on service-learning as a pedagogic methodology that prepares college graduates to be active, informed global citizens. This is a credit bearing educational experience that provides students with the opportunity to participate in community work complemented with reflection spaces that open the possibility of making the proper connections with personal values and course contents: social justice, intercultural understanding, sustainability, global citizenship and civic responsibility.  The community work takes place in the context of local human development processes, mainly in urban Costa Rica.

SPANISH LANGUAGE

 

Students can choose three additional courses from the following options:

DEVELOPMENT IN LATIN AMERICA FROM A GENDER PERSPECTIVE

The aim of this course is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the links between gender and development, and to show how equal relations between women and men are both an end and a means of development. The focus is on the implications of gender and development theory for policy and practice, and the need to work on the creation of a more egalitarian society. The analysis is grounded on Latin America but looks into domestic approaches and policies as well as trends in the international arena, fundamental in today’s globalized system.

 

HUMAN RIGHTS IN LATIN AMERICA: A DEVELOPMENTAL APPROACH

This course is aimed at providing students with a profound understanding of the essence of Human Rights, both by analyzing their moral and political grounding, as well as the legal mechanisms in place for their protection at domestic and international levels. The relation between human rights and human development is the main focus that guides the progression of the concepts studied. The first part of the course introduces students to the basic concepts of human rights, their philosophical foundations and historical evolution, including the generational approach. The International Bill of Human Rights is reviewed, and the legal and political implications of cultural relativism discussed. In addition, institutionalized mechanisms for human rights protection are studied, starting with national institutions (the Constitutional Court and the Ombudsman’s Office), moving on to the regional mechanisms (Inter-American Human Rights System), and concluding with the international system (that of the United Nations). The second part of the course focuses on some of the main populations in situations of vulnerability: women, children, indigenous peoples, and migrants. The specific human rights of these groups will be reviewed as well as current efforts to provide them with special protection.

 

CURRENT ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN LATIN AMERICA

This course enables students to understand the most relevant issues and challenges of sustainability in Latin America. To this end, case studies and examples are used as a base for policy discussion. In addition, a practical approach to the environmental green, blue, gray and brown agendas and cross-cutting critical topics (energy, climate change and land-use systems) constitute the mainstay of the course. The course has been structured under the following three main headings: (a) context, important values and principles; (b) threats and sources of threats; and (c) strategies to improve status.

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT

Sustainable tourism refers to nature-based tourism involving education and understanding of the natural environment and its relationship to local communities, managed so as to be ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable. The course is enriched by Costa Rica’s, as well other Latin American countries’ experience in tourism and ecotourism. The course will be given in a seminar form, and will be complemented by guest speakers, tutorials, and field trips that are designed to provide an overview of ecotourism.

 

CENTRAL AMERICAN LITERATURE (taught in Spanish)

This course provides students with the opportunity to study Central American literature through different periods and movements. The class introduces the principal authors of both, the narrative and poetic forms within historical and cultural contexts. In particular, it examines the impact of the revolutionary period of the sixties and seventies to the democratic period of the eighties, as well as the inflow of migrants in a period of globalization on Central America’s literary production. These issues are illustrated and analyzed by new generations of writers relying on a critical assessment of the region and expressed in literary works of high aesthetic level, philosophical depth and structural richness. This course will also provide the students with basic tools for literary analysis.

LATIN AMERICA: A MIRROR OF REALITY THROUGH FILM (taught in Spanish)

This interdisciplinary course seeks to review and analyze the complexity and richness of Latin American culture and history using films as a vehicle to facilitate students´ understanding. The films selected will provide social, historical and ideological frameworks to study the changes which have taken place in contemporary Latin America. The course will be a seminar, encouraging student participation and discussion.