Chile: Political Systems and Economic Development
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During the semester in Chile, students go on several educational excursions in different regions of the country. These excursions give students the opportunity to explore research topics for the Independent Study Project.
The first stop on the southern excursion is in Concepción, capital of the Biobío Region, and the original frontier of the Mapuche territory before the conquest of 1881 by the Chilean state. Students will attend lectures on the region’s economic and political situation at the University of Concepción. They will also visit a coal mine in Lota, a small mining town where the impact of Chile’s globalized economy is fully evident.
Valle de Elicura
Students will have the opportunity to live among Mapuche families in part of the Mapuche’s original territory. Surrounded by the sacred hills of Xeg Xeg and Kay Kay— icons of the Mapuche cosmovision—students will experience the Mapuche’s ongoing struggle to maintain their culture and identity in a modern and globalized Chile. During the stay in Valle de Elicura, students will observe the way a small subsistence farming community is being besieged by forest industry plantations.
Students will also attend on-site lectures by Mapuche academics and social activists on the impact investment projects are having on the Mapuche territory framed within the context of Mapuche history, cultural identity, and current conflicts.
During the excursion to Antofagasta in northern Chile, students will visit one of the world's largest open-pit copper mines. This will give them an opportunity to analyze the impact of globalization and state ownership in a mining region that has strong connections to multinational corporations. Students will meet with mine representatives, workers, and local specialists to discuss the importance of copper production to Chile's economy.
San Pedro de Atacama
During an excursion to the north of Chile, students will have the opportunity to visit the small town of San Pedro de Atacama, once an Atacameño village. (The Atacameño are an indigenous group from the north of Chile.) Students will witness the effects the tourist industry has had over the last few decades on both the area and the lifestyle of its residents.
Throughout the semester, students will also visit businesses, human rights organizations, and social institutions in the Santiago region.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Santiago
Language Study: Spanish
Prerequisites: Coursework in economics, political economy, or development studies; 3 semesters Spanish Read more...
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