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Study Abroad in


University of Arizona Study Abroad
Programa Internacional de Educación y Acción Social (IDEAS)

Human rights, visual ethnography, history, social engagement

The Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona invites you to participate in its renowned
study abroad program in Guatemala, the International Program for Education and Social Action (IDEAS). We
partner with the Association for the Advancement of the Social Sciences in Guatemala, AVANCSO one of
Guatemala's leading intellectual centers that emphasizes the connection between research and social action.
Classes are held at El Sitio Cultural Center in Antigua, Guatemala a stunningly beautiful World Heritage and
students live with Guatemalan families in Antigua.
The IDEAS study abroad program in Guatemala is a unique experience that combines rigorous academics with
for-credit internships that engage students in a transformational pedagogy. Our program weaves together
theoretical and practical engagement in themes such as development, public health, ethnic relations, human
rights, visual anthropology, and indigenous politics with ongoing reflection of current events, home-stay
experiences, top-notch language training and encounters with Guatemalan activists, artists, students and
scholars. You will be opening yourself to sights and sounds, thoughts and feelings of a country known equally
for its spectacular beauty and deep social contrasts. Our goal is to give you a prism with which to analyze the
present and build your personal and professional future in relation to a rapidly changing and increasingly
challenged planet and its people.
Your experience in Guatemala will be enriched by a colloquium series with nationally and internationally
recognized experts. The colloquium leads to in-depth discussions on topics such as contemporary arts,
migrations, public health, the peace process in Guatemala, historical memory and human rights, grassroots
development, the Central American migration crisis, and the significance of democracy in Guatemala and the
Field trips, included in the program and led by experts from the region, will enable you to see for yourself how
Guatemalans from different walks of life live and work amid cultural, social, environmental, and political
challenges. You’ll experience firsthand the realities that define life in the country today. The field trips are
connected to the academic courses and will vary from session to session.
The program offers long weekends so that you can travel to Guatemala's diverse regions, from the ancient
Mayan temples of the Petén jungle, to highland indigenous markets, to the black sand beaches of the Pacific
coast. You can also enjoy Antigua's vibrant cultural and intellectual life, including its renowned libraries and
museums, lively cafes, and beautiful colonial architecture and cobblestone streets, under the shadow of
stunning volcanoes.
Courses offered

SPAN 330: Intermediate Conversation (3 credits). Offered continuously.
For students who wish to improve
their oral skills within a dynamic cultural context.

SPAN 425: Advanced Grammar and Composition (3 credits). Offered continuously. For advanced students
who wish to perfect their speaking and writing skills.

Latin American Studies** 462 Special Topics in Contemporary Latin America: Women Writers in
Guatemala. (3 credits).

Taught by Ruben Najera. Professor Nájera is a Guatemalan playwright, essayist, and poet. He has received
several awards including the Premio Mesoamericano de Poesía "Luis Cardoza y Aragón" in 2009. Women
writers who will be invited to participate in the course include Carmen Matute, Delia Quiñónez, Carol
Zardetto, and Denise Phefunchal, among others.

This course is a survey of women writers in Guatemala from the colonial period to the present day. We will
explore the works of these artists in order to understand how they saw themselves, their country and their
times, as well as their strategies to overcome marginalization and suppression. In this course we will try to
listen to their literary voices and we will meet and discuss with contemporary women writers. We will also
study the emerging role of Mayan women writers.

Latin American Studies 462/Anthropology 495 Special Topics in Contemporary Latin America: Seeing
Guatemala? Visual Anthropology (3 credit seminar/workshop)

Taught by Dr. Alejandro Flores Aguilar, this seminar/workshop will allow you to rethink the Guatemala that
you are encountering. We will focus on a study of the intersection of politics and aesthetics through different
lenses of Visual Anthropology. The course combines reading and intensive discussion of essential texts from
Philosophy and Visual Anthropology. The other part of the seminar/workshop will focus on group projects
where students will engage in producing visual projects around Antigua and other places in Guatemala in
order to produce ethnographic micro-histories. The objective of this course is that the students rethink their
visual engagement with Guatemala and acquire the basic theoretical and practical tools to use visual
anthropology tools in their future professional development.

* University of Arizona credit
** Note not all LAS 3 Credit Courses are offered every semester—final course offerings depend on student interest/enrollment. All
courses (except Spanish) are also available for honors or graduate credit.
Courses offered

Latin American Studies 462/Anthropology 495 Special Topics in Contemporary Latin America: Central
American Narratives of Identity and Nationhood. (3 credits).

Taught by Professor Ricardo Lima (Ph.D., Rice University). Professor Lima is a Guatemalan anthropologist,
professor, and former head of the School of Humanities at the Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala
City. Fluent in Spanish, English and Kaqchikel-Maya, he has researched and written extensively on subaltern
politics, interculturality and bilingual education. He is a former director of the University of Arizona's
Guatemala study abroad program.

This course provides an introduction to Central America’s multicultural reality, specifically Guatemala’s
cultural diversity. With a multidisciplinary approach, the course uses tools from cultural studies and
postcolonial/subaltern studies to provide an introduction to Mayan cosmovision and a dynamic view of
modern Mayan culture, as well as analyze the hegemonic cultural relations that shape the definition of
development, citizenship and nationhood in Guatemala. Guest lecturers in this course include a Mayan Ajkib’
or one who counts days.

Latin American Studies 462 Rethinking Public Health in Guatemala: State, Community and Difference in
Theory and Practice (3-4 credits). Offered with sufficient interest.

This class has been taught by Professor Juan Carlos Verdugo. Professor Verdugo is a Guatemalan medical
doctor with extensive experience in public health policies. He is the founder of the Institute for Inclusive Health, an
award-winning community-based integrated health project in rural Guatemala.

In Guatemala, a country with soaring rates of infant mortality and a growing gap between rich and poor and
between indigenous and non-indigenous, health practitioners and activists understand critical, integral public
health as a key link in the processes of building a more just society. This course takes as its starting point the
premise that attention to the historical-structural limits and emerging alternatives in health care in
Guatemala serves as a lens for grasping broader economic, political, social, and cultural issues of

Guatemala has one of the highest levels of malnutrition in all of Latin America. At the same time, historical
patterns of discrimination and exclusion mean that alternative health care models, such as Mayan and
community-based initiatives, are not taken into account within official public health programs. To confront
these problems, a new inclusive health care model (MIS) has been developed, which breaks with the existing
structural discrimination and creates an integrated and inclusive attention based on the right to primary
Courses offered

health care, inter-cultural respect, gender equity and harmony with the environment. This model has
achieved notable grassroots success.

In this course you will come to understand key tensions in Guatemala through a rethinking of national and
community public health policies and practices. Specifically, this course will draw on three analytical lenses --
human rights perspectives, intercultural relevance and gender equity--- to deepen your understanding of how
the health system is structured in Guatemala, and what integral and inclusive models of health care exist.

Latin American Studies 462 Biopolitics, the sensorial, and ordinary life: migrations. (3 credits

Taught by Dr. Flores, this course is an introduction to the theory of biopolitics, sensorial ethnography and the
complexities of migrating dynamics and its consequences on the social fabric of local communities.

Latin American Studies 499: History, Ideas and Praxis: Thought and Action of Study Abroad in
Guatemala (1 credit). Offered continuously.

Taught by Professor María Aguilar. Professor Aguilar is a Mayan Historian, Ph.D. candidate at Tulane
University, whose research focuses on human rights and Guatemala’s repressive police during the military
regimes in second half of the 20th century.

This 1-credit special class is required for all Guatemala study abroad students. The class will provide you with
the tools to weave together the various facets of your study abroad experience in a critical way that benefits
your final project and helps you to grasp the relationship between theory and practice, as well as interrogate
the power-laden dynamics underlying taken-for-granted ideas.

The course also aims to introduce students to themes that have historically shaped Guatemala, a country that
is not unified by a single language, shared geography or ethnic group. Throughout the semester we will use
readings, films, peer review, and current events to foment debate and analysis amongst the group.

Latin American Studies 495F: Colloquium in Latin American Studies (1 credit). Offered continuously.

Through a weekly lecture series, students are exposed to nationally and internationally recognized experts in
such areas as ethnic relations, contemporary art, historical memory and human rights in Guatemala, the
Central American migration crisis, and the significance of democracy in Guatemala and the region. Required
of all Guatemala study abroad students.
Courses offered

Latin American Studies 499: Independent Study (1-3 credits). Available upon arrangement.

Students work with a designated professor to complete a research project or undertake an in-depth study of
an area of interest. Past projects have included: memory and photography in Guatemala, the peace process,
and US policy in Central America, among others.

Latin American Studies 493: Internship (1-6 credits). Offered continuously.

Study Abroad students are placed with Guatemalan social organizations in and around the Antigua area
according to their interests (advanced students may be placed elsewhere, see below). Students have helped
disabled children, done medical internships, and tutored in an organization that aids children whose families
live by sorting garbage in Guatemala City. The internship program is not just "volunteer tourism," however.

You will gain practical experience collaborating with Guatemalan social organizations, but you will also learn
critical thinking skills to link your internship with your academic work, reflect on the broader issues of global
development politics, and build on this critical experience in your future professional plans. Below is a partial
list of internships.

Los Patojos: after school program with at risk children in Antigua, Los Patojos was
recently featured on CNN:

Obras Sociales Hermano Pedro: hospital for children and adults with special needs and/or physical

Asociación Nuestros Ahijados:

Cirma: Center for Regional Research in Mesoamerica is a non-profit organization dedicated to the
preservation and rescue of visual and documental heritage from Mesoamerican Region,

Casa Jackson: project for malnourished infants,

Camino Seguro (in Guatemala City): Program for at risk children whose parents work in or in conjunction with
the Guatemala City Garbage Dump. Tutoring children, adult literacy, microenterprise,

Advanced students may apply to a for-credit internship program in rural Sololá with the Institute for Inclusive
Health, an award-winning community based health program.
Plans of study

Students can take a maximum of 9 credits during the summer program or 12-15 credits during the semester.
Classes are organized so as to leave Fridays free for travel and Wednesdays free to focus on an internship.

This program offers two tracks: 1) an "academic" track, whereby students take academic classes and can also
do an internship (1 credit during the summer and 3 credits during the semester) and 2) an "internship" track,
whereby students take the bulk of their credits as a supervised internship. All students must enroll in the 1-
credit weekly colloquium and in LAS 499, the 1-credit "synthesis" class. Spanish classes are available to
students in both tracks.
For more information

Contact IDEAS Director Dr. Alejandro Flores at, University of Arizona Professor of
Geography and Latin American Studies, Elizabeth Oglesby Interested students
can also contact University of Arizona Study Abroad Program Coordinator Katie Van Wyk, at or, directly with IDEAS Coordinator, Claudia Alonso

Deadline to apply for Spring session: Oct 25.


IDEAS program director Alejandro Flores holds a Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of
Texas at Austin and a Master’s in Political and Cultural Sociology from the Free University of Berlin. He
worked for almost ten years as a researcher in the area of Social Imaginaries at AVANCSO and has been a
professor in the Department of Social Sciences at the Universidad Rafael Landívar. He has done extensive
ethnographic research in the Maya-Ixil Region and has worked with contemporary artists and promoted
collaborative work with Mayan-Ixil researchers in topics related to human rights, history, aesthetics and post-
counterinsurgency societies.
Alumni experiences