Peru 2003 Winter Term Study Abroad Course

GST 211-IS

January 3-27, 2003



The Living Heritage of the Andes:

Language, Culture and Society in Peru


Professor Thomas Henricks                                                                               Professor Ernest Lunsford

Department of Sociology and Anthropology                                       Department of Foreign Languages

Sociology and Anthropology House #202                                                                                   Carlton 228

278-6446                                                                                                                                             278-5648                                                                                                


Peru was the center of the ancient Inca Empire, and today it is world famous for its archaeological splendors and colorful native cultures.  The Spanish conquistadors were lured to Peru by tales of fabulous treasures of silver and gold.  But they were astonished to discover the architecture and culture of the highly organized and sophisticated Incas, who built their stone-walled cities high in the rugged terrain of the Peruvian Andes.  Visitors today experience not only these wonders of the ancient world but also the profound legacy of Spanish colonialism and the enduring traditions of the largest indigenous population in South America.  Peru remains a fascinating mixture of old and new; of cosmopolitan centers such as Lima, Arequipa and Cuzco; and tiny, remote villages; of beautiful coastlines, fascinating deserts, high mountains, and dense jungles.  Under the leadership of the Elon professors and experienced local guides, students will explore the diversity of this ancient, yet vital culture.  Come with us for the experience of a lifetime!


About the Course:


          This interdisciplinary course combines study of the language, history, culture, politics and environment of this storied country.  No prior knowledge of Spanish is required for enrollment, but students will have the opportunity to develop basic conversational skills. The course will also feature group discussions focusing on the richness of Peru's heritage and culture in a global context.  This four semester hour course partially fulfills Liberal Studies requirements in the areas of Civilization and Society.  It also satisfies the university's Experiential Learning requirement.


Student Learning Objectives



a) To understand fundamental aspects of contemporary Peruvian society - including critical economic and political issues, religious traditions, family patterns, healthcare practices, artistic and musical forms, and habits of daily living. 


b) To know broad themes of Peruvian history, especially the tension between Spanish colonialism and the cultures of indigenous peoples.  The course will explore the ways in which these patterns of cultural heritage continue to influence the lives of modern Peruvians.


c) To develop conversational ability in Spanish so as to enable each student to function on his/her own in Peru and to interact on an elementary level with non-English-speaking Peruvians. Prior knowledge of Spanish is not a prerequisite for this course, but attaining an elementary level of proficiency in "survival Spanish" is a course objective.


d) To appreciate the high levels of cultural sophistication and complexity exhibited by the Incas and their ancestors before the arrival of the Europeans.


e) To experience the amazing diversity of Peru's natural environment and to witness how humans have responded to that land and its resources.


f) To show respect for Peruvian people and their customs and to think deeply about why their practices may differ from our own beliefs and practices in the United States.


g) To develop one's abilities as a traveler in another country - including the enhancement of intellectual curiosity, tolerance of differing worldviews, personal fortitude, self-confidence in unfamiliar situations, and cooperation with others.



The course has four mandatory meetings during the Fall 2002 semester*.  These meetings will be on the following dates:

· Tuesday, October 22,     4:00-5:00 p.m.
· Tuesday, November 5,   4:00-5:00 p.m.

· Tuesday, November 19,  4:00-5:00 p.m.
· Tuesday, December 3,    4:00-5:00 p.m.



Required Textbooks:


Holligan de Díaz-Limaco, Jane.  Peru in focus.  New York:  Interlink Books, 2000.

Latin American Spanish Phrase Book and Dictionary. Berlitz

Insight Guides:  Peru.  APA Publications, 2002


All three are required for the course.  Bring these books with you to Peru in January.  Also bring your survival Spanish sheets.




Grade for the Course


Your final grade for the course will be determined as follows:


1) Participation                                     25%

2) Knowledge of Peruvian culture                     25%

3) Spanish                                                        25%

4) Final reflective paper                                    25%


Total                                                                100%




1) Enthusiastic and engaged participation in all course activities will earn you high marks in this category.  Be observant, be interested, be on time to events, be courteous to your companions and respectful to Peruvians, be helpful, be patient.  Ask yourself whether you have made this experience better for others.  Complainers and grouches score poorly in this category.


2) This portion of your grade will be based on the intellectual curiosity and knowledge you show regarding Peruvian society and history.  Familiarize yourself with our course books and ask informed opinions of our guides and course professors.  Complete any assigned observational exercises/activities and requests for written reactions or responses to these.  Participate in group discussions on these issues.  A critical element of this part of your grade will be the results of a written exam that will take place in Cuzco (date to be determined.)


3)  Your grade in Spanish will be based on an oral exam (January 18), testing your ability to use basic, conversational Spanish for survival needs, (such as how to get from one place to another, how to order a meal, how to buy things in the market, how to tell someone that you are ill,  etc.)  This grade will take into account whether or not you have studied Spanish prior to taking this course.  You will also earn high marks for putting your Spanish (no matter how limited) into practice with Peruvians throughout the month.  Every time Professor Lunsford hears you using your Spanish with a Peruvian, your grade improves!  Every time you ask him how to say something in Spanish and then attempt to communicate with Peruvians in Spanish yourself,  rather than relying on him or relying on Peruvians’ knowledge of English, your grade improves!


4) The final component of your grade will be a more formal essay, which you will consider during your time in Peru and complete after your return.  For that essay, you will research and analyze one aspect of Peruvian culture (e.g., music, contemporary politics, wealth inequality, themes of Inca social organization, Spanish colonialism, architecture, environmental issues, challenges facing indigenous people, family life, etc.) that particularly interested you during the course.  Your professors will help guide and approve your topic choice.  The paper should combine your research of various information sources with your own observations and reflections about these matters.  More specific guidelines for the paper, which is due on  Friday, February 21, 2003, will be provided.       





Isabella Cannon Centre for International Studies


24-hours per day/7 days per week:      (336) 278-6700*


Fax:                                                                        (336) 278-6692




Bettina Brown (home):                                       (336) 584-2943

Dean Rich (home):                                              (336) 229-5996


*NOTE:  After hours and on weekends, calls to this number will be forwarded to the cell phones of Dean Rich and Bettina Brown of the Isabella Cannon Centre for International Studies.  Someone from the office will be on call around the clock during our stay in Peru.


If a family member needs to contact you for emergency reasons while you are in Peru, the best way to do so is to call the Isabella Cannon Centre and let someone on the staff contact you in Peru.   Then you can return the call to the United States.   The group leaders will be in constant contact with the Isabella Cannon Centre, so that the staff there will know where we are throughout our time in Peru.


Final Word


                Approach this study course with an open mind and ample academic preparation and you will most likely have one of the most amazing experiences of your whole life during January 2003.  We look forward to sharing it with you.