«PROGRAM IN LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES NEWSLETTER LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR 2012–13 Dear Colleagues and Friends of PLAS: 2012–13 was another great year ...»
STUDENT TRIP TO COLOMBIA: FALL 2012 From September 29–October 6, 2012 a group of Princeton University graduate students were given the opportunity to travel to Medellín, Colombia, as part of a studio led by Giancarlo Mazzanti. The trip allowed the students to discover both the residue of a violent history and the inspiring current situation through a week long journey across the transforming city of Medellín. The itinerary covered patches of the city that are in various states of development; from the vital downtown area to the informal settlements along the edge of the city. After the trip, the students were assigned an architecture project in La Honda, an area that is inhabited by informal settlers along the north eastern edge of Medellín. The aim of the trip was to expose students to this unique environment in order to grasp an understanding of the climate they were going to be working in once they arrived back in Princeton.
Upon arrival, the students were taken to the neighborhood Santo Domingo which originated as an Pictured from left: Ignacio González Galán, informal settlement, but has since transformed significantly due to a number of urban interventions Cyrus Penarroyo, Ana Knoell, Juliana Zamsuch as the Metrocable (a cable car) and several stairs and bridges that connect distant communities.
brano (from El Equipo de Mazzanti), Lindsey The group paid a visit to Parque Biblioteca España, designed by El Equipo de Mazzanti, and observed May, Ju-Young Yoon, Cong Wang, Loren Yu, the integration of the project within the community, followed by a walk through Santo Domingo. Most Fei Wang, Dorit Aviv, Han Dong, Andrew students were taken by the richness of the neighborhood; the variety of smell, sound, and color. Frame; at Parque Explora After this overwhelming first impression, the following days were spent strolling through the downtown, listening to lectures by urbanists that work for the city of Medellín, visiting projects, and meeting their young and ambitious architects.
Among these projects were the Aquatic Centre by Paisajes Emergentes; the Orquideorama by Plan B and JPRCR Architects, located inside the Jardín Botánico de Medellín; Parque Explora by Alejandro Echeverri Arquitectos; and the Coliseos by Giancarlo Mazzanti and Felipe Mesa.
The last days were devoted to further exploring the attempt to improve community living conditions through architectural projects. The students visited another three public community libraries that were designed as part of an urban proposal for a total of 9 library parks by the government of Medellín. They spoke with architect Javier Vera Londoño, who designed the Parque Biblioteca San Javier and walked through another project by Equipo de Mazzanti in San Miguel, Parque Biblioteca La Ladera. Lastly, a van took them to Parque Biblioteca Fernando Botero by G-Ateliers Architecture.
At the end of the trip, the students left Medellín inspired by the efforts of architects to take part in facilitating urban and social change within the city. Throughout the journey, students collected evidence such as sketches, photographs, movies, sound recordings, and mappings to incorporate research gathered from the trip into their projects. The trip opened their eyes to the combined practices of architects, urban planners, and policy makers that are active in the city of Medellín and served as a basis for starting the assignment in La Honda.
PROGRAM IN LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES NEWSLETTERCOURSES
Fall 2013-14 LAS Courses In fall 2013–14, five courses will be taught by PLAS visiting scholars. For updated information and a complete list of courses on Latin American topics (including LAS courses, cross-listed courses, and courses of interest), please visit our webpage.
LAS 329 The Literary Works of Mario Vargas Llosa in their artistic, intellectual and political contexts This course will examine the literary trajectory of Mario Vargas Llosa, giving pride of place to eight novels and two plays that speak to his native Peru. We will also read several of his major essays. The course will explore the works of art, political experiences, and intellectual currents that
inform Vargas Llosa’s creative process, and we will count on the author’s presence during five or six of the twelve sessions. Other information:
Mario Vargas Llosa will be a co-instructor of this course. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Course will be taught in Spanish.
Efraín Kristal and Mario Vargas Llosa. Schedule: S01 1:30 p.m.–4:20 p.m. T.
LAS 401/SPA 412/LAO 401 Latin American Studies Seminar: Islands, Literature, and History in Latin America and the Caribbean How have islands been depicted in literature, historical narratives, film, and popular culture? How have empires, from the Spanish conquest to Guantánamo, reinvented the Caribbean islands as tropical paradises or as very real prisons? We consider the ways in which nationalist discourse, slavery and marronage, revolutions, military occupations, and tourism have shaped collective memory in the “sugar islands.” We will also explore questions of exit, voice, and loyalty in Caribbean diasporic communities. The Tempest, More´s Utopia and Robinson Crusoe will provide starting points for rethinking key poetic and political traditions at play. Prerequisites and Restrictions: 200-level Spanish class or permission of Instructor. Open to Juniors and Seniors. Graduate students are encouraged to enroll. Other Information: The course will be taught in Spanish.
Readings and discussion in Spanish and English. Participation in seminar discussion is important. Papers may be written in English but Spanish concentrators wishing to count the course as a departmental must do the readings and written work in Spanish. Program in Latino Studies concentrators must write their papers on topics that engage the US perspective and provide copies of the papers to LAO in order to receive certificate credit. Other Requirements: Open to Juniors, Seniors, and Graduate students Only.
Arcadio Díaz Quiñones. Schedule: S01 1:30 p.m.–4:20 p.m. W.
LAS 402 Latin American Studies Seminar: Economic Analysis of Latin American Development The course pays close attention to human development, individual behaviors, demographic trends, and the welfare impacts of social policy. I propose to look at the microeconomic aspects of the development process in the region and its intricate relation to an evolving social fabric.
Economic theory, sociological insights, and historical accounts are combined in an attempt to understand the various forces that have shaped economic development in Latin America. The first half of the course looks at historic and macroeconomic issues. The second half of the course digs deeper onto microeconomic issues such as poverty, inequality, education, and corruption. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Basic notions of statistics and introductory economics (principles) welcome, but not required.
Marcos Rangel. Schedule: S01 1:30 p.m.–4:20 p.m. F.
LAS 404/COM 428 Latin American Studies Seminar: Jorge Luis Borges in Comparative Contexts We will read Jorge Luis Borges’ creative writings as a concentrated and explicit dialogue with the Western Canon: the Arabian Nights, Cervantes, Dante, Shakespeare, Kafka, Poe, Whitman, and the Jewish tradition. This course will explore the ways in which Borges’ fictions and poems involve rewritings, variations, critical views or corrections of masterpieces of Western Literature, from Don Quixote to Dante’s “Inferno.” Prerequisites and Restrictions: The course will be taught in English. Readings will be available in several languages for those who can read the originals.
Other Information: An oral presentation of approximately 15 minutes is expected of each student.
Efraín Kristal. Schedule: S01 1:30 p.m.–4:20 p.m. Th.
LAS 501/SPA 588 Latin America: Literature and Power This course examines the life/work of twelve representatives of Latin American literature. It is partially based on my book Redeemers: Ideas and Power in Latin America but presents additional material and reflections. The course examines the specific contributions of each writer to the political and economic development of his own country and of the region as a whole. The course emphasizes the biographical aspects of each thinker, an area that has been under-emphasized in Latin America itself. The principal sources will be biographies and autobiographies/ personal letters (as well as exchanges of letters between important figures). Other Information: If the course is full, please email email@example.com to be placed on a waiting list.
Enrique Krauze. Schedule: S01 1:30 p.m.–4:20 p.m. M.
WWW.PRINCETON.EDU/PLAS GUATEMALA (CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4)
interpreting it as an example of indigenous identity (i.e. costume-making, dance steps, music, etc.). We headed back to Antigua shortly after lunch.
On the morning of the last day, I took the students to a nearby coffee finca where they learned about the history of coffee production in Guatemala and discussed issues regarding indigenous participation in a global economy, as well as the topics of land tenure and wage-labor inequalities. After the tour, I brought the students to an adjacent museum established to provide a historical account of indigenous music and festivals from the pre-Columbian up to the present. I took them in the afternoon to the ruins of the San Francisco church, where I gave them a final presentation on the Spanish Baroque period, iconography and painting styles, destruction of the town of Antigua in the 18th century, and rebuilding measures taken by local townspeople (with the aid of foreign tourism dollars).
The students were excited to see many of the things which they had read about in class (both in terms of content and theory) in person and on the ground. Three of them have noted that they plan on returning in the near future and I hope that the new contacts they have made will help them pursue future research projects in Guatemala if they choose. Finally, two of them told me that what they experienced firsthand has helped them reframe some of the issues which they are tackling in their final seminar papers as well as their junior paper and senior theses (one student returned in January 2013). It was a wonderful opportunity for all of us to discuss the seminar’s topics while visiting Guatemala and for the students to traverse the (at times) frustrating barrier between the classroom and world. I am grateful to PLAS, the Department of Anthropology, and the Fred Fox Fund for helping make this possible. This trip truly embodied Princeton University’s internationalization efforts in that this experience helped to enhance the teaching and learning that took place in the seminar, allowing the students to enrich and expand their education with this firsthand encounter.
REPORT FROM THE FIELD (CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8)
including a Honduran island off of the Pacific coast (Amapala). On these brigadas, we were able to complete hundreds of eye exams and distribute eyeglasses to all patients who needed them, in addition to arranging for patients with severe eye problems (like advanced cataracts) to be transported back to the clinic in Tegucigalpa for surgery. It was heartwarming to experience the immense gratitude the patients expressed to us for our assistance in improving their vision, but even more rewarding was knowing that their improved eyesight would make an important difference in their daily lives and work.
Regarding the research component of my proposed trip, I was able to carry out a research project for UFS on perceptions of children’s eye care by mothers and caretakers. There were three specific objectives: determining to what degree children in Honduras are being provided eye care, investigating which perceptions or social factors may be preventing children from having access to eye care in Honduras, and exploring a possible relationship between poverty and the former two topics. In particular, survey data gathered from non-paying patients on the brigadas Elliot with ophthalmologist Dr. Flores and paying patients at the ZOE clinic will be contrasted in order to determine whether there is a difference in these above factors among these two populations and, if so, why this difference is occurring. While in Honduras, I was able to interview 100 patients at the clinic and 60 patients during the brigadas. Currently, I am in the process of collaborating with a past UFS Global Impact Fellow, who conducted a similar research study at one of UFS’s partner clinics in Ghana, in writing up a joint article drawing from our research at both locations and attempting to get our research published in a global health journal. The research results will be utilized by UFS and the Centro de Salud Integral ZOE to further eliminate barriers to care for Honduran children.
In closing, my service in Honduras was truly a wonderful experience and I learned a great deal about how a global health delivery program functions on the ground. Furthermore, I observed firsthand how extraordinarily beneficial partnerships with capable local health professionals can be to make a real and impactful difference in the health of underserved populations. I am eternally grateful to the Program in Latin American Studies for providing me with the funds to serve as a Global Impact Fellow and carry out my global health research project.
— Ryan Elliot ‘14