ACADEMIA LATINOAMERICANA DE ESPAÑOL
Academic Information and Course Descriptions
Sample – updated fall 2016
Academia Program of Studies
ECUADOR, AN ANDEAN COUNTRY
Profesor: Sebastián Granda Merchán
Community Service Coordinator: Viviana Mosquera
Lecturers: Viviana Maldonado y Nicolás Cuvi
The seminar offers a panoramic view of Ecuador’s economic, political, social, cultural and environmental reality. The seminar focuses its attention on the Ecuadorian reality, but also considers the situation of other countries in the Andean region that share a similar reality. Through different planned activities, the seminar will allow students to understand the principal issues and challenges facing present-day Ecuador, as well as how to reflect and give meaning to their daily lives and experiences.
- Reflect on the cultural immersion process during the semester, and be conscience of the way in which cultural baggage contributes to the fostering and/or obstruction of cultural adaptation.
- Understand the issues that Ecuadorians from different social groups and classes have to face day-to-day, and the strategies they put into play in order to come out ahead.
- Analyze the way in which racism, gender discrimination, and social inequality manifests in the country; and the various initiatives that different marginalized groups put into action for improving their own conditions.
- Gather and consolidate different community players’ points of view, through full participation in host family life, community service and at the university; and through the implementation of qualitative research techniques.
- Demonstrate respect and understanding of cultural beliefs and practices even though they may differ from one’s own beliefs and practices.
The seminar includes the following activities: discussion sessions, community service, study trips and the host family stay.
a. Discussion Sessions
These sessions will take place every Tuesday afternoon from 2:30-4:30pm. The sessions will offer a unique space for deep discussion and analysis of topics and questions that emerge from daily life, community service, host family living and assigned readings. Student participation in the sessions is fundamental. For each session, the students must have read the selected material and prepare a written report in which they analyze and provide an opinion about questions found in the reading. In some sessions, students will be in charge of leading the discussion.
b. Community Service
The community service component represents an excellent opportunity to learn about the situation of Ecuador’s most vulnerable groups and the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and religious organizations that work in favor of these groups. Each student will designate two weekly sessions (of three hours each) for their community service. One of the responsibilities of the community service consists of maintaining a field journal in which students register their experiences and the most important occurances during their weekly visits to the institution, as well as respond to the questions indicated in the Fieldbook. For the final seminar, students must prepare a visual presentation (photographic) of their community service experience. More information about the field journals and the visual presentation can be found in the Fieldbook.
c. Study Trips
To deepen student’s knowledge about topics discussed in the seminar, students will take part in two study trips. The first will be to the community of San Clemente, an indigenous Quechua community located in the foothills of Imbabura (to the north of Quito). There, students will interact with the indigenous population of the area and will get to know, first hand, its way of life and on-going issues and projects. The second study trip will be to the Pañacocha lagoon in the Amazon Jungle. In Pañacocha, students will be able to appreciate biodiversity and witness various environmental problems that exist in the region.
d. Family Stay
The host family stay is a valuable opportunity that allows students to become involved in Ecuadorian culture and to get to know people of different ages and backgrounds. The program includes two distinct home stays. The first and longest will be in Quito with a professional, middle-class family. The second stay, of a few days, will be with an indigenous family in the community of San Clemente.
Final grading will be calculated in the following way:
|Reports on Readings
|Presentation on Community Service
Discussion Topics and Assignments
||– Overview of the seminar: objectives, topics, methodology, and evaluation.
||-Letter to family (see Fieldbook)
-My host family and kinship relations (see Fieldbook)
||-Panoramic view of Ecuador: geography, demographics, economy and politics
||-Reading: John Creswell, Qualitative inquiry and research design (chapter 4)
||-Qualitative research and its principal focus
||-Select and describe the topic for the ISP (in writing)
-Field Journal 1 (See Fieldbook)
||-Presentation of research topics
-Research design plan
|-Design research plan
||-Principal economic, political and social changes in Ecuador since 1950
||-Report on reading: Carlos de la Torre and Andrés Ortiz, Populist polarization and the slow death of democracy in Ecuador
||-The Citizen’s Revolution: goals, contradictions, and conflicts
||-In-depth Interview: Gender Discrimination in Ecuador (see Fieldbook)
-Field Journal 2 (see Fieldbook)
||-Gender discrimination and the Women’s’ Movement in Ecuador.
||-Participant observation report about the rural experience (see Fieldbook)
||– Social inequality and poverty in Ecuador
||-Field Journal 3 (see Fieldbook)
||-Education in Ecuador: changes, achievements, and challenges
||-Report on reading: Carmen Martínez, The “Citizen´s Revolution” and the indigenous movement in Ecuador…
||-The indigenous movement and the plurinational state
||-Report on Reading: Ivette Vallejo, Petróleo, desarrollo y naturaleza…
||-Extraction and the environment in Ecuador
||-Fictional story based on experience in the Amazon (see Fieldbook)
||-Ecuadorian identity: dispute about its meaning
||-Prepare for the final evaluation
-Field Journal 4 (see Fieldbook)
||-Prepare visual presentation on community service experience (see Fieldbook)
||-Visual presentation on community service experience
|-Prepare ISP oral presentation
-Prepare ISP draft
||-ISP Oral presentation
-Turn in ISP draft
|-Prepare ISP oral presentation
-Advance on ISP
||-ISP oral presentation
||-Prepare final version of ISP
||-Turn in final ISP
- Creswell, John W, Qualitative inquiry and research design, Thousand Oaks – California: Sage Publications, 2007.
- Chambis, Daniel, y Russell K. Schutt, Making sense of the social world. Methods of investigation, Thousand Oaks – California, Sage Publications, 2004.
- California: Sage Publications, 2007.
- Martinez, Carmen, “The “Citizen´s Revolution” and the indigenous movement in Ecuador: re-centering the Ecuadorian state at the expense of social movements”. Ponencia presentada en el seminario internacional Estados descentrados: formación y deformación política en los Andes, organizado por FLACSO y Emory University, 2010.
- Pagnotta, Chiara, “La identidad nacional ecuatoriana entre límites externos e internos”, Amérique Latine Histoire et Mémoire. Les Cahiers ALHIM , 16, 2008. Disponible en: http://alhim.revues.org/index3061.html
During the semester in Ecuador, students will carry out a series of exercises that will allow them to reflect on their own experience in Ecuador, as well as prepare them for the process of collecting information necessary for the development of their Independent Research Project (ISP).
Exercise 1: Letter to My Family or Friends Back Home
Students will write a letter to a member of their respective families: father, mother, siblings. The letter should emphasize first impressions of Quito, Quiteños and their way of life, as well as the main experiences of cultural adjustment with the host family, outside the home, etc. The letter must be written in Spanish (except with permission by the professor) and be approximately three pages in length, double-spaced.
Exercise 2: Host Family and Kinship Relations
Students will construct a map of their family’s kinship relations. The exercise will consider the extended family that includes grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and other members of the family. The objective of this exercise is not only for the purpose of understanding the host family structure, but also to learn the names of family affiliations (aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparent, grandchild, cousins, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, etc.).
Exercise 3: Fictional Story about the Amazon
Students will write a story in which they record their impressions and experiences from the trip to the Amazon. The story should be minimum three-pages in length, double-spaced. This assignment is completely free form and invites unleashed creativity.
Exercise 4: Gender Discrimination in Ecuador
Students will conduct in-depth interviews with members of their host family and/or their community service institution on the topic of gender discrimination in Quito. Students should follow the steps below:
- Design the interview that is going to be used.
- Interview two people. It is recommended that students interview people of different ages and gender. To capture the information of the interviewee, students should select the most appropriate mechanism: digital recording or simultaneous transcription.
- Write a report (minimum four pages, double-spaced) that includes the most relevant aspects of each interview and notes differences and similarities between perspectives. In the end, students will carry out a comparative exercise between the way gender discrimination is expressed in the United States and Ecuador.
Exercise 5: Rural life and Indigenous Culture
From the San Clemente community stay, describe and analyze an aspect of the way of life and culture of community members: use of medicinal plants, the role of children in agricultural work, gender roles in indigenous families, etc.
For the above, students will perform a participant observation exercise during their rural experience and time living among indigenous families. The exercise should follow the steps below:
- Clearly define a topic that will be observed, for example: gender roles in the indigenous community.
- Design an observation plan.
- Observe the selected topic area and make notes in the field journal.
- Write a report (minimum four pages, double-spaced) in which the collected information is presented and an interpretation of the information is discussed.
Exercise 6: My Community Service Experience
Students must record in their field journals the most important facts and events that occur during their community service visits. In addition to noting their experiences and daily events, students should record the following in their diaries:
- What is the name of the community service institution?
- What services does the institution offer?
- What type of people look after the institution?
- What activities do you carry out in your community service? (Describe)
- What difficulties do you encounter in the development of activities in your community service site? (Explain)
- Do you consider the activities you carry out in your community service to be useful and/or beneficial for the institution and community? In what ways? (Explain)
- Have you been able to create relationships with those receiving services from the institution and/or with the employees of the institution? (Explain)
- Have relationships with people from the institution been positive or negative? (Explain)
- What challenges did you find in your community service?
- How did you confront these challenges in your community service?
- What did you learn in your community service about the community and the institution with which you collaborated?
Exercise 7: Reports on Readings
Students must write a report on each assigned reading. The first part of the report should include a synthesis of the reading in which the central thesis of the text and main arguments are presented. In the second part of the report, students will analyze and/or comment on one of the text’s themes that interested them.
Exercise 8: Visual Presentation of the Community Service Experience
Students must prepare a visual presentation about their community service experience. Presentations can be photographic but also in video. The presentation must focus on three areas: 1. the institution and its principal characteristics: infrastructure, services offered, etc., 2. the people who benefit from the institution: age, social and ethnic group they belong to, problems they encounter, etc., and 3. Experience working in the institution. In this last part, it is important that the students’ presentations state not only what they learned the most, but also the problems they had to sort out daily.
INDEPENDENT RESEARCH PROJECT
Each student develops a qualitative research project on a specific chosen topic. In the design, development and evaluation of the research, students should put into practice all of the elements discussed in the seminar.
First, students will prepare a written draft of their ISP to present to their ISP tutor two weeks before the seminar ends. With the comments they receive, students must prepare a final paper and submit a printed version and electronic version. The length of the written version is 30 pages that should be accompanied by the bibliography, photos, drawings, maps and other graphic material that complement the written text. The final version will need to be reviewed by a Spanish speaker to avoid linguistical errors.
In order to avoid students leaving the ISP to the last moment, they will present a written report of their progress half way through the semester. This report will be graded and calculated in their final ISP grade.
The research plan must consider the following elements:
- Research focus: narrative-biographic study, qualitative study, ethnographic, etc.
- Justification: Why do I want to research this topic?
- Research question(s): What am I going to research?
- Objectives: For what reason am I going to research? What am I going to achieve at the end of my research?
- Research techniques: What techniques am I going to utilize for the collection of information (interviews, observation, focus groups, other)? In the case where interviews or focus groups are used, it is necessary to be precise about who will be interviewed and who will be part of the focus groups.
- Ethical aspects: Which ethical considerations must I keep in mind when doing fieldwork?
- Schedule: How am I going to organize my time for the development of my research?
- Bibliography: What materials am I going to use? For example: books, articles, journals, newspapers, etc.
Presentation of Research
The final version of the research project must contain the following parts
- Cover page:
- Name of the seminar
- Title of the research project
- Abstract: Written in English and following the specifications of Pitzer College: “Abstracts should include the following: 1) Title of project 2) Type of project (internship, research study, apprenticeship, etc.), 3) Field of study for which the project should receive credit (religious studies, sociology, anthropology, music, women’s studies, etc.) 4) A short summary of the project including the following: Here is what I did (including the key research questions I asked). Here is how I did it (methods). Here is what I learned. Overall, the abstract can be very short as long as all of the above is covered”
- Chapters and subchapters
- Bibliography: All sources used for the research: books, journals, newspapers, interviews, informal conversations, television programs, lectures, etc.
- Appendix (optional)
The ISP must be submitted in printed and digital copy. The printed version must be ring bound.
The evaluation of the ISP will be calculated in the following way:
Social Sciences Libraries
Biblioteca de la Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)
Dirección: La Pradera E7-174 y Av. Diego de Almagro
Biblioteca virtual: www.flacso.org
Biblioteca de la Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar (UASB)
Dirección: Toledo N22-80 (Plaza Brasilia)
Catálogo electrónico: www.uasb.edu.ec
Social Science Journals
- Iconos. Revista de Ciencias Sociales de la Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales
- Ecuador Debate. Revista de Ciencias Sociales de Centro Andino de Acción Popular
Ambas revistas pueden ser encontradas en el repositorio digital FLACSO Andes, www.flacsoandes.edu.ec
Links for critical thinking resources