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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
June 26, 2016
Canadian Excellence


GS 310/410 - Development, Justice and Sustainable Communities (Chile)

WLU Intersession field course in Chile, May 2016

Development, Justice and Sustainable Communities 

An interdisciplinary course open to students from across faculties

Can be taken as GS310 (0.5 credits) or GS410 (1.0 credit)


We will spend a week at WLU's Waterloo campus, followed by three weeks in Chile, exploring questions of environment, development and social justice in rural and indigenous communities. The course will include a general introduction to Chilean history, culture and politics, followed by field excursions focused on two core themes:

1. Growing Alternatives: agro-ecology and food system alternatives in Chile’s Bío Bío Region

2. Identities and Autonomies:  Mapuche indigenous communities’ struggles for land, livelihood and self-determination

Locations and activities: The course will include stays in Chile's capital, Santiago, as well as several southern cities. A significant portion of the course will be based out of the country's second largest urban region of Concepción, where classes and guest lectures will be hosted at the Universidad de Concepción ( Course activities will include roughly 8-10 full days in community field sites around the Bío Bío and Araucanía regions.

For a full background document about the course:

Eligibility: Students from across faculties are invited to consider joining the class. There are no specific prerequisites for the course, although students must demonstrate that they are on track (with a sufficient GPA) towards graduation in their honours disciplines. The coursework will require students to engage with a range of academic concepts and approaches from across the social sciences and humanities. Registration will be granted by permission of the instructor, Dr. Alex Latta.

Cost: The total cost of the trip (not including tuition), is currently estimated at $3100. Final cost may vary +/- $200, depending on the cost of airfare and the exchange rate in January 2016.

Language: though some capacity in the Spanish language will enhance the experience, it is not required and translation will be provided.

About the instructor: Dr. Alex Latta has spent more than a decade travelling and conducting research in Chile, with a focus on environmental questions, citizenship, indigenous rights and social justice. For more information on his research, please visit his faculty web site:

For more information about the course: please contact Dr. Latta