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International Studies Department Announces Spring 2020 Travel Course to Brazil

October 21, 2019
The spring semester course, Brazil: Sustainability, Diversity and Worldview, will deeply investigate meanings and practices of sustainability through experiences in the “living laboratories” of social movements and communities.

The course, led by Andreas Hernandez, Ph.D., Associate Professor of International Studies and Jessica Blatt, Ph.D., Associate Professor Politics and Human Rights, will meet several times during the regular semester, and then in southern Brazil from May 25-June 9.

Sustainability, particularly in the Global South, is often peoples working creatively to protect or recuperate their local ecosystems, to guarantee livelihoods and ways of life over the long-term. The group will homestay in pairs for four days in a Landless Movement community, which is at the core of what may be the world’s most elaborated, democratically-run, agroecological food system, and the homebase will be a Buddhist-inspired ecovillage. The class will also engage with the Guarani Tribe, a quilombo (afro-Brazilian community) and traditional fisherfolk. 

“This experience will truly draw from the “living laboratories” of movements with whom I have been working over the past 15 years in Brazil,” explains Hernandez. “We will live and work for four days with the Brazilian Landless Movement, in what is likely the largest and most elaborated democratically-run system of sustainable agriculture in the world. The Guarani people will receive us - on their own terms. We will spend time with the women of Justa Trama, a woman run cooperative for clothing, that starts with growing organic cotton, and democratically runs the entire process through sales - with all profits going to the women who make the clothes.”

Students are encouraged to attend an info session on October 23 from 3:00-5:00 pm in the Faculty Center conference room, or email Dr. Hernandez for more information.

“With these and other experiences, I believe students will have a fully embodied engagement with some of the most creative and vibrant movements and organizations in Latin America, who are creating pathways for sustainability and social justice,” adds Hernandez. “These sorts of experiences are not possible without years of trust building. And these organizations are excited to meet our students!”