This study tour is intended to immerse students in Andean culture in a way that reflects the cross-disciplinary nature of Latin American Studies as well as Environmental Studies. Therefore, the itinerary and coursework introduce students to the Andean region through multiple disciplinary lenses, with an emphasis on art history, history, political science, and the study of the landscape and environment of this particular region of the world both in PreColumbian and modern contexts. We will be based in the old Inka capital of Cusco, with trips to the ancient and colonial sites of Cuatro Ruinas (including Sacsayhuaman, Q’enko, Tambo Machay, and Puka Pukara), the Sacred Valley sites of Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Maras, Moray, and Machu Picchu as well as the colonial site of Andahuaylillas.
On our way back to the US, we will briefly visit the old city center of Lima, capital of Peru. Students will interact with Peruvians through homestays, a weaving workshop in Chinchero and a ceramics workshop in Cusco. We will study the places we visit with a particular emphasis on Inka, Colonial, and Contemporary approaches to the natural environment. For example, the Inka understood the environment around them to be deified and created art and architecture that communicated with mountains, water sources, rock quarries and/or other features of the surrounding landscape. Spanish (colonial) and Modern Peruvian institutions were created to exploit the environment, and to benefit, in most cases, colonial and international powers.
Contemporary approaches to tourism in Peru focus on environmental impacts of many visitors on the environment. Considered as a whole, the study tour provides students with an overview of Andean culture and indigenous people across time and space from its ancient roots through the present.