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 explore the beautiful North Coast desert as well as the old Inka capital of Cusco. Machu Picchu and the “Sacred Valley” are top on our list of places we’ll visit as well as a Moche pyramid, and various colonial towns, cities, and churches.
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.