PLS 291 Contemporary Issues: Cultural Immersion and Political Economy in Costa Rica Winter 2013-2014 Jan 5-14 in Costa Rica Professor Niel Brasher Grove 421 email@example.com Course Description: This course explores Costa Rican culture through intensive study on campus and field experience in Costa Rica for 10 days over Winter Recess. Classroom topics include an overview of linguistic, historical, geographical, sociopolitical, economic, and/or cultural themes of the areas visited. This course will combine readings, lecture and discussion with a field-based learning experience. These topics will be considered from a broad perspective that includes history, culture, politics, security, and natural resources in Costa Rica. Topics include political and economic development issues, eco-tourism, sustainable development, biodiversity, language studies, and cultural transmission. Students will participate in a variety of on-site visits and classes, on topics including language, eco-tourism, and bio-diversity. Upon completion, students should be able to exhibit first - hand knowledge of issues pertinent to the host area and demonstrate understanding of cultural differences. We will be working with an organization in Costa Rica, Intercultura located in Samara on the Nicoya Peninsula. They provide home-stay housing as well as language and cultural emersion courses. In addition we will be making a 3-4 day side trip to the Monteverde cloud forest and Arenal Volcano National Park; a visit which includes a boat trip and canopy tour and lecture on rainforest ecology, as well an exploratory trip to a coffee and sugar plantation.. Course Objectives: Provide a basic understanding of economic, political, social, historical and cultural developments of Costa Rica Create a basic understanding of the language of the people of Costa Rica to facilitate cultural understanding and communication Develop students’ ability to think critically and analytically Encourage students to work individually and collectively and participate in class through discussion and presentation activities. Course Structure: Component 1: Component 2: Component 3: Component 4: Component 5: Component 6: Historical Context: From Genocide to Banana Republic to Present Politics and Security: Longest democracy in South/Central America Political Economy: Eco-tourism, Coffee and Bananas Environment: Energy, Deforestation, Biodiversity and Preservation Politics of Human Geography: Population, Immigration and Migration Culture: Religion, Family and Society Readings: No book purchase is necessary. There will be 3-5 readings/articles for each of the components. These will be provided for you. Assessments: Journal Online work Participation Final 25% 25% 25% 25% 100% Journal: You will be expected to keep a journal throughout the course. Prior to departure you should record questions that you might have while in Costa Rica, ideas, topics of interest, etc. Once in Costa Rica you should maintain the journal daily with your observations, answers to your questions, greater information on your chosen topic of interest. Online Work: Prior to departure students will complete 6 quizzes/papers, one from each component. Participation: Class attendance and participation is mandatory. As this is a seminar course as well as a study abroad course, attendance and participation will be worth a major part of your grade. Beyond that, you will have a much better experience if you participate. Final: Upon returning from the trip portion of the course, students will be required to complete a take home examination. Rules: As this is an experiential course, participation will include both in class and on site assessment. The expectation for participation on site is that, in addition to the in-class work there, you will be respectful to your host families, each other, your professor, and the people you encounter. You will obey all conduct rules and stipulations of this university as well as the rules of the Samara Institute. Failure to do so will result in a failing grade for the course.