Santiago Courses Taught in English: Academic Information

The following courses are open only to students accepted to the spring-only Santiago Center (courses in English) program. Syllabi are available on request. All courses are subject to change and may not be offered every spring.

* Course prefixes and numbers to be confirmed.

Required Courses

All Syracuse students must take the Signature Seminar and one of the following Spanish classes:

Signature Seminar: Contemporary Issues in Chile and Latin America

HST 406/IRP/LAS 334/PSC 428 (3 credits)

Traveling seminar; classroom work at Syracuse Santiago Center. This course examines political, economic and environmental development in Latin America, with a focus on Argentina and Chile as case studies for contrast and comparison. Emphasis will be placed on the countries’ respective dictatorships and the economic models imposed by each one, and common and differing historical legacies and expressions of social justice and welfare. The field seminar includes travel to Argentina (Buenos Aires) and Chile (Patagonia and Valparaiso). Classes consist of lectures and field work and engagement with local NGOs, scholars and communities.

Beginning Spanish

SPA 180 (4 credits)

This is an introductory proficiency-based course for students with limited Spanish language experience. It seeks to develop the five language skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and culture. It prepares you to communicate effectively in written and spoken Spanish on a variety of topics related to yourself, your personal experiences, and everyday situations you might encounter in a Spanish-speaking environment. Communicative objectives include: socializing and greeting, giving and getting autobiographical information, expressing interest and surprise, talking about present and future plans, expressing likes and dislikes, making and understanding simple descriptions, recounting a series of events or recent experiences, discussing daily activities, giving advice and instructions, making requests, and handling simple survival situations. All class activities are in Spanish.

Upon successful completion of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe people, places, and things
  • Give and get information, directions and advice
  • Tell anecdotes and stories
  • Express doubts and opinions about a variety of topics and situations
  • Talk about the future.

Intermediate Spanish

SPA 280 (4 credits)

This is an intermediate level course designed for students who have successfully completed at least two semesters of college-level Spanish (SPA 101 and 102 or the equivalent). SPA280 is a proficiency-based course that reviews understanding of the formal structures of language, refines previously acquired linguistic skills, and builds cultural awareness. Authentic cultural and literary texts are introduced. The course fosters the development of an intermediate level of oral proficiency through the use of authentic readings (both literary and cultural), as well as film and conversation. Class activities and writing tasks will guide you to narrate, describe, report, express personal opinions, and analyze abstract topics. The class is conducted entirely in Spanish.

Your objectives in this course are to develop the abilities to:

  • Give and get information
  • Survive predictable and complicated situations
  • Narrate and describe in present, past, and future time
  • Give subjective and objective opinions
  • Hypothesize about different topics.

Note for Syracuse University students: SPA 180 and 280 are not direct equivalents to the courses offered on main campus. If you intend to continue your Spanish language studies when you return to campus, you will need to take a placement test to determine the appropriate SU SPA course level. (Subsequent Spanish courses taken on the main campus may repeat prior study.)

Optional Courses

In addition to the required courses above, students choose 2 to 3 of the following optional courses for a total of 13-16 credits:

Topics in Media Diversity and Inclusion: Diversity in Contemporary Chilean Film

COM 350 (3 credits)

Taught at U Católica. This course examines Chile’s renascent film industry and how film production has been impacted by diversity issues, with particular emphasis on productions from the past 20 years. You will analyze selected topics that have acquired greater visibility in recent years: immigration, poverty, old age, the experience of the queer community; marginalized political voices silenced by official discourse. These topics will serve as entry points into a broader analysis of the evolution of Chilean society, which, as it becomes more inclusive and open to diversity, registers its transformation through the visual medium of film. 

Syracuse students: This course is equivalent to COM 350 on main campus; you may not receive credit for more than one of the following: COM 346, 348, 350, 380.

Syracuse Newhouse students: This course fulfills your Newhouse diversity requirement within your major.

Pre-req: COM 107/equivalent introduction to mass media course or permission of instructor.

Chilean Identity in Concrete Images: From Indigenous Groups to Contemporary Architecture

CRS/ARC/SOC 380.50 (3 credits)

Taught at U Católica. This course will explore buildings, squares, and monuments around the city of Santiago as representations of identity as well as sources of collective identity. Students will analyze the tension that can be identified between the traditional narrative installed in 1810 at the time of the nation’s founding, and more diverse perspectives that began emerging publicly in the 1960s. In parallel, Santiago’s architecture will be studied as a primary source that relates the main sociological characteristics of santiaguinos and their social class structure, in a city infamous for its social segmentation.

Latin American Economics

ECN 380.9 (3 credits)

Taught at Universidad Diego Portales. This course is primarily designed for undergraduate students with basic knowledge of micro and macroeconomics, but no previous exposition to empirical or theoretical approaches to Latin American countries, economic growth models, or the economics of emerging and less developed economies. The course starts with some historical and current facts about growth and development in Latin America, setting the stage for asking relevant theoretical and policy questions. After that, an interplay between mainstream, universalist growth theories on one hand and locally-focused structuralist models on the other, will shed light on how to productively approach those questions. Texts from David Weil, Ocampo and Ros, and Cimoli and Porcile serve as the basis for this course, supplemented by other readings.

Syracuse students: You may not earn credit for both this course and ECN 310, Latin America Economic Development.

Prerequisite: [ECN 101 AND ECN 102] OR ECN 203, or equivalent background in microeconomics and macroeconomics.

Sustainability and Development in Chile

GEO/IRP 380.23 (3 credits)

Taught at U Católica. Like many developing countries, Chile faces a dilemma: reconciling environmental protections with its traditional economic model. This course explores the challenges Chile faces on its path toward economic development, as recent efforts to strengthen sustainable development and environmental protections clash with the country’s entrenched economic model, based on resource extraction. The struggle is framed within the larger context of recent social and environmental activism and the legacy of the Pinochet dictatorship, which consolidated the extractive model as part of its neoliberal project. Case studies in mining, forestry, and fishing will be analyzed. 

Introduction to Latin American History

HST 380.50 (3 credits)

Taught at Universidad Diego Portales. This introductory survey course of Latin American and World History emphasizes Chilean history, as the course will be taught in Santiago by an expert in that area.  We will explore a number of large and transnational, regional, and historical processes, such as Coloniality, Imperialism, Industrialization, Agrarian Reform, Socialism, Dictatorship, and Democratization, first through an overview of Latin America and the World, and, later, through texts whose primary emphasis is on the way in which everyday Chileans experienced these changes and interacted with state institutions.  The course will close with an analysis of more recent Chilean politics from the 1973 coup to the present, particularly with regard to certain areas of ongoing socio-political conflict, such as struggles over human rights, memory, and gender/sexualities. 

Dictatorships, Human Rights and Historical Memory in Chile and the Southern Cone

HST/IRP/LAS/PSC 424 (3 credits)

Taught at Syracuse Santiago Center. This course focuses on the military coup of 1973 and the systematic implementation of violence and fear as a method of control over society and as a formula for stability during the military government of Augusto Pinochet. Within this context, the course evaluates the significance of this period to the configuration of social, political, and economic aspects of Chile today. We’ll pay particular attention to the role of U.S. foreign policy in the installation of the Pinochet government as well as the impact the U.S. has had on human rights in Chile.

Music of Latin America

HOM 380.4 (3 credits)

Taught at Universidad Diego Portales. The course will focus on developing an understanding of the history, cultural connotations, and sonic traits of Latin American music, aiming to enrich a listening experience devoted to diverse types of popular rhythms and genres that have flourished throughout the continent while enabling discussions around the topic of Latin American identity. In the first stage, we will point out common characteristics of the music of Latin America as a whole, establishing a ground over which we may analyze the detailed particularities of musical expressions from Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, the Andes (a cross-border cultural area ranging from Colombia to Chile, with special prominence in Peru and Bolivia), Argentina and Chile, in a sort of musical journey across the territory. Once in Chile, and having attained a continental perspective, we will study characteristic types of local music, in an effort to understand their genesis, significance, and projections.

Comparative Political Economy: Chile in World Perspective

PSC 380.29 (3 credits)

Taught at Universidad Diego Portales. During the last forty years, there have been extraordinary changes in the political systems of the world, especially in countries outside Western Europe and North America. The peaceful collapse of the communist regimes of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union is among the most dramatic. However, profound changes, though less noticed, have also occurred in Latin America, Africa and Asia. In these regions, democracy seems to be emerging as the preferred type of political system. Paradoxically, at the same time, citizens in long-established democracies in Western Europe and the United States have expressed dissatisfaction with the way democracy is functioning. We are currently experiencing a resurgence of right-wing populism across the world.

Political systems throughout the world face a number of similar challenges in establishing and maintaining democracy. This course is based on the premise that through comparison of these challenges, we can begin to make some generalizations concerning the variables that affect the relative success or failure of distinct countries in balancing the dual challenges of representation and stability inherent in all democratic systems.

The course is divided into four sections. The first deals with theoretical and methodological issues in the field of comparative politics. We will begin by briefly defining comparative politics and outlining the historical development of approaches to its study. The second section of the course focuses on differentiating political regimes, and the actual mechanics of the wide variety of democracies that exist in the world. Particular attention will be given to the institutional arrangements that affect the governability and potential longevity of democratic systems. The third section of the course combines the first two by applying what we have learned to a variety of case studies, including industrialized democracies (Great Britain), post-communist and communist societies (China), and the so-called developing areas (Mexico). The course concludes with an in-depth analysis of the Chilean case applying what we have learned both from the theoretical literature and other cases.

Democratic Institutional Design

PSC 380.30 (3 credits)

Taught at Universidad Diego Portales. During the first decades of the 21st century, the issue of institutional configuration of democracies has gained increased significance, both as a result of crises in long-established democracies, as well as the increasing number of newly democratizing polities. In this course, we will explore the impact of institutions on the quality and performance of democratic regimes. We will begin by analyzing what concretely are formal and informal institutions. We will then go on to explore institutions in authoritarian regimes and the making of institutions.  We will continue with an analysis of executive/legislative relations, political parties and party systems, candidate selection processes, federalism, descriptive representation, and gender quotas. We conclude with a consideration of the state of democracy in the world.  In terms of learning outcomes, the course seeks to provide students an understanding of how each of these variables (and distinct combinations of them) affect the potential workability and quality of democratic systems and their ability to provide a voice for traditionally marginalized groups. We will occasionally rely on case studies to provide examples that underscore particular institutional realities, and though this is a comparative government class, we will make frequent references to dilemmas inherent in US political institutions. 

Other Opportunities and Courses

Any special course request must be made by the published deadline. Please note that enrollment is not guaranteed in classes outside of the Santiago Center (courses in English) program offerings above.

Internships and volunteer work opportunities may be available for certain students starting in mid-March. Placements will depend on interviews and students’ backgrounds, as well as the availability of sites willing to accept non-Spanish speakers. Students may opt to add on 1 credit to an internship by completing an independent study in addition to their on-site work, comprising a research project with a faculty sponsor.