Field School in Peru

Photo collage from Peru trip

Description of the Program

Among the many off-campus study offerings at Bellarmine, students in Environmental Studies have the opportunity to attend a field school in Peru during the May semester. This off-campus study program began in 2014 and combines courses from among multiple disciplines, including environment, anthropology, theology, and literature. Students visit Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca, among other sites during the three-week course. Descriptions of the courses are given below.

Explore the Peru Field School

...through the lens of Brian Ullrich ('16), Environmental Studies major and 2014 Peru Field School participant,

 

...or through the lens of Kristin McGarry, Nursing major and 2015 Peru Field School participant,

 

2016 Course Offerings

ENVS 440/ANTH 241/IDC 301: Food, People, and Place: Peru (Domine/Gatrell)
The course investigates global sustainability in place as it relates to agriculture and the local dynamics of food. Students will observe and participate in community based learning experiences organized around sustainable agriculture—as well as gain a greater understanding of the consequences of rural-to-urban migration, rapid land use change, and urbanization in a developing country--Peru. Additionally, the course explores the nexus between local people, everyday food, and the distinctive cuisine of the region.

THEO 422/IDC 301/IDC 401: World Christianity International Experience (Berghausen)
The religious landscape of Peru is a fascinating fusion of indigenous religions from the Andes and Amazon, Catholicism from Spain, and West African practices. In this course, students will explore the patterns of invasion, resistance, accommodation and adaptation of religious practices that began with the 17th century encounter between these cultures. These themes will be approached, in part, through the lenses of Catholic Social Teaching and Liberation Theology, particularly the role of religion in resisting injustice. The first two weeks of this course will be spent on campus, where these topics will be explored through a series of lectures and discussions. The final two weeks of the term will be spent in Peru, where the instructor and students will take part in additional coursework, service work and field studies in the Sacred Valley, the Altiplano and a series of islands in Lake Titicaca.

2015 Course Offerings

ENVS 440: Natural History of Peru (Bulinski/Strobo)
Peru is a country filled with natural wonders, including the Altiplano highlands and lakes of the Andes, coastal regions, deserts and rainforests. These delicate and fantastically rich ecosystems support some of the highest biodiversity in the world, yet they are affected by the human influences of agriculture, mining and urban population growth, as well as the threat of natural hazards. This class allows students to develop an understanding of how the natural ecosystems of Peru intersect with the anthropogenic forces of a modern world. The first week of this course will be spent on campus, where these topics will be explored through a series of lecture and labs. The final two weeks of the term will be spent in Peru, where the instructor and students will take part in additional coursework, service work and field studies in the Sacred Valley, the Altiplano and a series of islands in Lake Titicaca.

IDC 301/ANTH 241: Peruvian Identity Through Text (Neal)
Does identity create culture? Or does culture create identity? What role does the “outsider” play in constructing our cultural identity? This course, taught in English, will explore the rich heritage of one of the world’s most renowned destinations using texts and media of literary, historical, and cultural significance. Using our surroundings as inspiration, we will examine the concepts of identity and culture while observing the Andean and European legacies through site visits, readings, discussions, lectures, and writing assignments.

2014 Course Offerings

ENVS 440: Natural History of Peru (Bulinski)
Peru is a country filled with natural wonders, including the Altiplano highlands and lakes of the Andes, coastal regions, deserts and rainforests. These delicate and fantastically rich ecosystems support some of the highest biodiversity in the world, yet they are affected by the human influences of agriculture, mining and urban population growth, as well as the threat of natural hazards. This class allows students to develop an understanding of how the natural ecosystems of Peru intersect with the anthropogenic forces of a modern world. The first week of this course will be spent on campus, where these topics will be explored through a series of lecture and labs. The final two weeks of the term will be spent in Peru, where the instructor and students will take part in additional coursework, service work and field studies in the Sacred Valley, the Altiplano and a series of islands in Lake Titicaca.

ANTH 325/IDC 301: Environmental Anthropology (Hutchins)
Machu Picchu, shrouded in mist and mystery, reflects one of the most fascinating encounters between culture and nature. The Incas, and other societies that developed in the rooftop of this hemisphere, carved their identities into the landscape with precision and beauty. Peru is indeed an Andean country, but its eastern flank opens to the Amazon basin, where indigenous cultures wrest food, medicine, and meaning from the rainforest. It has stretches of desert along the Pacific Coast, which include the region of the famous Nazca lines that form giant images of hummingbirds, spiders and monkeys. Lake Titicaca, straddling the border with Bolivia, is home to Aymara and Quechua communities, some of which are atop reed islands that float about the highest navigable lake in the world. This course allows students to study, and in some cases become a living part of, cultures that have developed unique relationships with their natural environments. One key objective is to understand that there are multiple ways of seeing and interacting with our surroundings. We also look at how these relationships are affected by social, political, and economic inequalities.