La Habana, Cuba
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La Habana, Cuba

Course Information: 2018 Summer Session I

Studying abroad can be a more meaningful and invigorating learning experience than at home—both inside and outside of the classroom. You may be more curious and alert than you usually are so use this heightened energy to enhance your studies as well as your cultural and geographical explorations. You may also encounter different teaching styles and course processes; be prepared to adapt and to learn.


You will enroll in three to four credits per summer session. At least one 3-credit course is required each session. Course availability is contingent upon student interest and enrollment and is subject to change.

Cuban History, Society, Politics, and Culture and Latin American Studies
The following courses are designed to familiarize you with the region and provide a multi-disciplinary perspective to your studies. Courses are taught in English unless otherwise noted in Spanish; most courses taught in Spanish are appropriate for students with four or more semesters of college Spanish.

Session I

Session II

To request a course syllabus:

Cultural Enrichment Workshops

Enhance your studies through non-credit workshops designed to provide opportunities for deeper engagement with unique aspects of Cuban life and culture.

  • Discovering Digital Photography (non-credit opportunity)

U.S. Professors

Local faculty teach most USAC courses; however, the following U.S. professors are also teaching as Visiting Professors.

Session II:

Dr. Melanie Ram | California State University, Fresno

Course offered:

Dr. Ram (PhD, George Washington University) has enjoyed teaching International Relations for over a decade to students of all majors.  She previously spent six years working in international development.  Her academic research, development work, foreign language study, and teaching abroad (in Ghana, Spain, and Thailand for USAC) have brought her to several dozen countries.

Course Descriptions

Cuba and its Cultures

Summer Session II (Anthropology, History, Spanish; 400-level; 1 credit)

This course is an introduction to Cuban culture from a historic point of view, as well as in contemporary societies: indigenous peoples, religion, cinema, clothing, food, family, music, women's' role, politics, economy, environment, etc.

The course studies the case of Cuba and its culture, but also refers to other countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

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Cuban Cuisine

Summer Session I (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)

The cuisine functions as an activity that is generated in daily practice and transmitted orally from generation to generation. History is part of civilization and tells about the culture of people. The cuisine is traditional, magic, art, experience, human tenacity and also refined technique.

According to some, has to do with the family inheritance, the transmission of knowledge and a sum of traditions. No one is closer to an artist as we would say that a good cook, but there is some talent to which all human beings are not touched with the same grace.

The kitchen, like music, literature and other arts, is part of the cultural treasure of every nation to be missed. The kitchen is a symbol of identity.

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Dances of Havana and the Caribbean

Summer Session I (Dance; 100-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Dance; 100-level; 1 credit)

The objectives of this course are to understand the antecedents of Latin American dance and to learn to perform correctly folkloric dances from Costa Rica as well as the spicier Caribbean salsa rhythms.

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Government and Politics in Latin America

Summer Session I (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

Politics in Latin America have been changing constantly, according different events that have been happened in its societies. During and after World War II, Latin America and the Caribbean have passed in different behavioral politics, according US foreign policy; but not only the United States intervened on internal issues of each states and governments in the whole region, also former USSR and some Middle East countries (such as Israel) were part of the dynamics of political changes in Latin America and the Caribbean. Besides, the region had been involved in different kinds of wars like revolutionary and contra-revolutionary movements financed by United States and former Soviet Union. Dictatorships, coups d’état, torture and continuous violations of human rights have been arising in South and Central America as well as in the Caribbean.

After the collapse of the “ancient regime” (the Post Cold War period) in the world, secular democracy “returned” to Latin America and the Caribbean region. A new political concept became part of modern analysis as “governance”, culture of peace and democracy by electoral processes promoted societies to vote for a new government. The modern political leaders and modern societies in Latin America and the Caribbean face the difference between “representative democracy” and “participative democracy”. But the question aboutdemocracies solved the problems in the region tends to be more and more questioned by political instability increase in modern Latin American and the Caribbean states.

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Latin American Social Revolutions

Summer Session I (History, Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session I (History, Political Science; 600-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (History, Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (History, Political Science; 600-level; 3 credits)

This course examines the major social revolutions that occurred in Latin America in the 19th and 20th centuries. Beginning with the only successful slave rebellion that brought forth the independent Republic of Haiti (1791-1804), through the Mexican and Cuban Revolutions and going to the Nicaraguan Revolution. The cases of Chile and El Salvador will also be studied. Students will analyze the causes, nature and consequences of these revolutions in America.

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Peoples and Cultures of Cuba and the Caribbean

Summer Session I (400-level; 3 credits)

La forma en que se han constituido los saberes antropológicos en Cuba, comparte rasgos comunes a la de otras sociedades coloniales latinoamericanas. No está ajena al surgimiento de una antropología nativa o sobre el “otro interior” en el marco de la formación de los estados nación. Para comprender la antropología en Cuba habría que comprender el sistema sociopolítico nacional y el contexto histórico en que surge. Al igual que en otra naciones, la formación y consolidación de esta disciplina pasa por la permanente búsqueda de la identidad nacional. Se coloca como antropología que surge en su relación con la formación del Estado –Nación.

El desarrollo de la antropología cubana durante los primeros años hace énfasis en el desarrollo de su otro interior “el negro”, su dirección de estudio se diferencia, digamos, de las antropologías continentales, por la ausencia de los pueblos originarios como en las geoculturas de Sudamérica o Mesoamérica.

El curso plantea las perspectivas teóricas contemporáneas del pensamiento antropológico en el Caribe insular, como expresión de un saber distinto que expresa la compleja realidad socio-económica, cultural y política del área. Entre los temas más recurrentes se encuentran el problema del negro; cultura y “raza”; vida cotidiana; la religión y lo maravilloso. Se darán a conocer las obras y el pensamiento antropológico de Fernando Ortiz; Jean Price-Mars; C.L.R. James; Laënnec Hurbon.

Nuestro objetivo es ofrecer una panorámica general sobre la especificidad y las formas concretas en que se ha manifestado la antropología en el área del Caribe.

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Spanish Conversation and Oral Skills

Summer Session I (Spanish; 300-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Spanish; 300-level; 1 credit)

A course that complements the development of linguistic skills emphasizing the oral mode of the Spanish language. It aims to improve students' ability to maintain a sustained monologue as well as oral interactions.

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Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Latin American Cinema

Summer Session II (Art, Film, Spanish; 300-level; 3 credits)

To study the identity of Latin America should take into account not only historical facts, but also the various expressions of thought and the form people take these expressions to understand its significance.

The course allows a journey in search for roots and contradictions inherent in the process of construction of American identity. On this journey we want to have a global perspective, but at the same time, it is important not to lose sight of the specificity of our continent. Similarly, the reading that go along with the films includes discussion of the changes and how it affects the majority of Latin Americans.

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