La Habana, Cuba
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La Habana Courses - 2020 Summer Session II

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:

U.S. Professors

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

Session I:

Dr. Julia O'Hara | Xavier University

Course offered:

Dr. Julia O’Hara is a member of the History Department at Xavier University. Her historical interests reflect a passion for the politics and popular culture of Latin America. Both her research and teaching use unexpected sources (such as food, music, folklore, sports, and film) to expand our understanding of history.

Session II:

Dr. Leontina Hormel | University of Idaho

Course offered:

Dr. Leontina Hormel is a professor of sociology at the University of Idaho. She has conducted research in Ukraine and the Russian Federation, specializing in community and international development, political economy, environmental sociology and social inequalities. Leontina has helped students do research in Latin America and has received teaching and advising awards.

Course Descriptions

Contemporary Women's Activism

Summer Session I (Sociology, Spanish, Women's Studies / Gender Studies; 300-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Sociology, Spanish, Women's Studies / Gender Studies; 300-level; 1 credit)

Women's activism gained strong visibility in the past few years. This movement was enhanced by the power of new technologies and the Internet. This course provides an introduction to gender theory and women movements. Additionally, students will explore the more recent strategies utilized by feminists and women's movements to rally support and fight against gender violence of all kinds. Students will examine how feminists have used the Internet and social networks as a powerful tool to rally support. The interaction with some of the local main characters of this new ways of activism will provide the students with the opportunity to discuss these topics first hand, addressing as well the new forms of 'Internet violence' that emerge as a reaction.

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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)

An introduction to a local cuisine in a hands-on kitchen environment. Authentic preparations of several local dishes will be taught. Correct cooking techniques are emphasized. Readings and lectures on local food customs and traditions will support and contextualize the cooking instruction.

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 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.

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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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Gender and Globalization

Summer Session II (Sociology; 300-level; 3 credits)

The objective of this course is to examine the contested terrain of social change and globalization through a gender lens. Readings will review globalization theory, policy, and community responses. Students will build a Research Project over the session, learning to apply perspectives and concepts learned throughout the term. Students learn international organizations’ approaches to gender equality and empowerment in development campaigns and will learn how Cuba addresses these issues.

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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)

This course is designed to introduce the student to the core political issues facing the Our American region, which means to include the Caribbean experiences. The major problems facing this region: authoritarianism, dictatorships, revolutions, social conflicts as increase of violence, political corruption, the presence of the US policy and economic dependence from the American capital, political and economic development, “democratic transition” and the supposed consolidation of democratic practices, as well as the indigenous and other minority group rights, will be introduced in turn.

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Latin America and the United States

Summer Session I (History, Political Science; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course examines the evolution of Latin American relations with the United States from the late 18th century to the present, using a wide variety of political, economic, military, and cultural sources. Although the examination of diplomacy and U.S. policy will serve as a foundation for our study, a major goal of the course will be to understand how multiple forms of Latin American agency have shaped inter-American relations over almost two centuries. Readings of both primary sources (including government documents, memoirs, oral histories, films, and fiction) and secondary sources (including scholarly articles, monographs, and documentary films) will provide a framework for in-class discussions and students' individual research on a variety of topics that they choose in consultation with the professor.

This is a small, seminar-style class that will be convened in the unique setting of a study-abroad program. Unlike many larger history courses, it will not revolve around lectures and presentations from the professor. Rather, students’ learning will depend primarily on their reading of the assigned material, our in-class discussions of that material, their own and their classmates’ presentations of their independent readings and research, and (perhaps most importantly), their application of our classroom study to their lived experiences within contemporary Cuban society.

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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)

The present is a product of the past. Students will analyze the validity of this statement by examining the three major social revolutions that occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 19th and 20th centuries to the present, including the slave rebellion that brought forth the independent of the Republic of Haiti (1804). Students will also learn about the Mexican and Chilean, Nicaraguan and Central American revolutions up to the Cuban Revolution..

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Latin American Women's Voices

Summer Session II (Spanish, Women's Studies / Gender Studies; 300-level; 1 credit)

This course provides an introduction to gender theory and women movements, while emphasizing the role of different women’s organizations in local social movements. Students will explore the Human Rights status of women in Cuba and Latin America. From the dictatorship days until the present, this course will analyze how women organized to influence and participate in political life, society and business. Through analyzing key cultural and political characters, students will have the chance to discuss these topics in person with women that were part of these movements.

El curso aborda la experiencia cubana y latinoamericana de las “Cortes de Mujeres contra la violencia patriarcal” desde la teoría feminista. Es una oportunidad para conocer la propuesta metodológica de las Cortes e influir en la opinión pública y en espacios internacionales con las propias voces, experiencias de vida y el trabajo colectivo de organizaciones feministas y de mujeres. En el curso se enfatiza en el poder político y discursivo de los testimonios orales y escritos de las mujeres. En el curso se compartirá con mujeres testimoniantes de las Cortes de Mujeres realizadas en Cuba y otros países y se participará en la preparación de la Corte de mujeres por la justicia social a realizar en octubre de 2019.

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Peoples and Cultures of Cuba and the Caribbean

Summer Session II (Anthropology; 400-level; 3 credits)

Students will explore the socio-political systems and historical context of Cuba and the Caribbean. This course will present contemporary theoretical perspectives that express the complex socio-economic, cultural, and political reality of the area. Students will cover the recurring topics of culture and "race"; daily life; and religion within Cuba and the Caribbean. This course will analyze ways in which these themes are common to other Latin American colonial societies. Students will draw upon the works and anthropological thinking of Fernando Ortiz; Jean Price-Mars; and C.L.R. James. The goal of this course is to provide a general anthropological overview of Cuba and the Caribbean.

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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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The Cuban Health Care System

Summer Session II (Community Health Sciences, Sociology; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course offers an overview of the Cuban health system that operates under the principle that health is an inalienable social right. These services are financed almost exclusively with government resources. The Ministry of Public Health is the governing body of the national health system, which manages resources in the three-tiered healthcare system. The primary tier solves approximately 80% of the population's health problems and its services are mainly provided in polyclinics and doctor's offices and family nurses. Approximately 15% of health problems are covered within the second tier. Its fundamental function is to treat pre-existing conditions to prevent complications and perform immediate rehabilitation. Approximately 5% of health problems are covered within the third tier. Treatments within this tier are related to sequelae or complications with certain diseases. This type of care is mainly provided in specialized hospitals or institutes.

The course will begin with an overview of basic concepts about the Cuban Public Health System. Students will be required to complete readings related to the different primary health care programs before the start of each class and participate in discussions based on the readings. The course will also require students to participate in practical activities that complement the course readings.

Note: The evaluation will be systematic based on oral questions, participation in classes and presentation of reports after practical activities.

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Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Latin American Cinema

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

In this course, students will embark on a journey in search for the roots and contradictions inherent in the process in the construction of the Latin American identity. On this journey, students will maintain a global perspective, while not to losing sight of the specificities of Latin America. Similarly, the readings that go along with the films will include discussions about the evolution of the Latin American identity and how this has impacted Latin Americans.

Para estudiar la identidad de América Latina debe tomarse en cuenta no sólo los hechos históricos, sino también las distintas expresiones del pensamiento y la forma que toman estas expresiones para entender su trascendencia. El curso permite un recorrido en la búsqueda de las raíces y las contradicciones inherentes al proceso de construcción de las identidades latinoamericanas. En este itinerario nos interesa tener una perspectiva mundial, pero al mismo tiempo nos interesa no perder de vista la especificidad de nuestro continente. De igual manera, la lectura a realizar de los filmes que se proyectan en el curso, incluye la discusión de los cambios y como esto afecta a la mayoría de los latinoamericanos.

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