CURRICULUM

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

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Identity and PACHA 
(3 credits)

Pacha is a Kichwa word that is usually interpreted as “earth,” and Pachamama as “mother earth.” However, those translations come from a limited epistemological framework. According to indigenous Andean scholars, Pacha refers to the time-space continuum, or as the “everything around and inside us.” This course asks students and their local community counterparts to challenge their identities by broadening their epistemological and ontological lenses to see their individual and collective lives as they relate to Pacha. To synthesize this complicated process, we ask participants to examine who they are as related to the ever-changing ecology in which they live.  For this course, ecology is approached broadly, referring to the Greek origin on the word, oikos, meaning "home." We examine our home as an interconnected "place” where our ecology is the triad of our immediate territory (llakta in Kichwa), our surrounding natural environment (allpa), and our global and pluriversal space (pacha). Throughout the course, we use an interdisciplinary lens to examine “who we are” as related to this diverse understanding of ecology, taking into consideration that our ever-changing environment includes an ever-changing human story.  (Download Syllabus)

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Design and Evaluation of Sustainable Community Projects 
(3 credits)

Each semester international students work on ongoing community-based projects while designing new ones in partnership with their host community. All projects must be carried out according to well-studied and effectively practiced methodologies in design and evaluation. This course takes students and their local counterparts through the different phases necessary for effective design and evaluation of a development project. It also requires students to view projects as a holistic and humanistic process that seeks social, economic, environmental and cultural sustainability. We approach projects from the grassroots, treating them as acts of community-based creativity and topics are chosen by students and their counterparts based on conflicts, needs and opportunities existing within our host community. Together they identify the problem, develop an idea, and create a proposal with goals, objectives, plans, budget, etc. All the while they are exploring the project as small-scale community development yet unmistakably interconnected with a globalized reality.  (Download Syllabus)

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Storytelling: Language and Movement 
(3 credits)

It can easily be argued that the greatest human quality is our ability, and need, to tell stories. Every day, we communicate through stories, yet rarely do we study how to tell a story or learn how to become empowered through our stories. This course takes students through a process that seeks to unleash the power of stories, but, most especially, we attempt to harness such power in the creation and presentation of our community’s stories. Based on the realities present in our host community, students work with their counterparts, combining theory with practice, to create and tell stories to the community at large. Since stories are both spoken and performed, we aim to engage the “telling” through both language and movement, thus transcending the limits of each.  (Download Syllabus)

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TheatRe for Social Change and Innovation 
(3 credits)

This course is designed to lead international students and their counterparts through the process of creating social change by practicing (rehearsing) social change. Using exercises and activities that pull from the areas of Theatre of the Oppressed, Applied Theatre, and Performance Activism, we engage challenging concepts through real life situations, stretching from the theoretical areas of structural & symbolic oppression to socially charged topics like social/cultural identity, racism, privilege, power, environmental justice, and gender issues. (Specific themes vary per semester and are identified through preliminary work that Pachaysana conducts with the community at large.)  International students work closely with local counterparts to create small-scale projects to be presented to the community as a whole in a final presentation at the end of the semester. We also discuss and rehearse the potential of turning the identified conflicts into opportunities for collective transformation and innovation. Finally, we work closely with community leaders to evaluate the work we have produced in the course for its potential to be applied to current and future community-based projects.  (Download Syllabus)

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Independent Study
(Optional, 3 credits)

This optional course is specially designed for Rehearsing Change students who wish to complete an internship practicum, independent research project, or independent creative project for academic credits. The independent study can focus on almost any area in the social sciences, education, humanities, and arts, including projects in the Applied Arts. In most cases, but not all, the evaluator of the student’s work is one of the two Pachaysana academic coordinators. In other cases, the class is taken in coordination with the student’s home university, and a faculty member from the home university serves as the adviser and evaluator. In cases where there is no home school advisor-evaluator, and neither of the coordinators are qualified to evaluate the proposed project, a different Rehearsing Change faculty member can serve as advisor/evaluator. The internship and/or research project includes completing contact hours with the hosting organization (or documenting time spent in a research log), regular meetings with the adviser/evaluator and maintaining a reflective journal, which includes a final analytical component. The creative project uses a similar approach, however the final product can be a one of many options including but not limited to a collection of poetry, an extended monologue, a written short play, a choreographed dance, a series of visual artwork, etc. (Download Syllabus)

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Pre-Semester Course - "Ecuador: Language, Culture and Justice"
(Optional, 3 Credits)

This 3-week Spanish-intensive course links language instruction to an array of complex themes related to Ecuadorian history, culture, identity, and issues of social justice. The course, co-taught by Pachaysana faculty and local Spanish tutors, is set in the rich historical center of Quito (Old Town), where students take 3 hours of coursework per day. Each day we combine traditional learning that works on improving Spanish skills with experiential learning methods, including but not limited to museum visits, cultural site visits, participation in local community endeavors, and engaging in workshops run by Pachaysana partner institutions. Students are required to read and journal every day and produce a final project at the end of the three weeks. Additionally, several days a week students are also provided with optional enrichment opportunities, which in the past have included short excursions outside of Quito, collective cooking days, and attending plays or concerts. Spanish instruction is usually two students per tutor, allowing the tutor to focus on the most immediate learning needs of each student. Cultural and social justice themes vary according to student interests and existing opportunities in Quito. (Download Syllabus)