Place... Culture... Identity

Today marks the beginning of our guest faculty program with Rehearsing Change. We are extremely proud to announce our pioneering teacher-facilitator, Adrienne Falcon of Carleton College. Here is more about Adrienne in her own words....

Adrienne Falcon writes:

I am looking forward to working with Pachaysana. I first heard about it from a former student from Carleton who became involved after she graduated. Then I met Marleen Haboud when she was on her Fulbright in the United States last year. She came and spoke at Carleton on her efforts in Ecuador around preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages. We felt an instant connection and I was so impressed by her creative and important work. She really inspired many others at Carleton as well and it is this kind of spirit which lies at the heart of Pachaysana and why I am looking forward to collaborating with the program.

This past fall I traveled to Ecuador on my own Fulbright with two goals: to return to my urban sociology roots, and to further develop my understanding of community engagement and higher education in a global context. As a sociologist, I have studied community based organizations and social change efforts in a diverse immigrant neighborhood of Chicago as well as in the woods of Northern Minnesota. Most recently my research and work has focused on Rice County Minnesota, an area with a growing Latino population. I also head the academic civic engagement program at Carleton where I connect courses and students with applied academic efforts through which, ideally, all benefit – students from sharing and contributing from their learning into a larger context and community partners from the contributions of the students.

I have researched in Cuenca at the Universidad de Cuenca since September, and I often feel like I am on the other side of my US experience. Rather than working as I did in Northfield, with young people who are themselves immigrants or the children of immigrants, here I have met many people who are or have immigrated to the US and are now back. As an academic, I have been thinking a lot about two concepts: 1) the Right to the City, a sociological theory by Lefebvre that suggests not only do we have a right to occupy or be in a city, but also to transform that city and 2) the idea of planetary urbanization, that the logic of capitalism has made urban sociology no longer the right framework but rather that we need to move beyond the urban to consider place and capital flows in a global system. I have also been involved in a transformational leadership program working with both urban and rural leaders in Ecuador who are trying to improve their local communities. During the rest of my time, I have been collaborating with the academic civic engagement program at the Universidad de Cuenca.

Now, I hope to bring these two ideas and more to my course with Pachaysana in the community of Mariscal, near the city of Puyo. I am excited to be teaching both US college students and community members there and to be doing so in a way that not only involves abstract concepts about place, culture, and identity, but also that incorporates applied projects where together we can learn from each other while trying to accomplish goals of the members of the community.

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