Beginning in 1939, Culebra, an Island municipality of Puerto Rico, was used as a gunnery and bombing practice site for the U.S. Navy. In 1975, after 4 years of protests and a legal, environmental and political battle against the Pentagon, the Navy left the island. Culebra began a very slow cleaning process that is not yet done today, after more than 40 years. Rusted tanks along Flamenco Beach are a reminder of those times and the environmental destruction left behind. While some people have simply spray painted their names, Graffiti artists have used the tanks as a canvas to turn them from nuisances into pieces of art, some with a beautiful design, and others with clear political meaning.
Join this three-week course (first week in Minnesota) to participate in an amazing learning experience in beautiful Puerto Rico! Students will strengthen their understanding of the role of the arts in social change as they meet local artists, activists and members of various communities who use art to engage issues of social justice, such as gender equality, environmental protection, and decolonization. Students will also learn about the history and rich culture of Puerto Rico via guided tours, lectures and discussions with local historians and cultural workers. After meeting with activists and artists, students will get the opportunity to use their own creative juices as they produce a work of art for social change. Through guided reflection, students will consider how they might use the arts to work for justice and cultural transformation.
Program Dates: May 14-29, 2018
Credits: 4 credits (THR 295)
Faculty and Staff: Beliza Torres Narváez
Apply by: January 31, 2018
Language of Instruction
: US Dollars
Population of Puerto Rico
: 3.5 million
THR 295: Topics: Art Performing Social Change in Puerto Rico
Can the arts forward social change? If so, how? This course explores the role, impact and legacy of the arts as social change. Art can give visibility to those rendered socially invisible, help us image and rehearse solutions to oppression, allow us to voice our demands for social transformation, educate us on issues of equality of help us organize for collective action. We will specifically focus on how artists, arts organizations, activists and members of various communities in Puerto Rico use or are dedicated to creating art that engages issues of social justice. As Puerto Rico faces a brutal financial crisis, its resident have found creative ways to foster possibility and claim social justice.
In the course, students will participate in guided tours, blog, annotate, present, do a final project, attend workshops, and participate in class discussions. This course fulfills a Fine Arts Liberal Arts Foundation (LAF) requirement for Augsburg University
In addition to the course focusing on the arts, students will have the opportunity to have other valuable experiences, such as:
- Seeing Political Street Theater
- Viewing Calle Loiza Murals
- Exploring Old San Juan Historic City
- Touring the Museo de las Américas
- Journey through the El Yunque National Forest
- Visiting La Placita
- Going to the beach during your free time
- La Placita de Santurce
These opportunities will enable conversations with local people as students experience their culture, traditions and daily lives.
This is a performance by the radical street theater group, Papel Machete, at La Pocita del Obispo, a public beach in the municipality of Arecibo that was in danger of being privatized back in 2009. Papel Machete did the performance in support of the community's civil disobedience camp at the beach. Students will get the opportunity to see the group on this trip.
Housing & Meals
Participants will stay at guest houses, hotels and/or university lodging.
Meals: Some meals included
Eligibility & Program Prerequisites
Students participating in this program must have a GPA of 2.0 and have completed at least one year of college/university.
Program Cost--Augsburg Undergraduate Day Students & Adult Students
: -$1176 (based on 4 credits)
Total Cost: $3995
The Program Fee includes some meals, lodging, in-country travel and transportation and entrance fees. Students should plan to bring $250 to cover meals that are not included. The tuition has been reduced because of the Global Scholarship awarded to you by the Center for Global Education and Experience at Augsburg University.
Meals during program $250
you will be responsible for providing your own meals some days
Meals during transit $10-$30
f you want a snack/meal in the airport, it is up to you.
Personal spending money varies
Consider your own want/need to buy snacks, souvenirs, etc.
: Puerto Rico is a US Territory and uses the US Dollar
For Information about meal, entertainment, and other costs abroad, check the following resources:
Puerto Rico: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/puerto-rico/money-costs
General information: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living
Because of the social justice emphasis of this program, participants of this program are eligible to apply for the following CGEE scholarships:
Click on each of the scholarships for eligibility details, application instructions, and application deadlines. For general information about Study Abroad/Away scholarships, please read the CGEE Scholarships Page