Sociology 231, Social Change in Developing Societies is an "Off-campus Course" offered each spring at Oxford College.
The academic course has three components: a lecture/discussion format during January and February, travel to remote areas of Ecuador over spring break in March, and a seminar format after returning to the campus that lasts from mid-March through the end of the semester.
The course has no prerequisites other than consent of the instructor. The course focuses on issues of globalization, particularly the influence of the United States and western corporations on the lives of the people we meet while in Ecuador.
The focus is also on the non-western beliefs and practices concerning the origins of health and illness. In that regard, the students enter the homes of various practicing shamans in the Andes highlands and in the Amazon basin. We live and work with the indigenous Quechua people and witness their forms of spiritual healings. We live in primitive and challenging circumstances and are the guest of the indigenous hosts, who provide our lodging and food and show us their ways of living.
Each student writes a term paper on a topic of their choice that is relevant to the focus of the course. Students have written about alternative forms of cancer therapy, child birth in Ecuador and the U.S., the effects of global oil markets on the Ecuadorian economy, comparisons of the American and Quechua diets, differences in childhood between modern and traditional societies, to cite a few of the paper topics. Many of the students enrolling in this special course have never been outside of the United States before going to remote areas of Ecuador. There experiences there can and do have a profound effect on their understanding of live outside of middle-class America and on their self-understanding.
The course is limited to twelve undergraduate students each spring semester.
For more information, please contact Dr. Mike McQuaide (email@example.com ).