Andean Roots: Language and Cultural Landscape


Fall 2013, Winter 2014 and Spring 2014 quarters

Taught by

linguistics, mathematics
ecology, botany, plant pathology

This is a yearlong interdisciplinary program that incorporates sociolinguistics, geography, history, cultural ecology, global change, biocultural diversity conservation, food systems and sustainable development studies to explore how societies evolve and survive in relation to their environment and a globalizing world. Our studies are based on the belief that many cultures have developed rich linguistic and ecological traditions that have provided the means for communication, food, clothing and shelter based on a sustainable relationship with the land. More recently, cultural and economic globalization are increasingly impacting local knowledge systems worldwide, in particular when measured by changes to language, land-use and food systems. These changes, together with such factors as increasing human population, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and climate change, compel us to explore the ways in which knowledge systems are preserved or lost. In particular, we recognize the urgent need to preserve cultural knowledge that allows a society to be rooted in place, recognize ecological limits and provide for its needs. The Andean region of South America is an ideal region to study these issues.

The academic program consists of two phases. The first phase over fall quarter will focus on program themes using texts, lectures, workshops, film, writing and local field trips. Fall quarter the program will be offered for 12 credits to provide students with the option to separately register for an appropriate Spanish language course. Selection for the second phase over winter and spring quarters will be based upon criteria including successful completion of fall quarter work, demonstrated readiness for study abroad and Spanish language ability. In winter and spring, students will be full time in the program, which will be offered for 16 credits per quarter. Winter quarter will begin with 5 weeks of travel preparations and intensive study on Peru, followed by a 15-week study abroad experience in the Cusco region of the Peruvian Andes that incorporates intensive Spanish or Quechua language study, regional travel, seminars, urban and rural home stays and independent research or service learning with local organizations. At the end of the independent project period, we will reconvene for final student presentations and evaluation conferences in the Sacred Valley near Cusco.

As the former Incan capital, and home to vibrant cultures and immense biodiversity, the Cusco region of Peru offers immersion in the study of biocultural diversity and how the preservation of linguistic diversity is related to the preservation of traditional ecological knowledge, biodiversity and local food systems. While in Peru, we will continue language and cultural studies while experiencing regional initiatives to preserve cultural landscapes and indigenous knowledge systems in the midst of development pressure. Given the region's rich history, knowledge systems, architecture, agriculture, weaving, ceramics and music, we will ask how is knowledge transferred across generations and between communities, and how can traditional knowledge be maximized in sustainable development projects?  As we address these academic questions, our own experiences will also lead us on to consider on a more individual level how learning another language and traveling abroad can increase our understanding of culture and what it means to fit into place.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

cultural studies, Spanish, sustainable development, linguistics, agriculture and food systems and education.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online:

Required Fees

$20 in fall for entrance fees.

Study Abroad

The study abroad component is 15 weeks long, from Week 6 of Winter quarter to Week 10 of Spring quarter, travelling to the region of Cusco, Peru, spending significant time in the Urubamba Valley, the city of Cusco, and surrounding rural areas while students participate in language school, homestays, and project work.  We will also engage in regional travel to understand different cultural landscapes from the high Andes to the Altiplano to the upper Amazon basin.   (We will work during Evergreen's Spring Break and hence end the program one week early in Spring.  Eval conferences will therefore be held in Peru during Evergreen's Week 10.) Students will pay some cost of this trip as a fee: $2200 for group expenses in Peru including group travel time, language study, and other group expenses. Students will be responsible for additional expenses of approximately $3700 ( in addition to the $2200 student fee ) for international airfare, all living expenses during the independent project time, and additional individual expenses. Total estimated cost of the study abroad is $5900 for 15 weeks. For students selected for study abroad, a deposit of $200 will be due by Thursday of Week 10, Fall quarter.


Date Revision
December 31st, 2013 This program will now accept students of all class levels (Freshmen through Seniors).
November 13th, 2013 This program will accept new enrollment winter quarter with faculty approval.
September 18th, 2013 $20 fee in fall has been added.
April 8th, 2013 This program is now offered to Sophomores through Seniors.

Registration Information

Credits: 12 (Fall); 16 (Winter); 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 64


Course Reference Number

So - Sr (12 credits): 10122

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Accepting New Students

Signature Required

Students with relevant academic background in Spanish and cultural studies may contact faculty ( ) about our winter and spring study abroad.  Winter admission to the program is contingent upon space availability and an application process, including documentation of academic preparation.  Potential students will be notified of acceptance by the end of Fall Week 10.

Course Reference Number

Fr - Sr (16 credits): 20110

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Enrollment Closed


Students participating in this study abroad will be selected from Fall 2013 Andean Roots.

Course Reference Number

Fr - Sr (16 credits): 30109

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