Critical Conservation in Havana: Social Justice and the Built Environment

January 21, 2014

The LAII is pleased to help announce a new study abroad course which will consider "Critical Conservation in Havana: Social Justice and the Built Environment." Prof. Jorge Colón, Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture & Planning, and faculty affiliate with the LAII, will lead the program under the auspices of the LAII's academic visa for Cuba. Students in the course will engage processes that preserve the past while analyzing the cultural history of urban landscapes within a global context. Applications are due at noon on January 24, 2014. Please see the course flyerfor more information, including application components.

Grassroots political movements have a legacy throughout Latin America, and can be traced far back in history, from conquest and colonialism, through independence and modernization. Today, political resistance weaves into daily struggle for social and environmental justice - seen in conditions ranging from violence in Colombia's informal settlements to recent demonstrations against the upcoming World Cup in Brazil. As a laboratory for exploration, Havana, Cuba, presents both the shared cultural DNA of Latin America and an extreme sociopolitical polarity, allowing students to consider lingering narratives associated with Colonialism, Independence, and Revolution, and their impact on the city's districts of tourism, housing, and public space. The research seminar course aims to investigate these intricacies while developing bottom-up models for urban development that are rooted within Cuba's cultural landscape.

Students should budget $1,100 to cover airfare costs, hotel, food, visa, and related expenses. The course is funded, in part, through a grant administered by the UNM Study Abroad Allocations Committee Global Education Office.

The course is limited to 8 students. Graduate students enrolled in Architecture, Community/Regional Planning, Landscape Architecture, and Latin American Studies programs are eligible for consideration. 4th-year undergraduate students enrolled in Architecture are also eligible. Interested students must submit a (1) a max 200-word statement and (2) a writing sample from a previous course (i.e., research paper). Submit questions and final application materials to