Globalization of Education

Summer 2016

Often, an American’s engagement with Latin America is promoted in relation to issues of development or an engagement with the exotic through the promotion of the legacy of the Inca or impenetrable Amazon. This study tour seeks to shift the focus away from a hierarchal gaze that integrates Latin America into the American imaginary along the lines of center/periphery through an exploration of aesthetics. The Ecuadorian study tour immerses students in the culture of Ecuador through an exploration of aesthetic expression. Through museum and workshop visits, tours of the UNESCO Heritage cities of Cuenca and Quito, visits to indigenous textile markets and the jean town of Pelileo, conversations with artisans, fashion students and more, students will learn about the richness of contemporary Ecuador. In addition, students will participate in basic Spanish language classes during the week to foster a sense of empowerment in engaging the local population; however, they will not be graded on their language abilities.

No prior Spanish study or ability is needed for this study tour, just a desire to learn and a curiosity about the world. Students will learn about the history of indigenous/Incan/Spanish culture in relation to how these have influenced and are influencing aesthetic expression in Ecuador today. Moreover, through a study of aesthetics, students will also engage important cultural issues such as race, power, gender, and more.


Students will earn 3 credits for TMD 361 or TMD 362: Independent Study.

Students will explore culture through an aesthetic lens with readings, lectures, journaling and overall participation in the study tour.

Housing and Dining:

Students will stay in dormitory style housing with single or double occupancy. Breakfast will be provided daily. Students will be responsible for the rest of their meals during the program, but food is inexpensive in Ecuador, so this will not add a significant amount to the students out of pocket costs.

Cultural Activities:

Students will visit indigenous markets, such as Plaza de Ponchos in Otavalo, and artisian workshops. They will also meet with fashion students at the University of Cuenca who will be presenting their final projects. Students will visit the town of Pelileo, learn about colonial architecture through city tours, and visit museums, such as the Panama Hat Museum.

Program Fee: TBA

  • 3 URI Credits
  • Accommodations
  • Breakfast
  • In-country transportation
  • Excursions and activities

NOTE: All fees subject to change


For more information, please contact:

Program Director
Blaire O. Gagnon
Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design

URI Faculty-Led Programs Coordinator
Kelly Watts
Office of International Education
(401) 874-2019

The University of Rhode Island prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, national origin, handicap, or sexual orientation and discrimination against disabled persons and veterans.

URI Summer Faculty-Led Programs Brochure 2015

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