Centers of Distinction

Guatemala/Mexico: Fall 3-week, 2013

Travel Dates:  Cancelled

The Faculty

Audrey Cunningham, Professor of Communication

The Course

INTD 367: Marginalized Voices of Central America

The Program

The history of the Mayan peoples of Guatemala is a story of 500 years of marginalization, oppression and struggle to preserve their rich culture, their spiritual traditions, and the integrity of their families and communities. It is a story of resistance and a story of survival in the face of war, poverty and persecution.

Guatemala is recovering from 40 years of civil war. Of the approximately 200,000 persons killed or disappeared during these decades approximately 85% were Maya. Marginalization of the Maya has taken other forms as well. The languages of the Maya are not taught in Guatemalan schools. The agricultural export economy has usurped the land once tilled by families.  The lack of land for growing food has forced the people to accept below-subsistence employment on large plantations whose crops serve an international market.

Students will examine the economics, politics and culture of the region with a particular emphasis on how the indigenous peoples of Guatemala are balancing the need to preserve their cultural heritage and at the same time reap the benefits of modernization.

The specific goals of this travel seminar are two-fold. First students will deepen their understanding of how the dominant political, economic and social forces work together to maintain a system in which marginalization is the likely outcome for the indigenous poor of Guatemala. In additional they will learn how the Mayan peoples in Guatemala are working together to overcome obstacles and better their lives.

Secondly students will have an opportunity to engage in reflection about their own lives and how the forces of dominance and marginalization are also at work in their own communities.


Participants will be housed two to four to a room in modest, comfortable guest houses. All meal are provided.

Estimated Program Costs

Hiram College will be working with the Center for Global Education at Augsburg College and their in-country staff. The cost is estimated at $3,500 including round-trip airfare from Cleveland, all meals, lodging and entrance fees to any sites. Personal expenses, passport fees, and independent travel are not covered.

Application Deadline


A $75 non-refundable fee will be billed upon receipt of completed application.

Friends of the college can be mailed or may download the application forms. Non-students will be required to audit the course as a "special student." Audit fees are $50 per credit hour.

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