Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

LACA Engaged Scholars Program

Program Description

The Engaged Scholars Program (ESP) in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACA) is designed for LACA concentrators who are especially interested in making deeper connections between their academic work and local communities in Providence and beyond. Engaged Scholars combine hands-on experiences such as internships, public service, humanitarian, and development work with their academic learning in order to develop a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, social engagement. While many LACA courses have ‘engaged’ elements, being an Engaged Scholar in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACA) means connecting more actively and intensively with Latin American, Caribbean, and diaspora communities.

Requirements for Engaged Scholarship in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Students interested in becoming an Engaged Scholar in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACA) may apply through ASK when they make their concentration declaration.  (It is also possible for students to apply to ESP at a later date by revising their concentration declaration to include the ESP application.)

 LACA concentrators who are Engaged Scholars must complete the LACA concentration requirements as well as the Engaged Scholars Program requirements. Specifically, students in LACA must complete the following in the process of fulfilling their concentration requirements:

 1) Courses: At least one “engaged” course.  Typically, an engaged course involves a community partnership (local or international) and/or involves significant community-based work outside of the classroom.  This can be a LACA course or a course in another department; in the latter case it should either have a Latin American or Caribbean theme, or should permit the student to prepare a final assignment engaged with the LACA region.  A diverse list of courses offered on the region is posted here each semester, with engaged courses indicated; students may also wish to consult the ESP Course Highlights List maintained by the Swearer Center. Please contact the LACA DUS to ask whether specific courses not listed on our website may be used to meet requirements.

Sample Engaged Courses:

AMST 1700K: Race in the Americas: A Hemispheric Perspective (Escudero)

ANTH 0805: Language and Migration (Arnold)

PLCY 2555: Environmental Policy, From the Ground Up (Agusto)

HISP 0490A: Spanish for Health Care Workers (Kuhnheim)

HISP 0750B: The Latin American Diaspora in the US (Martinez-Pinzon)

2) ESP Seminar Requirement: Completion of the Engaged Scholars Program seminar, SOC 0310 Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship (ESP Seminar), ideally in the Fall of Junior Year. If students have questions about this requirement they should discuss them with ESP staff.

3) Practicum: An intensive engagement experience (150-250 hours) with focus on Latin American, Caribbean, or diaspora communities and involving written reflection assignments reviewed by ESP Staff.  This may be an internship, a significant and rigorous volunteer experience, a fellowship, or another kind of meaningful engagement with an organization or project. Practicum opportunities must be approved by both the LACA DUS and Engaged Scholar staff at the Swearer Center. (This is permitted to count toward the LACA concentration requirement of internship or volunteer service.)

4) Capstone: A substantial engaged research project called a capstone (typically LACA 1900, Honors and Capstone Project on Latin American and Caribbean Topics; LACA 1990/1991, Independent Study, is also available). This capstone can draw on and further contextualize a practicum or engagement experience, and may, if desired, result in an honors thesis or project.  

Engaged Scholars Program Contacts:

ESP-LACA: Erica_Durante@brown.edu 

ESP Swearer Center: Lynsey_Ford@brown.edu