By Julian Wilson
From May 20 through June 9, Willie Hiatt, assistant professor of Latin American History at LIU Post, will take a group of students on an educational journey through Cuzco, Peru. The course, HIS 189, is a three-credit, study-abroad course taught by Hiatt, and is designed to engage students in a historical and thematic understanding of Andean history.
According to the course syllabus: The study abroad course introduces you to important themes and concepts in Andean history, with a particular emphasis on the pre-Colombian world (1470- 1530), European contact and indigenous resistance (1530-70), and contemporary Cuzco (the rediscovery of Machu Picchu in 1911 to today).
For Hiatt, teaching this course is a new experience. “This is the first time I have offered the course,” Hiatt stated. When it comes to students and where they would study and eat, Hiatt provided examples of what’s in store during the expedition. “The group lodges, dines, and studies at La Casa Campesina, a quaint and rustic conference center in the heart of Cuzco. Using that as our base, we will make excursions to museums, pre-Colombian archaeological sites, and Spanish colonial churches in and around the area,” he said.
Hiatt stated that there are benefits to his summer course in Peru. “First is price: Thanks to the LIU tuition discount and forgivable travel loan, the price is around $2,600, which is less than taking a summer course here on campus; and second is context: Besides a rigorous classroom component in the beautiful Andean city of Cuzco, the course includes multiple trips to archeological sites, including a two-day trip to Machu Picchu,” Hiatt said. “We all know and love Humanities Hall, but the ‘lost’ city of the Incas is tough competition.”
“The third benefit is credit flexibility. The course works as a history elective or core requirement, an Honors elective, and, with prior approval, a Political Science elective or core requirement. Fourth is thematic flexibility: Although the course is listed as HIS 189, ‘Andean
History, Culture, and Politics,’ I have designed the class broadly to appeal to students with diverse interests in archaeology, geography, art history, political science, tourism, literature, and film. The class has something to offer most everyone,” he said.
About 15 students are listed as tentatively going,and another 12 students have expressed interest, according to Hiatt. Students who are interested in joining Hiatt this summer can reach him at willie.hiatt@liu. edu.
“Recruitment has been an adventure in itself. I probably have sent 500 emails the last few months, and I’ve completely exhausted my file of stock llama photos for campus flyers. I held informational meetings at Post and Brooklyn for about 30 students. After LIU Global posted the course on its Facebook page, students at the China, India, Costa Rica, and New Zealand centers inquired about the trip [as well].”
Hiatt explained his interest in taking Post students to study abroad. “An essential goal of a liberal education is to enhance global perspectives. I did not travel or study abroad as an undergrad, but when I went to France for five months at the age 25, it completely changed my life and launched my academic career. I want to share that experience with LIU students who have always wanted to travel but couldn’t or have never entertained the idea of going abroad. I’ve seen students
who returned to Post after a summer or semester abroad, and their confidence and excitement is remarkable. They return with a glow,” he said.
Evelin Rodriguez, a junior History major, is excited to study abroad in Peru. She holds Hiatt in good regards. “I am very excited about the study abroad program in Peru. I’m glad Professor Hiatt decided to teach the class this year. I know Peru has a large indigenous population, so I would like to learn about their rich history,” she said. “I know the class will go on several outings. This will be a great opportunity to see the landscape and to speak with the locals about their culture.”