Diego Rivera Mural in Detroit

Mexican Social Movements in Their Own Context: Mexico Profundo

Location: Mexico City and Chiapas, Mexico
Faculty: Margaret Cerullo, professor of sociology and feminist studies (CSI)

Learning Collaborative Theme(s): In/Justice
Course Number: CSI-272S
Departure Date: May 22,  2022     Return Date: June 12, 2022
Course Fee (tentative): $3,000 + airfare (see information about additional expenses and financial aid below)

*Dates & fees are subject to change

Course Summary

This field course is a three-week intensive program in Mexico City  (Covid-permitting) and Chiapas, Mexico, designed as an activist introduction to contemporary Mexican social movements, centered on the Zapatistas and urban movements allied with them. In Chiapas participants will live as guests of the Zapatistas and in solidarity with their movement. They will have an extraordinary opportunity to encounter Zapatista practices of autonomy and Zapatista political visions while continuing their study of Spanish, or beginning Tsotsil if their Spanish is fluent.


Either Zapatismo or an equivalent course, or a background in Latin American Studies. One year of college Spanish is preferred.


Short-term field course eligibility requirements (for Hampshire and non-Hampshire students)

Financial Information

Short-term Field Course Finances and FundingImportant information about fees, payments, and financial aid.

Course Fee

Approximately $3,000 includes tuition, accommodations, in-country transportation, all meals, course activities, and events.

Additional Expenses (costs not included in the course fee)

Approximately $1,000 to include airfare, U.S. transportation to and from airport, and personal expenses 

How to Apply

Short-term field course application deadlines and instructions.

Full Course Description

This program is a three-week intensive course in Mexico [Mexico City, COVID-permitting, and Chiapas; otherwise, all in Chiapas] designed to study Spanish (and Mayan Tsotsil for those fluent in Spanish), along with an activist introduction to current Mexican politics and social struggles. The timing of this program coincides with the latest Zapatista initiative, launched in the Spring of 2021, a five-continent expedition to strengthen links of solidarity. Students will meet with Zapatistas who have returned from the first expedition---to Europe--and learn about  preparations for the next segments of the voyage. In Mexico City, we will have a full program of activities coordinated by Zapatista solidarity collectives, who will also arrange housing. In Chiapas we will spend a week in San Cristobal, where students will participate in an onsite social and political history course of the region, “Chiapas against the grain,” based on the work of Andres Aubry. For the final week, students will live in a Zapatista autonomous community, Oventik, in the highlands near San Cristobal. There, students will have an extraordinary opportunity to encounter Zapatista practices of autonomy and their political visions while continuing their study of Spanish, or Tsotsil if their Spanish is fluent.

Academic Program

Academic Expectations & Evaluation

Since this course will take place entirely in the Spanish language, which is tiring for those whose Spanish is not fluent, requirements are participating in all classes and other activities, writing weekly reflection papers, and a self-evaluation. Guidelines for the weekly reflection papers will be provided, with prompts. Students will also have the opportunity to complete a paper or an art project after the course ends for evaluation and inclusion in their Div II portfolios or as an Advanced Educational Activity for their Div III.

Cumulative Skills

Understand and incorporate multiple cultural perspectives on intellectual or artistic subjects

Diversity & Multiple Cultural Perspectives

This Program brings students into the heart of Mayan cosmovision, which is distinct from the colonial Eurocentric perspectives that govern most of our education in the US, and that govern the perception of indigenous peoples in Mexico and throughout Latin America. Students will be asked in one of their weekly reflections to address how an encounter with Zapatista and Mayan “cosmovision” expands and challenges the way they habitually comprehend and engage the world.

Language Learning

In Chiapas, students will study Spanish for several hours a day in the context of learning about the Zapatista movement; if their Spanish is adequate they will have the opportunity to study Tsotsil, a Mayan language

Community Engagement

Can fulfill CEL-2 requirements. Since their emergence into the light of day, the Zapatistas have depended on international solidarity and attention to prevent them from being forgotten, and massacred by the Mexican state. Participating in this program is an act of solidarity, and carries with it the expectation that students will find ways to bring the Zapatista experience to the communities they are part of. Students have done this in the past through visual arts projects, music, writing, and organizing—eg., holding public information events about the Zapatistas, showing a film, having a speaker, participating in the East Coast Chiapas Solidarity Network. Students interested in fulfilling CEL—2 requirements will work with the professor to complete a project based on their time in Chiapas.

Program Logistics

Visas & Other Travel Requirements

Students will all need an up-to-date passport. Non US citizens must check the visa requirements from their countries of origin. All participants are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and follow any additional COVID-19 testing and quarantining requirements.

Program Itinerary 

US-Mexico City, Sunday, May 22, 2022

Mexico City-Tuxtla Gutierrez, Sunday May 29, 2022

Chiapas-Mexico City-US, Sunday June 12, 2022

Environment,  Level of Physical Activity and Dietary Needs

Both Mexico City and San Cristobal are over 7000 feet in elevation. Conditions in Oventic present the greatest challenge. Students live in dorms sleeping on bunks, made more comfortable by good sleeping bags and air mattresses. There is no indoor plumbing, which means trips to the outdoor toilets often in the cold at night.

It is recommended that all participants be vaccinated for Typhus to prevent severe GI infections. A vegetarian or vegan diet can be easily accommodated.

Travel Plans

Students will arrive on their own to the Mexico City airport and will be met by faculty director(s) and driven to their housing in Mexico City. On Sunday May 29, 2022, participants will fly together from Mexico City to Chiapas, and take local transport in Chiapas from the airport to San Cristobal. The group will fly back to Mexico City airport from San Cristobal early on Sunday June 12, 2022 where students will connect to flights to the US.

All transportation costs in Mexico, including the group flights to and from Chiapas to Mexico City, are included in the course fee.

Housing Arrangements

In Chiapas, participants will spend one week (and weekends) at Junax in San Cristobal, a hostal that hosts volunteers in Zapatista projects. They will spend one or possibly two weeks, Mon-Fri, in the Zapatista community of Oventic.

In Mexico City (if applicable), homestays will be arranged by collaborators there. Students will be housed with different families but within a (closed) community, so they will be close to one another.

Pre-departure Preparation

The prerequisites for this course will be play a significant role in students’ preparation. There will also be one to two group orientation sessions prior to departure, detailing logistics, protocols, and expectations, and preparing students for what they will experience in terms of living conditions, the shock of poverty, and the challenges of solidarity. In addition, there will also be a separate required session with GEO to discuss information and resources related to health, safety, and travel.


Questions about the application process or financial aid should be directed to the Global Education Office:


Questions regarding the academic content or itinerary should be directed to the faculty director:

Margaret Cerullo

Stay In Touch
With The Global Education Office (GEO)
Snail Mail
Global Education Office
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002