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Buenos Aires: In and Of the City

Buenos Aires: In and Of the City

  • Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA: June 4-25, 2011 (3 weeks)
  • TRAVL-UG 9400 | 4 credits | Instructors: Michael Dinwiddie (NYU Gallatin) & Mark McMeley
  • LEVEL: Undergraduate, NYU and non-NYU students
  • TOPICS: Culture, art, politics, African Diaspora studies, and more

Buenos Aires, known as the "Paris of the South," is one of the mythic cities of the world. Containing nearly one-third of Argentina's population, the city has had an inordinate impact not only on Argentina but on Latin American consciousness and identity. This three-week course traces the evolution of the political theorists, educational reformers, and creative artists whose works have shaped the culture, art, and politics of Buenos Aires and Argentina.

For immigrants arriving in Argentina in the 19th century, the search for opportunity required a narrative that would justify identification with the nation state. A mythology that celebrated the independent—and mestizo—"gauchos" of the pampas was slowly replaced by a philosophy that excluded peoples of color and redefined "whiteness” as a desired objective in repopulating the entire nation. The "Generation of 1880” played an important role in shaping this new identity, and its impact is still felt in Buenos Aires, where the African population has been subsumed by other ethnic groups. Yet, the Africanist heritage is apparent in such cultural artifacts as the tango, a dance of African derivation but whose origins are sometimes contested in Argentine discourse.

In the 21st century, the upheavals of the "dirty war," the trauma of the desaparecidos (the disappeared), the Malvinas War, and the economic crisis of 2001 all occasioned not only political but artistic responses. Argentina’s political and economic fortunes have created a unique dialogue between the arts and politics. In Buenos Aires, the national capital, arts inform and influence the national debate to a great extent. We examine this phenomenon and its effect on Argentine society.

Readings may include excerpts from the works of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, José Enrique Rodó, Robert Ferris Thompson, and George Reid Andrews; fiction by Jorge Luís Borges, Silvina Ocampo, Julio Cortázar, Roberto Arlt, and Adolfo Bioy Casares; documents such as "Nunca Más”; and the film, The Afro-Argentines.

Field trips encompass the rich resources of the city's museums, historical sites, fútbol games, and ethnic neighborhoods. Sessions with leading Argentine jurists, educators, and artists are an important component of this course. In addition, students will take a short trip to Montevideo, Uruguay.

Gallatin students: This course fulfills 4 units of the Interdisciplinary Seminar.


  • Undergraduate students of all NYU and non-NYU schools
  • Must have completed at least one full-time college semester before the course begins
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA, good academic & disciplinary standing
  • Must be matriculated at a college or university during the Summer 2011 term


  • Tuition, 4 credits: $3000
  • Deposit (applied to program costs, non-refundable): $400
  • Program Fee: $450
  • Housing Fee: $850
  • NYU Registration & Services Fee: $510

Program fee includes mandatory excursions and some meals.

 Other Major Costs to Consider:

  • Round-trip airfare (students purchase their own tickets and are responsible for their own accommodation for travel beyond the program dates); students will be notified when to book flights
  • Fees for passport; fees for travel visa, if required
  • Most meals and local transportation

Financial Aid

See our Financial Aid for Study Away page for details on opportunities.

Important Travel Details

Housing: Students are required to reside in accommodations arranged by NYU Gallatin.

Travel Documents: All program participants are required to have a valid passport, and certain participants might need a travel visa. These documents should be obtained well in advance of the program start date.