Course Information

Course Name: “Transitional Injustice: Human Rights and Chile’s Vulnerable Populations”

Application Deadline: October 31, 2015

Notify Financial Aid: Nov. 24, 2015

Payment for Trip: Dec. 15, 2015

Travel Registration Form Due: Dec. 1, 2015

Duration onsite: 12 days (not including travel time)

Instructors: Jan Knippers Black, Professor, GSIPS

Hon. Juan Guzman Tapia, Director, Center for Human Rights Studies, Universidad Central

Credits:  4

Office Location:  McCone 117

• • •

In January 2016, students from MIIS, in collaboration with Global Majority, will take a trip to Chile to study human rights issues in country under one of the country’s most prominent human rights figures, the Hon. Juan Guzmán Tapia.  This site will serve as a tool to follow the progress of the upcoming trip, while offering insightful information regarding the context of the trip.  Below is a brief description of the Chile J-Term course prospectus:

A delegation of students will visit Chile between January 8 and 22 for a seminar-practicum on the country’s history of democracy and dictatorship, human rights abuse and transitional justice. The course will be offered by Monterey Institute Professor Jan Knippers Black, of the Graduate School of International Policy and Management, in collaboration with Judge Juan Guzmán, best known as Chile’s prosecutor of General Pinochet, and Global Majority, an NGO dedicated to the promotion of nonviolent conflict resolution. There will be particular focus on the role of the judicial system in the process of transition to democracy and the ongoing need for protection of the rights of indigenous and other vulnerable populations. Challenges to be confronted within these themes will relate also to grassroots development, community media, conflict resolution and environmental preservation.

The Chilean government’s treatment of its Indigenous population has come under criticism from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, World Organization against Torture, International Federation of Human Rights, and several UN human rights groups.  Over the past century, due largely to invasion, mistreatment and persecution by the various regimes ruling Chile, these indigenous groups have experienced great losses of population and land.  The Mapuche, Chile’s largest indigenous group, have been particularly subject to political violence, false charges of crimes, and extralegal application of anti-terrorism laws, resulting in open discrimination as well as criminalization of legitimate political protests and social demands. Some urban working class communities have also been targeted in this manner.

Chilean society as a whole has suffered great trauma since the demise of democratic government in 1973. Recovery, since 1990, has been gradual and challenging and – as recent waves of large-scale protest marches by overcharged and underserved university students have underscored – incomplete. This onsite course will draw upon the learning experience of Chileans of a variety of professions and circumstances. It will also deal with the collateral damage of dictatorship to institutions of civil society and to lower income groups, and it will promote opportunities for students to work with NGOs and communities in need of assistance.

Following a period of 5 or 6 days of lectures and discussion, orientation and field trips in and around the capital, Santiago, students will travel south to Araucania, the lake and volcano region, where they will observe and experience some of the challenges of life in a variety of Mapuche communities. There they will listen and learn directly from Mapuche leaders, both men and women, and they will gain experience in interviewing, assessing needs, and documenting abuses of the human rights of indigenous and otherwise underserved Chilean peoples.

The deliverable of the 4-hour credit course will be a report – which may take one of several forms – assessing the current human rights protection needs of a particular Chilean group or community and suggesting means of meeting those needs. Data and insights obtained onsite will be shared among students during 3 days of debriefing on the Coast, in Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. Papers and/or videos will be prepared and presented to the MIIS campus and local community toward the end of the spring semester. The group will also be responsible for putting together a newsletter, to be published by Global Majority, on perspectives gleaned from their learning experiences onsite in Chile. Op-ed length essays for the newsletter will be due 3 weeks after return to campus. Reports and essays from this term will become part of a compilation of those produced over several terms from which will be drawn (with student approval and acknowledgement) material for a book and a documentary addressing the needs, the options, and the prospects — including prospects for some degree of autonomy – for the Mapuche people.


If you have questions regarding the course or the outlined learning objectives above, please contact Professor Jan Black ( and her work-study assistant, Stephanie Nelson. Please copy Stephanie ( on all messages, as Dr. Black will be traveling frequently and will not have regular access to email.


Recommended Reading

  1. Black, Jan.  The Politics of Human Rights Protection:  Moving Intervention Upstream with Impact Assessment.  Maryland:  Rowman and Littefield, Inc., 2008.
  2. Angell, Alan.  Democracy After Pinochet:  Politics, Parties, and Elections in Chile.  Washington D.C.:  Brookings Institution Press, 2007.
  3. Burbach, Roger.  The Pinochet Affair:  State Terrorism and Global Justice.  London:  Zed Books, 2004.
  4. Guzman Tapia, Juan.  En el Borde del Mundo:  Memorias del Juez que Proceso a Pinochet.  Barcelona:  Anagrama, 2005.
  5. Constable, Pamela, and Arturo Valenzuela.  A Nation of Enemies:  Chile Under Pinochet.  New York:  W. W. Norton, 1991.
  6. Kornbluh, Peter.  The Pinochet File.  New York:  The New Press, 2003.
  7. Wright, C. Thomas.  State Terrorism in Latin America:  Chile, Argentina, and International Human Rights.  Boulder:  Rowman and Littlefield, 2007.
  8. Black, Jan.  Latin America:  Its Problems and Its Promise, 4th ed Rev, Boulder:  Westview Press, 2005.