Transforming Students, Transforming Selves: Teaching Social Justice Struggles in Context
Raquel E. Aldana
University of the Pacific - McGeorge School of Law
March 29, 2011
This essay reflects on the cross-cultural learning and teaching moments of students completing bilingual externships in Guatemala and working on projects related to the environmental justice struggles of indigenous communities affected by the Canadian Marlin Mine operations in the country. Transnational mining in Guatemala is one example of how the convergence of the local and global has divided a nation and has introduced new powerful actors and norms to change power dynamics and reshape strategies for social justice. The essay explores how the poor indigenous communities in Guatemala have experienced Canadian Mining. To the local Mayan communities of San Miguel, Ixtahuacán and Sipacapa, global strategies and norms have inevitably shaped their daily struggles for cultural cohesiveness and sustainability as they encounter transnational actors and forces. These struggles have radically transformed these communities, and their plight offer broader lessons to other communities facing similar struggles and to law students learning about social justice in the context of globalization.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: Transformative Learning, Global Social Justice Struggles, Environmental Justice, Indigenous Peoples Rights, Canadian Mining
Date posted: March 31, 2011