Washington, DC: Summer 2023

Washington, DC


"The American Sueño"

Washington, DC is a city of dramatic contrasts. Staggeringly powerful decision makers work within sight of communities struggling with deep and entrenched poverty. It is a city that bears the markers of long histories of racial segregation and economic inequality. DC is a city where economic development is remaking the urban fabric in ways that benefit those who can afford to live and play in newly hip spaces but marginalize and displace those who cannot. And it is a city where communities of immigrants from many different Latin American countries have worked out their own iteration of the American dream in the past century.

Often separated from mainstream opportunities by cultural or linguistic differences, Millions of immigrants have come to the United States from around the world, and the broadly diverse group that has carried the term ‘Latino’ or ‘Latinx’ is one of the most visible. Part of that visibility has meant that the individuals in the Latinx community have borne both criticism and marginalization from the centers of power in our nation’s major cities. Even our federal capital isn’t exempt from these dynamics which have played outsized roles in the lives of those seeking to pursue a true American Dream, or perhaps the American Sueño.

During these three weeks, we will have fun exploring the city together and trying to understand how all of this fits together. We will encounter and describe the communities that have shaped themselves through immigration and birth into this country. We will trace the history of the Latinx community in our nation’s capital and surrounding cities and then will observe the rich and diverse cultural manifestations that have taken hold in the city. We will consider the successes and the setbacks that the Latinx community has faced—and what their experiences can teach us about the spatial, racial, and economic forces shaping inequality. We will visit people and organizations working to improve the conditions in communities marginalized from the centers of power and then cast an eye to the future to see the remaining areas in need of integration and equity. And we will taste, see, and discover the history and cultural richness that the Latinx community in DC has to offer.

Students will live at the Washington Community Scholars’ Center in the Brookland neighborhood and will cook meals together there. Projects and activities will include visiting and volunteering with local nonprofit organizations, theater performances, neighborhood exploration, museums, local restaurants, and cultural events.



Seminar Leaders: Wendell Shank, Language & Lit. and
Ann Butwell, Washington Community Scholars' Center

May 8–26, 2023
Estimated Cost: $2,700 Includes tuition, room and board (subject to change)
Enrollment: 15 Students


  • CCSSC 201 Cross-Cultural Social Science: Washington DC 3 SH


  • Routine – MMR, DPT series with last booster within 10 years, IPV or OPV, Hep B, Hepatitis A and Covid-19 as required for EMU enrollment.
  • In an effort to maximize the safety of our hosts and our students, EMU Intercultural Programs requires all employees and students who plan to travel for intercultural immersion, both domestic and international, to have completed their vaccination regimen for COVID-19 more than 14 days prior to travel. This requirement is one of the standard immunizations required for enrollment, effective Mar. 1, 2021

Routine immunizations and prescriptions may be obtained at EMU Health Services by appointment. 
Immunizations may also be obtained from your local health department or primary care provider.

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