University of Miami School of Law Course Description - Online System
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Spring 2016

Course Description
The central activity of this course - jointly listed in Latin American Studies program (“Coastal Conservation and Development”) and Marine Affairs & Policy Program (“Fieldwork in Coastal Management”) - is a trip during Spring Break to Bocas del Toro, Panama. The theme will focus on environmental planning in a relatively pristine coastal region of Panama that is experiencing rapid tourism development. Additionally, the class will spend three days in Panama City visiting numerous controversial coastal development sites. Participants meet weekly during the entire semester to prepare for the course and then to present research results.

The course will begin with weekly class meetings on Wednesday evenings at UM in preparation for the field trip during Spring Break 2016. Participants will read and discuss the selected background literature regarding the tensions between conservation and development and, as well, will examine in details the Bocas del Toro region (cultures and ethnicity, economic and social history, physical geography, government institutions, natural resource base, and recent experiences in environmental planning). During this phase of the course, the instructor will guide students in the development of a short research plan for their individual or group work in Bocas del Toro.

During the week our group will visit Bocas del Toro (March 4-13), we will arrange discussions and presentations by local experts in topics that are relevant to the course (marine resources in Bocas del Toro, organization and problems of the artisanal fishing communities, development of the municipal land use plan, activities of Environmental Groups in Bocas del Toro, management of the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park, sea turtle conservation in Bocas del Toro, among others). Students will have ample time to conduct their own (individual or small group) research interviews and observations during the week. In summary, course activities in Bocas del Toro will include the following:

1. Lectures in Bocas del Toro on the following topics: natural resource base, productive uses of the marine and coastal resources, government institutions with authority over the use of the resources, environmental and social problems in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, recent planning efforts to improve the management of the coastal and marine resources;

2. Interviews with artisanal fishers, tourism operators, hotel owners, environmental group representatives, government authorities, and the scientific community;

3. Visits to key natural attractions of Bocas del Toro (PNMIB, Dolphin Bay, mangrove forests and coral reefs);

4. Visits to sites of productive activities and interviews with persons involved: banana plantations, fisheries, tourism operations; and

5. Development of an individual/group research project.

Upon return to Miami from Panama, the course participants will continue to meet for the remainder of the semester. This portion of the course will focus on presentation of research results (written and oral).

The all-inclusive program fee is $1,300. It includes air fare, hotels, entry fees to parks, speakers, group meals, tours, etc.

Course Schedule
Dates Day Time Room
01-11-2016 - 04-20-2016   W  6:25 PM-9:05 PM TBD

Course Frequency
This course is usually offered once every academic year

Course Information

Credits: 3
Pass/Fail Option: No
Method of Evaluation: Research paper
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Writing Requirement
Special Attributes:
Travel Required
Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s):
Environment & Natural Resources - Specialized
International & Comparative Law - Related
Real Property - Related
Social Justice - Related
Bar Subject(s): None
Concentration(s): None
Course Book(s): TBD/None      
First Class Assignment(s): TBD/None



Contact Information:
Phone: 305-361-4685
Office: x54685