Economics 295C: Conservation and Sustainable Tourism Development in Cuba


Winter 2017

TTh 1:25 2:50

Instructor: Jim Casey

Holekamp 204, Ext. 8102,

Office Hours: By Appointment_

Prerequisites: Instructor permission Preference will be given to students who have taken ECON 255 and those who have a keen interest in conducting research in Cuba.




The syllabus explains what the course is about, explains grading, and provides links to the schedule and readings. I will assume you have read it carefully.


ECON 295C offers a unique opportunity for international and interdisciplinary learning.  Students will spend the first three weeks learning about the culture, history, and politics of Cuba.  Several guest speakers will help to facilitate this part of the course, including famous Cuban novelist, Uva de Aragon.  The next three weeks will introduce students to theories of marine conservation and sustainable tourism with example from Cuba.  The Washington Break will be utilized for a field trip to Cuba.  Students will have the opportunity to learn from marine scientists at the Center for Marine Research at the University of Havana.  We will visit several coastal research sites and learn about potential collaborative opportunities for Washington and Lee and University of Havana students and faculty.  The final six weeks will be devoted to the continuation of learning about conservation and sustainable tourism in Cuba.  Students will also be developing their own research proposals for future collaboration based upon their particular interests and contacts made in Cuba. 

Assignments and Grading:

Reading before class is essential.  If you dont read before class it will make it impossible to participate in class discussions and your class participation will determine 15% of your final grade.

We will have a midterm exam.  It will cover all the material presented in class before the Washington Break Field Trip.  This exam will determine 25% of your grade for the course.

While we are in Cuba, you will be expected to participate fully in daily activities and to keep a field journal.  Each evening we will have a debriefing session where you can share observations from your journal.  This will determine 15% of your course grade.

During the final six weeks of the course, you will have the opportunity to present pieces of your own work and to provide thoughtful comments on your partners work.  These presentations and critiques will determine another 15% of your grade.

The last week of the course you will present your final research proposal and turn it in to me and this will determine the remaining 30% of your grade for the course.

Tentative (and extremely flexible) Schedule:

SECTION I 3 weeks

1.     Introduction to Cuba History, Politics, and US relations


      The Revolution Under Raul Castro (pdf on blog)

      Obama and Cuba (pdf on blog)


2.     The Memory of Silence


3.     Sustainable Development

      Sustainability: An Economists Perspective


SECTION II 3 weeks

      The State of the Marine Environment in Cuba

      Cuban Environmental Law

      Cuban Tourism

      Can tourism contribute to Sustainable Development in Cuba?


Field Trip to Cuba: Centro de Investigaciones Marinas, Universidad de la Habana

Itinerary TBD

SECTION IV 6 weeks

      Primary literature on Socioeconomics of Marine Protected Areas

      Research Proposal Development

      Final Presentations