Spring 2013 Preview Courses for Freshmen
Archaeology and the Classical Culture of Storytelling
In Athens Preview, you’ll have a fantastic opportunity to be many things—archaeologist, historian, explorer, literary scholar, and anthropologist—as we study the classical stories and myths which we have come to admire over the centuries. We’ll explore the settings which inspired famous pieces of literature such as Homer’s Odyssey and Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, and investigate the culture which created the stories about the monsters we all know (and love) and the heroes who defeated them (for better...or for worse). We will spend several days in Athens visiting the Parthenon, the Acropolis (and the incredible new Acropolis Museum), the surrounding Agora and the many temples of the Central District. We will also find our way to the Greek islands, where so many kingdoms once existed and where so many of those stories are set.
Symbol of Cold War tensions, divided city, university student mecca, global arts center, largest Turkish population outside Turkey, great venues for Japanese J-Rock … Berlin, reunified as global metropole since 1990, will remain a symbol of reunified Germany's quest for a new identity as well as the very resistance to identities being forced upon Berliners, a font of disturbing memories. How do different generations and different cultures reflect on Berlin as a home in transition? Has Berlin once again become a place where young artists from all over the world reinvent themselves and their work? What makes Berlin so appealing to people of different generations? Always rewriting the meaning of its own history, Berlin is forever becoming … well, “Berlin.”
São Paulo, Brazil
Goal! Socio-cultural Significance of Football in Brazil
Brazil is the world’s fifth most populated country and sixth largest economy. Football (or soccer) is the world’s most popular sport and synonymous with Brazilian life. The game’s premier athletes are Brazilian: Pele, Ronaldo, Marta, Kaka, Ronaldinho, etc. As Brazil prepares to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, students in Goal! Socio-cultural Significance of Football in Brazil will examine the sport’s influence nationally, and the international prominence of Brazilian futebol. An estimated 400 000 visitors will descend on Brasil for the FIFA World Cup and the overwhelming majority of them will be men (Turco, Swart et al 2011). One social consequence of hosting the World Cup is increased prostitution and human trafficking, an issue also to be examined in this course.
Paris, The City of Light: from Medieval to Modern Metropolis
This course focuses on the past and modern city of Paris and French art. It will examine the cultural and historical significance of major monuments in the city. Class lectures and writing assignments will prepare you to experience the Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame in the medieval heart of the city; to explore the Louvre, a royal palace turned into a great museum; to walk in Louis XIV’s gardens and the grandiose chateau at Versailles and to discover The Musee D’Orsay and the Left Bank, following in the footsteps of avant-garde artists like Picasso and Matisse.
The Wild, Wild East: From Silk Road to Superinformation Highway
This course will introduce students to the world’s earliest global network of interconnecting routes that linked East and West, known today as the Silk Road. All manner of precious commodities, musical forms, religious beliefs, scientific discoveries, technical breakthroughs and extraordinary adventurers made their way through this fabled starting point for change and exchange: Xi’an. Once we arrive there, we will visit the Emperor’s terracotta army, the city’s historic walls, palaces, temples and Muslim quarters. In addition we will witness the legacy of the historic Silk Road: Xi’an’s modern silk industry, commerce, superinformation highway and university life.
Cuba: Myths and Realities
Since the 1800s Americans have long been obsessed with Cuba in complicated and changing ways. This course will examine the many transformations in U.S.-Cuban relations with particular focus on the perceptions and representations that frame American public discourse about Cuba. Using film, text, experiential activities and cultural visits, students will examine the rich complexities, realities, and mythologies of this island nation.
Dublin and Belfast, Ireland
Two Irelands, One Island
Ireland today is divided by differences in politics, belief, and self identity; but the sameness in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland truly helps to shape the concept of what it means to be Irish. Examining what unites and divides these two halves of the island helps to provide a greater understanding of Irish identity. Focusing on history, literature, cultural studies, music, and art, this course will offer reflective insight into Irishness and why 80 million people around the world look to this small island as their ancestral home.
Fiction and Film in Edinburgh
This Preview course will examine the means of exploring a city through writing and film. Students will read short stories, novels, and also watch several films that depict various visions of Edinburgh and its cosmopolitan neighborhoods—in the process they will gain an appreciation for the diversity present in the the Scottish capital, and global cities in general. Students will also be encouraged to compare representations of Edinburgh to those of their home town—Philadelphia or another domestic city depending on where the student is from. In this way students will see their exploration of Edinburgh not as something strictly foreign, but also as a means to discovering what cultures share.
The West of Ireland: Galway, Connemara and the Aran Islands
The West of Ireland is an enchanting place filled with "typical" Irish towns and villages, long stretches of stunning coastline, soaring sea cliffs, and craggy countryside that boasts a uniquely desolate beauty and a vibrant cultural heritage rich in tradition. This Preview course will introduce students to Western Irish history, culture, music, arts and its engaging people. Students will learn about the interconnected relationship of Irish immigration and American history, as well as the specific nature of Ireland’s West. By exploring the city of Galway, one of the Aran Islands and the Burren, students will be exposed to three very different environments that are within a 100 mile radius of each other.
Jerusalem: Major Religions in a Divided Land
The City of Jerusalem is considered the birthplace of the three major monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. During the three millennia of Jerusalem’s existence as a city there have been many divisions in the geographic boundaries, population, “ownership”, religious practices, world views and more. These divisions and differences continue into the twenty-first century. Upon completion of this course students will have developed an appreciation and understanding of those differences among the three monotheistic religions throughout the centuries. The understanding of and ability to discuss those differences will be the overall objective of this course. This course is highlighted by a “dual narrative” week in Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank of the Palestinian Territory with each day being led by two guides—one Israeli and one Palestinian. The guides will offer together a unique “dual narrative” tour of this continually contested land.
Seoul, South Korea
Visual Awareness: Art & Culture of South Korea
South Korea is a place where 5,000 years of history and culture harmoniously coincide with high-tech 21st century living. During our Preview course, we will experience major attractions of South Korea’s capital city, Seoul (Buddhist temple, historical palaces, villages, local markets, Gangnam district), and observe its contemporary and traditional art scenes. In this course, we will examine visual elements with a particular emphasis on heightening our visual awareness and connecting with this rich culture in a unique way.
The Goodwill Ambassadors
As our world evolves into a rapidly changing global society, the importance of goodwill missions to understand another’s culture and represent our own become paramount to successful relationships with the peoples of the world. This Preview course provides students the unique opportunity to serve as goodwill ambassadors to the United Kingdom. Students will meet with representatives from various public entities in and outside of London. The intended itinerary for the student goodwill ambassadors includes visits to: (1) the Supreme Court of Justice; (2) Parliament or other Governmental entity; (3) Cheltenham Borough, UK; and (4) the United States Embassy.
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, Paris from 1789 to the Present
The course will concentrate on historical, social, cultural and artistic changes that have taken place from 1789 to the present. We will contrast old Paris and new Paris by visiting museums, neighborhoods, shopping areas, monuments that reflect these contrasts. Also, we will compare French and American cultures, and how to avoid cultural faux-pas.
Cultural Crossover and Change
For millennia Romania has been poised at the crossroads of Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans and thus subject to constant invasions and occupations. The result is an incredibly resilient people who are a multicultural mix of ethnic Romanians, Hungarians, gypsies, and people of many other races, ethnicities, and nationalities. With the end of communist rule just over ten years ago, Romania is undergoing rapid changes in every sphere of human activity. This course will examine the fascinating cultural crossroads and changing nation that is Romania today!
P.S. Transylvania became a part of Romania in 1918, and that’s where Dracula got his start . . . !
The Eternal City
Known as 'the Eternal City', Rome is quite simply the most famous city in the world. Capital of the most renowned ancient empire; one of the great cultural centers of the Renaissance; home to the Vatican and the most powerful Christian denomination; and, in more modern times, noted for its film directors, movie stars, cuisine, climate, and great soccer teams: we will learn about and experience first-hand this extraordinary city. Colosseum. Pantheon. The Roman Forum. Sistine Chapel. Trevi Fountain. Not to speak of your pick of pizzeria, trattoria or ristorante. We will visit Rome's key cultural monuments and discover how past and present intersect in the daily lives of today's Romans.
Port of Spain, Trinidad
Between Calypso and Carnival: Multiculturalism and Globalization in Trinidad and Tobago
This course will investigate the political economy of Trinidad and Tobago through its historical inclusion in the global capitalist order. As a divided society that mirrors the centuries of globalization that have created the political economy, the people of Trinidad embody the cooperation and conflict of dependent development. Trinidadians embrace a wide range of philosophies and religions, but share a common nationality in embracing the traditions of what it means to be from Trinidad. Nevertheless, the political realm reflects many of the differences of a past linked to a history of segregation and oppression.
Courses Open to Both First-Year and Transfer Students
Service Learning in Mexico
This class will experience Mexico away from the popular tourist attractions. The class will explore Toltec and Aztec ruins and culture. The students will take part in a service learning experience in La Preciosita. The learning experience will include health and safety practices in developing countries, survival Spanish, adapting to various cultures that are quite different then the United States and exposure to the great depth of Mexican and Latino culture.
Monteverde, Costa Rica
Nature, Bilingualism & Education at Home and in the Cloud Forest
In order to participate fully in the world, students need to understand and speak other languages, engage with other cultures, and take a global perspective on the natural world. This preview course is especially designed with future educators in mind and aims to give students local and international experiences with Spanish/English bilingualism in community and educational contexts, opportunities to interact with others across cultures, and engagement with ecosystems and environmental education in contrasting locations. Throughout these experiences, students will be able to compare and contrast languages, environments, and educational approaches in Philadelphia and a Cloud Forest in Costa Rica while engaging with community members over time. Activities during the spring break portion of the course will include: 1) volunteer experiences in schools and community education programs that focus on language learning and/or environmental education (local public schools, The Cloud Forest School, The Children’s Eternal Rainforest, etc.), 2) homestays with Costa Rican families for part of the week, 3) informal interactions with local college-age students, 4) guided tours of the cloud forest and an organic coffee farm and 5) Latin dance lessons.