Spring 2018 Preview Courses

Preview is a two-credit, spring semester course for first-year and new transfer students at Arcadia University, offering a weeklong international experience over spring break. These unique courses are taught weekly in the spring semester on campus and culminate in a weeklong field study overseas. The field study is designed for students to examine the rich complexities of their studies, including history, music, art, global economy, and popular culture. 

Athens, Greece

Course: From Medusa to Medea: Analyzing the Archetypal Woman 
Faculty: Stavros Oikonomidis and Rhianon Visinsky
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

Ancient Greek myth and culture abounds with some of the most interesting, complex, and enduring female archetypes in the world. The pantheon of goddesses, characters of literature, and historical figures all provide diverse and intriguing portraits of what it meant to be a woman in ancient times. But where do these ideas originate? How do they change and transform according to the societies that influence them?  Are these archetypes still around today? Are they still relevant? In this course, the feminine archetype is explored from the prehistoric perspective of the South East Balkans through the views held by Classical Greece and the Byzantine Orthodoxy to modern day. You will get an overview of various archetypes that human societies create in order to understand how these ideas help illustrate the female side of the world. We will explore the different aspects of the feminine via lecture (both in the classroom and in Greece), class discussions, and various in-country activities.

Photo by Lindsay Fortier '18

Cotonou, Benin

Course: Routes/Roots, Religion, and Royalty in the Republic of Benin
Faculty: Kalenda Eaton and Roland Adjovi
Time: Fridays from 1:45-3:45 p.m.

The West African countries maintain a rich cultural legacy and ongoing social, political, and economic connections to the Americas. “Routes/Roots, Religion, and Royalty” will closely examine the history, cultural productions, social structures, and economic and political realities of one of those countries, the Republic of Bénin. This course will introduce you to Bénin , a democratic country of ancient kingdoms and vast resources. We will explore Bénin’s role in the transatlantic slave trade of the 19th century; contemporary politics; religious influence; and aspects of social development, including women’s roles in society. Overall, we will learn about history and current structures which make Bénin one of the most “stable and safe” governments in Western Africa. This program will require you to purchase a visa (approximate cost $140) plus a yellow fever vaccination (approximate cost $115 ).

Doolin and Galway, Ireland

Course: Authentic Ireland: Authentic Ireland: Exploring the Wild Atlantic Way, its Ecosystems and its Residents
Faculty: Jeanne Buckley and Maryann Worrell
Time: Tuesday from 4-6 p.m.

Designed for adventurous students who love hiking, outdoor excursions, the ocean, fresh air, small towns and gorgeous landscapes, this course will introduce you to Irish history, culture and music through Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, where Irish-speaking people abound and most road signs are in both English and Irish.  You will explore the settlement and ecological history of the West of Ireland, and the area's continued dedication to sustaining the natural beauty and resources of this unique landscape.  You 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 town of Doolin (just below the Cliffs of Moher), the city of Galway, one of the Aran Islands (Inishmore), the Burren, and the Connemara peninsula, students will be exposed to five very different environments that are within a 100 mile radius of each other. 

Paris, France

Course: Paris: A City of Insiders and Outsiders
Faculty: Kate Bonin and Matthew Heitzman
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

The city of Paris has been profoundly shaped by the powerful, the privileged, and the talented men and women who have inhabited it: from its kings, emperors and presidents; to brilliant engineers and technocrats such as Baron Haussmann and Gustave Eiffel; to groundbreaking artists and intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. At the same time, the city’s structures (both physical and cultural) have been challenged, attacked and re-made by invaders and revolutionary forces from outside its institutions: from the Viking invaders who sailed up the Seine to raid the capital of the Frankish empire; to the “rejected” artists who revolutionized nineteenth-century painting; from the May 1968 university student and worker protests that brought the federal government to a halt; to the political and social tensions surrounding the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015. Over the course of the semester, and during our week-long stay in Paris, we will seek to understand the physical, political, economic and cultural structures of French civilization through our study of Parisian “insiders” and “outsiders.”

Dublin, Ireland & Derry, Northern Ireland

Course: Wherever Green is Worn:  Modern Ireland Through History and Tradition
Faculty: Timothy Barton
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

No longer simply the land of saints and scholars, green fields and stone walls, St. Patrick and the gift of gab, modern Ireland is a multifaceted society facing the global challenges of the twenty-first century, while still cherishing and embracing its history and the world-renowned sense of Irishness. This course will examine how the influence of Ireland’s past, both internal and external, helped to shape its place in today’s world. Focusing on Irish history, literature, and traditional culture, the course will explore the development of Ireland from its Celtic past to today, the continuing tensions in Northern Ireland, and the impact of 80 million people around the world looking toward Ireland as their ancestral home. While abroad, you will be engaged in experiences in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Highlights include walking tours of Dublin, lectures on modern Irish history, a visit to the Irish parliament, a daytrip to Derry, a visit to ancient and medieval ruins outside of Dublin, and time in a seaside village.

Photo by Alex Reid '17

Managua, Nicaragua

Course: Liberation Theology in Pre- and Post-Conflict Nicaragua
Faculty: Ryan Genova and Alan Powell
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

Dictatorship, civil war, and the after-effects of Hurricane Mitch have left Nicaragua one of the most impoverished countries in the Western hemisphere. Though its numbers and influence are slowly declining, the Catholic Church is Nicaragua’s most politically active religious group and wields significant political influence. How has the Church historically responded to the “plight of the poor” in Nicaragua? In which ways does religion intersect with economics? Is it incumbent upon religious groups to help the poor in their societies? If so, how? This course will explore answers to these questions by examining the unique role of “liberation theology” in creating and sustaining the Nicaraguan Revolution of 1978. We will consider Church leaders’ approaches to oppression, illiteracy, poverty, and politics within the context of Catholic doctrine and sacred texts. We will get to know what it means to identify as “Catholic,” “Protestant,” and “Unaffiliated” in contemporary Nicaragua as well as the United States. In-country, we will tour Sandinista landmarks, long-standing Catholic churches, and natural attractions while engaging in meaningful community service through local organizations. You will depart Managua with a deeper understanding of Nicaraguan culture, history, and religiosity.  

Vienna and Salzburg, Austria

Course: Music and Culture of Austria
Faculty: Elizabeth Murphy
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

We will examine the music and culture of Austria from multiple perspectives and disciplines with a focus on music. Most of the Preview will be experienced in Vienna, Austria’s capital and music center with an overnight trip to Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart. We will learn about the cultural and musical history of Vienna and Salzburg and the key musical influences that have inspired others all over the world. Class lectures and assignments will prepare you to make the most of your experiences in two of the most famous cities in the world. Weekly lessons in German will assist you with basic vocabulary skills in these German speaking cities. Although many residents speak English, you will find you will be greeted warmly if you at least try to greet the residents in German. Some highlights may include: city walking tours, a trip to the opera or orchestral concert, High Mass and Vienna Boys Choir performance, Freud Museum, Schönbrunn Palace, Mozart’s birth house, and a Sound of Music tour. You need no prior musical knowledge; the only necessity is a love of music.

London, UK

Course: Lessons Learned: Exploring leadership through the lens of history and literature
Faculty: Breann Donnelly and Alisha Leu
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

What makes a good leader? A great one? What lessons can we learn about successful and unsuccessful leadership styles by examining British history? Together, we will examine leadership by looking at times in British history when it was tested the most. We will investigate how some of Britain's most infamous leaders managed crisis, conflict, and their evolving role in the world. Using historical and literary sources from the time we will look at how time has changed our perceptions of these leaders and create a better understanding of our own leadership potential.

London, UK

Course: Get Your Groove On: Exploring the Urban Music Scene in London and Philadelphia
Faculty: Bruce Campbell 
Time: Mondays from 4-6 p.m.

This course provides an in depth comparative experience in both the London and Philadelphia music scenes. We begin by discussing the history and types of music that are found in urban London and Philadelphia. In groups, you will research an aspect of the music scene (artists, recording, production, distribution, touring and shows, and technology). You will attend a live show in the Philadelphia area and present in groups on an aspect of the music scene as well as your experiences at the show. We will use technology to locate and assign web content (e.g., music, video, blogs) as readings for the course. Guest speakers who have roots in the Philadelphia music scene will discuss with the class the history and current music scene in Philadelphia. During your time in London, you will again attend a music show and visit a variety of places related to the music scene (e.g., radio stations, recording studios, etc). You will make a comparison between your experiences in Philadelphia and London. These comparisons form the basis for your final product to be presented at the Global Expo.

Photo by Danielle Goff '18

Muscat, Oman

Course: Explore Oman: Culture, History, and Archaeology in the Gulf Region
Faculty: Allyson McCreery and Warren Haffar
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

This course will focus on the complex history and rich culture of the Sultanate of Oman. The course introduces you to Oman in a way that integrates social, economic and political dimensions of this society. Particular attention is given to the construction of cultural and national identities in this diverse society and how they are deeply rooted in the prehistoric and ancient past of Oman. The environment, religion, language, migration, and economic development are considered to be influential factors in the construction of identities situated in Oman’s modern era.  This program will require you to purchase a visa (approximate cost $20).

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Course: Vietnam & the United States: Then and Now
Faculty: Peter Siskind and Ellen Skilton-Sylvester
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

This course, which includes a one-week travel component to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (formerly Saigon), explores the past and present relationships between Vietnam and the United States in a global context. You will examine a range of topics including the complexity of the Vietnam War itself (or what is called the American War in Vietnam), Vietnamese migrants and refugees in the U.S., and public health legacies of the war.  In addition to the travel component, you will draw on oral history narratives, interactions with Vietnamese residents of Philadelphia, and applied theater approaches to investigate, explore, and reflect on the meanings of the many connections between the U.S. and Vietnam. This program will require you to purchase a visa (approximate cost $25).

Barcelona, Spain

Course: Cosmopolitanism: The Barca Identity
Faculty: Kylie McCreesh
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

Explore cosmopolitanism through the lens of what has been named the most cosmopolitan city in the world, Barcelona.  We will examine the Barcelona identity, their linguistic minority, regionalism, and culture to understand what it means to be cosmopolitan.  Through our classroom study and in-country exploration, we will compare US patriotism and Catalan cosmopolitanism to understand how global citizens evolve.

Shanghai and Jiangsu, China

Course: A Tale of Two Cities: Changing Urban Landscapes
Faculty: Janice Finn
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

Much has been written about the rapid changes and frenetic development of China’s metropolitan areas.  This course will explore how this has evolved and its effects on socio-economic conditions, the environment, education, architecture and the arts.  We will spend time in the Chinese commercial capital, Shanghai.  This city of 27 million inhabitants is mesmerizing for its modernity, stunning architecture and global focus.  We shall also visit a “small” city – Jiangsu – population only three million!  Jiangsu is known for offering a combination of “urban forests” and “grand river scenery” due to the surrounding mountains dotted with marvelous temples and pagodas, mighty rivers and bridges, and natural beauty. This program will require you to purchase a visa (approximate cost $140).

Photo by Shazel Gonzalez '17

Sicily, Italy

Course: This Sea is Not My Home: Immigration, Migration, and Social Justice in the Sicilian Context
Faculty: Michelle Reale
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

We will focus on the lives' of refugees in Sicily and the impact that the refugee crisis is having on the country in general and Siracusa in particular. With a rate of unemployment at the unbelievable rate of nearly 58% and the unprecedented rate of arrivals, the tension in Siracusa against the "invaders" is palpable.  Often, both natives and refugees are finding themselves as recipients of the charity of the social service agencies. This Preview aims to connect with those refugees, locals, and those working with both groups in order to alleviate need and to socialize the native population and the refugees with each other.  Both groups lack an understanding of each other and we will explore those difficulties in depth.  This course will move to a more "active service" model in which we will engage, each day, more fully with social service agencies such as Caritas in cooking for and feeding the needy.  We will seek to have greater contact with refugees and will organize activities with them, such as an evening playing soccer, a night of pizza, etc. You will learn about the refugee crisis, examine your own family's immigration, and conduct interviews with refugee and relief agency workers in order to gather a "snapshot" of the crisis up close and personal. We will visit neighborhoods in which refugees live which are quite removed from those of regular Sicilians, exemplifying the "ghettoizing" of the population, by keeping them on the fringe. The goal is to balance out a realistic picture of living in Sicily today at a time of great social change, and a change that is ongoing and unlikely to end any time soon.