||CentreTerm classes get an Asian spin—and one travels to "Paradise"
for the trip of a lifetime
RELEASED: December 10, 2009
By Abby Malik
DANVILLE, KY—Centre College's dedication to global citizenship has taken an Eastern turn, beginning with of the College's Centre-in-China study abroad program last fall.
And during CentreTerm 2010—the College's unique three-week winter term—five courses focus on Asian culture, offering Centre students unique looks at different aspects of a continent thousands of miles away.
In January, Dr. Larry Bitensky, Hazelrigg Associate Professor of Music, and a group of 23 students will travel to the Indonesian island of Bali for nearly two weeks of exploring Balinese visual and performing arts for the "Sacred Arts of Paradise" course.
"I've had my eye on a CentreTerm course in Bali for some time," says Bitensky. "Its culture is incredibly unique, and its fusion of ritual, music, theater, visual art and literature offers a view of life and the world that is both extraordinarily rich and distinctively different from the orientation that we have in the West.
"The amazing thing about this course is that there are so many opportunities for students to really learn these arts from the inside out. We'll be spending much time at houses and studios of master artists, musicians, and dancers, and the plan is for us to gain enough expertise for a performance at the end of the term."
Lily Thompson '10, a senior from Louisville, is going to Bali during CentreTerm. As a double major in music and biology, this is a big opportunity for her.
"When I was deciding how I should spend my last CentreTerm, I knew that I wanted it to be unforgettable," Thompson says. "I've been planning on going abroad for my senior year CentreTerm for most of my time at Centre, and when I found out that Larry was going to Bali, I couldn't have been more excited."
Thompson and her classmates have met several times in order to get to know one another before the trip and to learn about Balinese culture and the different art forms they'll be studying.
"I've also done some research on the places we're visiting," she says. "But because Balinese culture is so different from our own, it's not possible to be completely prepared—that's part of the adventure."
Thompson is excited to learn Balinese arts from the musicians, craftspeople and performers themselves.
"It's the sort of thing I probably wouldn't be able to do if I went to Bali on my own, and it's these experiences that make studying abroad special," Thompson says.
Other Asian-focused courses offered this CentreTerm:
Dr. Fumie Bouvier, part-time professor of Japanese, is teaching "Japanese Culture in 16 Days," in which students explore the similarities of American and Japanese culture—the popularity of McDonalds and Starbucks, for example—and the differences, including old Japan's impact on contemporary Japan. Classroom activities will include origami, a tea ceremony and calligraphy.
Dr. Michael Hamm, Boles Professor of History, will lead "The Great War," a course that explores the causes and consequences of World War I, including growing tensions in the Middle East, India and China.
Dr. Steve Beaudoin, Cantrell Associate Professor of History, is taking a class to China to explore four cities—Xi'an, Nanjing, Shanghai and Beijing. Students will use these classes as "laboratories" to examine internal and external factors that have shaped China's relationship with other countries.
Dr. Satnam Mendoza Forrest, assistant professor of religion, is conducting "Religion in Japanese Popular Culture," a course exploring the many ways in which Japanese religions and folklore are used in the creation of some of the best anime produced by modern society.
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