Centre-Term Study Abroad 2025
This course will provide an overview of Korean philosophies and religious/spiritual traditions and consider how they have been incorporated into Korea’s ceramic practice. Students will learn about Korea’s ceramic practices from the 10th century and its historical trajectories, continuities, and discontinuities up to the present day. In this regard, students will learn how Buddhism, Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism, and Taoism have influenced Korean ceramic practices as well as its material history through economic trade, cultural exchange, and imperialism. The course will provide a general introduction into Korea’s history, culture, religious traditions, and present-day, and will end with visits to several ceramic masters. Throughout the course, students will be engaged with experiential learning opportunities in Korean ceramics and Korea’s cultural history.
Faculty: Dr. Bosco Bae
In this course students will engage with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their relationship to sustainability across Thailand. For example, to study “no hunger” and “life below water”, students will examine sustainable forms of aquaculture and mangrove restoration. To study “life on land” and “decent work and economic growth”, students will study the ecotourism industry (elephant conservation and forest restoration near Chiang Mai). Finally, to examine “clean water and sanitation” and “reduced inequalities”, students will examine the water infrastructure around Bangkok and beyond. In each of these examples, students will take part in experiential learning components through site visits and guest speakers, as well as read about and discuss the challenges associated with each of these goals.
Faculty: Dr. Brett Werner
The epicenter of the Italian Renaissance was Florence, which has a rich history in art and science. This course is meant to widen and extend that knowledge and interest into the scientific breakthroughs that also occurred in Florence during this period, focusing on the scientific discoveries of Galileo and Leonardo da Vinci, the best example of a true “Renaissance man”. However, there were women who contributed such as Artemisia Lomi Gentileschi and other non-traditional contributors to the revolutions in science and art. Students will also learn about the history of science that includes cultures outside of Europe that predated the cultures such as the Greek and Roman societies. This course will be based on the book “A Cultural History of Physics” by Károly Simonyi, as translated by David Kramer.
Faculty: Dr. Bruce Rodenborn
Yoga, and mindfulness more generally, helps to build a sense of belonging, of being in the moment, and of appreciating the way we perceive and affect our surroundings. This way is opposed to being constantly distracted, anxious, or hustling. This course is centered on knowledge and experience from the student perspective of being abroad, as we will initially be in a foreign environment. We will work toward achieving know-how alongside intercultural and social skills relating to engaging with the land, the lagoon, and the community. These activities are the focus and goal; it’s our “yoga”. Through careful structures and actions with local community partners, we re-center ourselves regularly to help them welcome us, which allows us to feel welcome in return. The type of yoga and meditation we will do is basic and inclusive. Being able to swim is recommended, although not necessary.
Faculty: Dr. Christian Wood
This course is intended to immerse students into the tradition, theology, culture, and environment of pilgrimage. Specifically, this course will allow students to explore the significance of pilgrimage by performing the actions of a pilgrim to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. For over 1000 years, people of faith have traveled to the burial site of St. James in Santiago. The routes to reach Santiago flourished in the medieval era, paths that were walked by princes, kings, and ordinary peasants. As a result each town along the way to Santiago bears vivid material evidence through ecclesial art and architecture that speaks to the popularity of this practice. Students will walk in their footsteps upon these well-trod routes, specifically focusing on the route in northern Spain. By delving into this practice, students are expected to gain a deeper knowledge of the role of ritual practice in religion as well as an understanding of the continued significance of physical ritual in the contemporary world.
Faculty: Dr. David Hall
This course is an introduction to geology using the volcanoes of New Zealand as a focus. Students will spend 21 days on the North Island of New Zealand learning about three very different types of volcanoes. In the Auckland area we will study a basaltic volcanic field, in Rotorua we will learn about rhyolitic caldera volcanoes and in Tongariro National Park we will study andesitic stratovolcanoes. This is the ultimate outdoor course: only one activity will take place indoors; all lectures and other activities will be on or in sight of volcanoes.
In this course, we look at different facets of women's activism from the early-nineteenth century up to the present as expressed in literature, film, art, and media. We will study women who made history by examining the contributions they made to the world around them from their own perspectives. We will do so by examining the way in which their work intersected with questions of cultural and national identification, gender, class, and politics. We will use cross-cultural perspectives and approaches to examine how women from Germany, the African diaspora, East Asia, and Southeast Asia engaged with moral problems such as racial prejudice, the suffering of the innocent, the development of moral consciousness and social responsibility, and the role of solidarity. Students will connect their learning with their own intellectual interests. The course will primarily be in Berlin, but also visits the former concentration camp Ravensbrück and Hamburg. Our classroom will be in Berlin neighborhoods, museums, cemeteries, and memorial sites.
This course will offer an interdisciplinary look at hiking, photography, and mindful meditations.These three different practices (athletic, creative, contemplative) are often represented as “liberating” and this course will look at what these practices have in common to explain how and in what sense these practices are liberating. In this course, students will adopt an interdisciplinary framework, articulating philosophy and psychology with actual practice while making sense of their experiences through selected scholarly readings. By the end of this course, students will not only be skillful in these three practices, but will also be knowledgeable in the main findings of the psychology of meditation, and in the philosophy of the body of Spinozam Merleau-Ponty, and Deleuze.
In this course, students will explore the interconnection between spiritual and physical worlds focusing on concepts such as enlightenment, human and environmental deification, syncretism, respect, awareness, and sustainability through an approximately three week, walking pilgrimage experience in Japan. Students will learn basic tenets of Japanese Buddhism, particularly Shingon Buddhism, as well as Shintó, a spiritual belief system unique to Japan. At the same time, students will explore environmental issues directly related to the pilgrimage sites on the island of Shikoku and the prefectures of Tokushima and Wakayama, where students will be trekking. Visits to temples, shrines, and other related historic, natural, architectural, and cultural heritage sites will provide physical context. Scheduled meetings with scholars and key players in the tourism industry as well as coincidental interactions with local religious leaders and fellow pilgrims will help students understand the complex issues that arise when religion, tradition, and tourism meet.
Faculty: Dr. Robert Schalkoff
The people of Puerto Rico embrace all parts of their history, including its role in the slave economy and its experience in imperial wars that left it politically marginalized and economically exploited. But they also celebrate the beauty of an island that has sustained generations of people, with rich foodways, breathtaking landscapes and coastlines, and powerful leaders who inspired resistance to imperial oppressions. These stories transcend national boundaries as Puerto Ricans moved to the United States in large numbers in the twentieth century.By starting the course in New York, students will explore a multi-national vision of Puerto Rico as the beating heart of a trans-American story of resilience and fortitude. Key sites will include Puerto Rican neighborhoods in New York City and the course will unfold in museums, art galleries, and other sites of importance to Puerto Ricans who made the United States their home. We will be in New York for the Three Kings Day parade which is one of the most important holidays for Puerto Ricans in New York City. The course will then move to Puerto Rico, where students will explore its complicated past with stays in Ponce and San Juan, and visit sites like El Yunque National Forest.
Music is omnipresent and is a central component of every culture on Earth. However, truly understanding the music one hears and being able to describe, converse, contextualize, and think about it takes study and practice. During this course, we will learn how to identify various foundational elements of music, and then use the abundant varieties of live music in London and Glasgow as our laboratory to explore this new knowledge. Using important facets of British culture – such as their state religion (The Church of England) and their rich history with theatre and folk music – as a framework, our listening experiences will take place in cathedrals, concert halls, theatres, pubs, and other venues that allow for a broad and diverse representation of musical styles. The first two weeks are held in London, with a day trip to Cambridge. The course culminates in Glasgow, where we will take part in Celtic Connections, a highly-renowned folk festival held annually in late January/early February. No prior musical experience is necessary.
Faculty: Dr. Zach Klobnak
This course will introduce students to global health issues, exploring various microbes that cause infectious diseases. Students will learn definitions pertinent to epidemiology and host-parasite relationships, as well as vectors/hosts, pathogenic agents, and routes of transmissions. Humanity is experiencing many emerging and re-emerging diseases long thought gone, controlled, or eradicated such as Tuberculosis, Yellow fever, Zika, Dengue, Ebola, and Malaria. The contemporary disease landscape in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia has been shaped by diverse evolutionary, ecological, and anthropogenic processes. Students will address the relationship histories of human-environment relations and diseases including, but not limited to, sleeping sickness, West Nile virus, and rinderpest.
Faculty: Dr. Jean Faye