International Travel Classes

Brazil:  Melting Pot or Mosaic?
(taught 2010 and 2013)
Class Blog 2013

Brazil is composed of a multitude of cultures. It is the cradle of hundreds of separate, indigenous cultural groups as well as being a country shaped by the forces of colonialism and slavery. Thus, several questions arise: how do those living in modern Brazil constitute themselves as racial and cultural beings? What impact does geography and environment have in shaping identity? Is there an overarching cultural identity? In what ways are regionalism and language important constituents of identity? How does colonial history impact modern society? To attempt to answer these questions and others, the course takes students to Brazil on a three week visit, exposing them to Brazilian culture and civilization.

India: Society and Culture (taught 2007 and 2012)

Class Blog Link

With a population among the most diverse in the world, the culture and society of India have played a major role in human history. A locus of important trade routes and vast empires, India has a rich and unique cultural heritage influenced both by established traditions and the customs of a multitude of invaders and immigrants. This course focuses on modern India, with an overview of key social institutions such as religion, gender, class/caste, colonialism (and post-colonialism), political and economic structures, and social movements. The course includes a 3-week trip to India to allow students direct experience of Indian culture and cultural practices. The course also covers key moments in Indian history to help create a context for understanding modern India.

South Africa: Multiculturalism, Race, and Place (taught 2008, 2011, and 2014)

Class Blog Link for 2008

Class Blog Link for 2011

Class Blog 2014
With its strategic geographic location, controversial political history, and ethnically diverse population, the Republic of South Africa is widely regarded as one of the most socially and economically developed countries in Africa. This course offers students a chance to learn about and interact with the people, society, and culture of South Africa through a three-week journey to the country. Lectures, readings, and films prior to travel will establish the ideas and movements that have shaped contemporary South African society and culture. During our journey, students have the opportunity to observe, describe, and reflect upon the practices and politics of multiculturalism, race and spatial organization, and the ethnic arts of the region through on-site visits to places of cultural, social, and historical significance. Race, and the Social Construction of racial identities are a major theme of the course.

The European Union (taught 2006)

Europe is in the historic process of becoming a ‘United Europe,’ through the federalizing progress of the European Union. This course examines the history of the European Union, and looks at some of the major cultural, social, and economic challenges to its success. We especially focus on the conflicting draws of national identity and the new ‘European’ identity. Will the European Union successfully overcome cultural, historical, and economic differences to create a new unified nation-state? This course travels to several different European countries so students can assess the progress and promise of the European Union.