Author: Genesis Diaz

Global Journeys 2023

Journeys 2023:  (Post)Colonial Legacies (Planned destination: Martinique) with Dr. Philip Ojo (French and German)

Within the framework of complex, interdependent relationships across the globe, this course examines the postcolonial legacies as a direct result of the colonial experience: how slavery and colonization have shaped and are still shaping the connections between marginalized communities and dominant cultures.  The course focuses on the articulation of displacement, Eurocentrism, creolization, socio-economic inequalities, community, and contemporary global exchange patterns and networks.

In order to enhance the learning outcomes, a connected course, GBL 103 (Global Cultural Immersion Experience), offers opportunities for global connections in forms of exchanges, conversations, and experiential/service learning, as well as explorations of communities where (post)colonial legacies are most prevalent: New Orleans, as a domestic focus, and Martinique, as an international connection site. 

The learning experiences will enable students to:

a) Identify, describe and evaluate critical assumptions surrounding global processes, systems and issues;

b) Recognize varied perceptions and viewpoints of self and other cultures; and

c) Engage in meaningful intercultural communication.

Journeys 2023: Croatia – Environment and Sustainability (Planned destination: Croatia) with Dr. Srebrenka Robic (Biology)

This course introduces first-year students to global structures, systems and processes and connects these concepts to first-hand immersion experiences in Croatia. Drawing on a variety of disciplines, interests and expertise, the course explores complex and interdependent relationships across the globe. Students will examine a set of global themes through common readings, dialogue and small group discussions. These learning experiences will enable students to identify, describe and evaluate critical assumptions surrounding global issues.

This course also prepares students for their first-year immersion experience, providing them with the knowledge to recognize how global processes operate in a specific location, as well as the skills to engage in meaningful intercultural communication. In this section, students will explore the topics of environmental issues and sustainability from a global, interdisciplinary perspective. Through projects and readings, students will learn about challenges in addressing environmentally relevant topics such as conservation, climate change, clean energy, and sustainable development. During the travel study component of the course, students will visit research groups and organizations addressing these issues in Croatia. Upon return, the students will analyze and compare what they learned to equivalent issues in our local communities.

The common learning outcomes for all GBL 102 sections are:

  1.  Identify, explain, and analyze global themes, processes, and systems;
  2. Critically examine the relationship between dominant and marginalized subcultures or groups; 
  3. Demonstrate knowledge and skills essential for global engagement.

Upon completion of this course, the students in this particular section should also be able to:

  1. Identify at least one relevant environmental and/or sustainability issue in Croatia, and compare it to the US
  2. Compare and contrast approaches to environmental preservation and sustainability in Croatia, The European Union, and the United States 

Journeys 2023:  Cultural Identity Before & After Colonization (Planned destination: Belize) with Dr. James Stamant (English)

Belize is a multicultural country, with a complex indigenous, colonial, and post-colonial history that we will explore in this Global Journeys course.  Archaeologists believe that it was at one time the center of the ancient Maya world and once was home to more than 2 million Mayas. The Maya Empire evolved around 350 BC in the country’s lowlands, and many Mayan sites have been preserved. We will investigate some of these sites, and we will also spend time learning about the Garifuna, descendants of the African survivors of human cargo ships wrecked off the island of St. Vincent around 1675. Today some 50% of Belize’s population is of mixed Indigenous (mostly Maya) and European descent (Mestizo); another 25% are Kriols; 10% are Maya, and about 6% are Garifuna. Belize was declared a British colony in 1862 (British Honduras), the only Central American country colonized by Britain, and it gained its independence in 1981. Its recent history exemplifies the challenges and opportunities faced by many post-colonial countries.

Journeys 2023:  Decolonizing Conservation (Planned destination: Alaska, U.S.) with Dr. Jennifer Kovacs (Biology)

This course will explore the history and future of conservation biology and ecology through the lens of decolonization. We will study the often problematic history of conservation efforts, with a particular focus on the establishment of national parks in the United States. We will contrast those historical efforts with more recent partnerships between government agencies, tribal councils, non-profit groups, indigenous communities, and other stakeholders, especially in efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. Additionally, we will spend time exploring the often complementary role that Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) can play in ecology and the sciences. And finally, students will recognize the role they themselves can play in conservation projects through participation in a community science project with a critical/constructive eye to the impacts of ecotourism on communities. 

Journeys  2023: From Generation to Generation – Sustaining Ghanain Culture through Storytelling (Planned destination: Ghana) with Dr. Assata Amankeechi (Theatre)

This course will go beyond the written word to explore how Ghanaian people have sustained their culture through the art of different forms of creative expression including oral storytelling, dance and drumming, media arts, cloth making, theater performance etc. The carrying of elder’s life lessons from generation to generation, in the form of proverbs, will also be explored. Ghanain Proverbs such as: 

Wamma wo yɔnko anntwa ankɔ a, wonntwa nnuruIf you don’t let your friend to cross and reach, you will also not cross and reach”

Students will excavate the universal meaning and cultural significance behind age-old proverbs like this one, in order to understand the unique ways in which Ghanian people have held onto their history, beliefs, values, and culture for centuries.

Journeys 2023:  Germany in a Globalized World (Planned Destination: Germany) with Dr. Barbara Drescher (German)

How do Germans view themselves and connect with others in the 21st century? How do Germans react to their 20th century past? What role have memory and monuments played after Germany was divided and reunited? What local and global meanings might they create as 21st century Germany begins to embrace multicultural identities?

This Journeys course will investigate the role of memory, culture, and art by focusing on how monuments and museums in Berlin negotiate present and past identities. By exploring how the capital city of Berlin prioritizes events in the past for collective representation and national debate, students will reflect on the multifaceted ways of negotiating its (Nazi, Communist, Colonialist) pasts. Moreover, this course will explore how this continuing struggle over interpreting one’s history not only shapes today’s intersectional identities, but also future generations’ national, social, cultural, global identities.

Journeys 2023: How Race, Nature and Medicine Intersect (Planned destination: Cuba) with Carmen Carrion (Biology)

GBL 102 explores the concepts of global structures, systems, and processes through common readings, dialogues, small-group discussions and a tour of Cuba. This course specifically focuses on the intersection between race, nature, and the medical sciences found in the island nation of Cuba.  With that, during the course of the semester, students learn about the history of Cuba and its various groups of people that inhabitant the island and how each group has added a unique perspective to the notion of healing. In addition, the course will cover the natural geography and culture of Cuba, in order to cultivate the skills needed to engage in meaningful intercultural communications with Cubans. 

Journeys 2023:  Identity, Globalization and Social Change (Planned destination: Bulgaria) with Dr. Mina Ivanova (Graduate and Extended Programs)

This course examines the intricate ways in which communities create and sustain their identities through official and vernacular narratives and cultural practices in an increasingly globalized world. How does a group come to experience itself as a “People” or a “Nation”? How does it re-negotiate this identity in times of crisis, during major geopolitical shifts, or war? How does globalization impact local communities, and what form does resistance to it take? What does it mean to share a transnational “European” or a diasporic identity? We will engage these questions through the case study of Bulgaria, an Eastern European country at an ever-shifting crossroads between “East” and “West,” tradition and modernity, communism and democracy. Students will learn about the country’s history and culture and think critically about global issues through the lens of a changing Bulgarian society. Accounts of globalization by both its champions and its critics typically center on the triumph of the West and Western capitalism after the end of the Cold War. But this story omits the role socialist countries behind the “iron curtain” have played in these processes. The Bulgarian case study allows us to more fully grasp the history and consequences of globalization in the 20th century while accounting for the complexities brought about by the country’s 2007 EU integration.


This course approaches its subject in part through the perspective of the communication discipline. We will immerse ourselves in intercultural learning about Bulgarian culture and communities through lectures, discussions, readings, and critical analysis of literary works, monuments, film, and other texts. These learning experiences will prepare students to


(1) identify, explain, and analyze global themes, processes, and systems by drawing comparatively on examples from Bulgaria and other contexts
(2) compare and contrast the impact global processes on dominant and marginalized cultures through examples from their enrichment experience with Bulgaria and other contexts
(3) engage in meaningful intercultural interactions that enhance their ability to engage across differences and to reflect on their own values, ethics, and assumptions.

Journeys 2023: Islamic Art and Architecture (Planned destination: Morocco) with Dr. Roshan Iqbal (Religious Studies)

This course is designed to unearth and highlight the contribution of Muslims to world civilization. It serves as an introduction to the major tenets of Islam and Islamic history through the arts and architecture of Morocco, which has a robust history of individuals of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faith living and prospering together and producing material culture and science. We will survey the visual and architectural arts and study the role they play in the formation of and expression of Muslim cultural identity.  

Journeys 2023:  Italian Fashion, Industry and Image (Planned destination: Milan) with Dr. Willie Tolliver (English)

This class will focus on the role of Milan as a significant site of fashion creativity, innovation, commerce, and controversy.  Specific issues for scrutiny will include: the fashion system, fashion capitals, the ethics of fashion, fashion and globalization, fashion as a facet of capitalism, fashion and civil responsibility, fashion as an art, and fashion as an expression gender and ethnic identities. Special emphasis will be placed on the role of Milan as the center of the wool and silk textile industries. A central consideration will be how the unique identity of Italian Fashion is constructed in films, journalism, fashion photography, fine art, the performing arts and in relation to architecture. The class will also study the creative visions of such iconic Italian fashion designers such as Giorgio Armani, Miuccia Prada, Valentino, and the House of Gucci. The travel experience of Journeys Milan will include such destinations as Milan’s Fashion Quarter, the Prada Foundation, the Why Not Model Agency, the Palazzo Morando Fashion Museum, and the Armani Archives.

Journeys 2023:  Marronage, Freedom & Resistance in the Global South (Planned destination: Jamaica) with Dr. Regine Jackson

Wherever there was slavery and colonization in global South, there was resistance to it. Independent communities made up of people who escaped plantation life – called maroons — were created throughout the Americas, especially in Jamaica, Haiti, Brazil, and Suriname. This class focuses on maroon societies in Jamaica as critical sites of resistance and freedom. The concept of “marronage” will help us understand how strategies of resistance designed to escape or challenge racial oppression, gender-based violence, and capitalist exploitation during slavery, continue to be significant in the present day.  We will explore the social, political, economic, spiritual and cultural institutions formed by maroon communities in Charles Town, Moore Town and Port Royal, JA. We will learn about the alternative lifestyles and worldviews that come out of traditions rooted in continental Africa, as well as how they are shaped by local environments and contemporary circumstances. We will explore related processes of place-making and cultural creation in a variety of forms. In short, the rich and complex experience of maroon communities will be a window into the multiple geographies of resistance where oppressed groups struggle against domination, assert their self-determination, and claim space.

Journeys 2023:  Music, Arts and Community (Planned destination:  Navajo Nation, AZ, U.S.) with Dr. Tracey Laird ( Music)

This course will examine culture, history, and contemporary Navajo life with connections to music and other arts, identity, language, education, cosmology, and environmentalism.  Navajo experiences will be explored within the larger context of indigenous peoples on the North American continent, as well as within United States national history.  Literature, film, music, and readings constitute preparatory materials.  Our visit to the reservation will include chances to participate in a sweat ceremony; to travel to both Grand Canyon National Park and Coal Mine Canyon, on the edge of the Painted Desert; to visit the Code Talkers museum, “Newspaper Rock,” and other local institutions; to learn from Navajo people through presentations and participatory cultural experiences. Throughout the course, we will question our own roles as travelers, seeking to recognize how preconceptions and personal biases may color our interactions with people. At the same time, we seek to learn about the rich heritage of Navajo, or Diné people, and the historical and current challenges shaping their lives in ways both familiar and distant from our own.  

Journeys 2023:  Pura Vida – Enjoyment of Life (Planned destination: Costa Rica) with Dr. Atieno Mboya Samandari (Women’s Studies)

This journey will see us spend our first evening in Costa Rica in beautiful San Jose, where we will take a walking tour of the city and have a delicious Costa Rican dinner. The next morning, we will travel first to Cahuita. where will learn about history of cacao and the indigenous communities of the area, how cocoa is farmed, how its production is managed, how to make chocolate and plenty of opportunities to taste it. We will then continue on to EARTH University, which is nestled in the banana production region of the Atlantic. We will spend two nights at EARTH, learning about the trials, tribulations and profits of banana production, processing and export, from the value chain that begins in Costa Rica and ends at your local Whole Foods store in Atlanta. Time in this area will also include a visit to a private farm that produces and exports bananas in collaboration with EARTH University. Next, we will travel to  Limon, the land of the Afro-Costa Rican diaspora. Here, we will experience the culture, food, music and architecture of this unique community whose roots go back to West Africa and the Antilles. We will explore the beach ecosystem of Limon, take a wilderness tour and immerse ourselves in the vibrant culture of this area. Lastly, we will stop overnight in La Fortuna de Arenal, where there will be an opportunity to see the majestic volcano, do some shopping, and relax in natural hot springs. We will then return to San Jose and visit the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum before catching our flight back to Atlanta.

Journeys 2023: Power and Symbol (Planned destination: New York City, U.S.) with Professor Nell Ruby (Art)

The complexities of the history and culture of New York reflect an America that wrestles with itself. Known to the world as an emblem of possibility–The American Dream—New York City is full of complications and contradictions. Through studying sites, memorials, iconographic art and architecture, and other cultural artifacts, we will examine and deconstruct some of the myths and symbols that create the image of New York and consider the ways cultures have been both welcomed as inspirational, and subverted, or sacrificed for the image of the powerful few. The course will encourage thinking and observation using studio art processes for slow and close looking, building, drawing, collage and making to devise meaning from and through materiality and form.

BeltLine Walk

When we started our hike on the west end trail of the beltline, the first thing our guide pointed out was the Phoenix rising sculpture. She explained the symbolism of the phoenix rising and its connection to Atlanta, as the city that was built from the ashes after the Great Fire. She made us realize how the beltline was another part of the rebuilding and improvement of Atlanta. When we started to make our way through the trail, we learned about the beltline’s function as a connection point for historic communities whether it be through the art that’s displayed by local artists or the scattered green spaces along the trails. The part that stuck out the most to me was the integration of community history as we veered deeper into the trail. There were many signs that indicated what community we were in and the history and culture of the residents. Getting to walk the beltline with fellow students and faculty, allowed us all to share a moment where we learned more about Atlanta and the communities within it and appreciate the vibrance, perseverance, and progress of local communities. 

Summary provided by Georga-Kay Whyte

November 6th, 2021

Decatur Scavenger Hunt – Journeys Active Living

Our first-year students participated in the Decatur Scavenger Hunt on Saturday, October 23, to prepare for their Global Journeys course in the Spring of 2022.  Four teams of students left the campus at 10:10 a.m., with two winning teams, 10 students, making it back to campus within the hour, and earning prizes.  Congratulations Scotties!  

Our first-place winners!

Our second place winners!

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