Journeys 2024:  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.  We will interrogate Belize’s history and explore its present through an examination of the culture, considering how identity is tied to various elements from the environment to foods such as hudud, cassava bread, and chocolate.

Journeys 2024:  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, and global identities.

Journeys 2024:  The Many Forms of Diversity: Ecology, People, and Spirituality (Planned destination: Cuba) with Carmen Carrion (Medical Sciences)

This course 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 spirituality 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 through alternative medicine. In addition, the course will cover the natural geography found in Cuba; we will go on a hike on the unique limestone structures of Cuba as well as snorkeling off of the coast. Lastly, to better understand the Cuban people we will explore the context of spirituality by visiting the home of a Babaloe and observing different spiritual practices. By the end of this course, you will have cultivated the skills needed to engage in meaningful intercultural communication with the people of Cuba. 

Journeys 2024:  Identity, Globalization, and Social Change (Planned destination: Bulgaria) with Dr. Mina Ivanova (Graduate & 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 a 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 or war? How does globalization impact local communities, and what form does resistance to it take? What does it mean to share a transnational or diasporic identity? What does it mean to be a citizen of the European Union? 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 from the 20th century on.

Journeys 2024: 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 2024:  Fashion, Ethics, and Capitalism (Planned destination: Paris) 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 of 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 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 2024:  Music, Arts, and Community (Planned destination:  Navajo Nation, AZ, U.S.) with Dr. Tracey Laird (Creative Arts)

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 2024:  Pura Vida Under Globalization (Planned destination: Costa Rica) with Dr. Atieno Mboya Samandari (Women’s Studies)

This course will study globalization and sustainability, using banana or coffee, or cocoa production in Costa Rica as a case study. We will unpack the concept of globalization, and identify its key elements and the ways in which it operates. What is globalization and what are its origins? What are some of its impacts? How am I connected to globalization? Is globalization sustainable? These are some of the questions we will explore. Our Journey to Costa Rica will include a visit to EARTH or CATIE University, where we will observe banana or coffee, or cocoa production, which originates at a local place and is consumed in a distant country. We will also visit the Afro-Caribbean community in Limon, to see how globalization has impacted members of this Black Diaspora. We will also visit an indigenous community. Students will be able to compare and contrast their own experiences under globalization, both at home and as travelers, with the experience of people living in a different country, as we strive to understand why globalization matters.

Journeys 2024: Global Perspectives on Theatre (Planned destination: NYC) with Dr. Toby Emert (Creative Arts)

What factors contribute to the phenomenon of an international hit play or musical that travels to stages throughout the globe? How are stories developed for the theatre in a specific country—the United States, for example—translated for audiences in other countries? This course, in which students visit the most celebrated theatre city in the world, New York, examines selected theatrical productions that have gained global popularity and earned their place in theatre history. Using a team-based learning approach, students work in small groups throughout the semester to research and discuss selected productions that serve as quasi-case studies for understanding topics, themes, characters, and music that engage richly diverse audiences. The course also culminates with the creation of a drama-based project that draws on course readings, synthesizes key ideas from class discussions, and spotlights the capacity of theatre as an art form to heighten our knowledge of ourselves and our understanding of the world around us.  

Journeys 2024: Religion and Globalization (Planned destination: Benin) with Dr. Doug Falen (Sociology & Anthropology)

This course introduces students to the dynamic religious landscape of the Republic of Benin, where the indigenous Vodun religion interacts with Christianity and other religions. We will learn about the processes of globalization by using Benin as an example of a postcolonial nation whose religion and economy has been shaped through contact with other peoples, societies, and countries. We will study the historical and contemporary manifestations of Vodun, and learn about its various deities and rituals. With religion as our lens, we will study the influence of travelers, missionization, colonization, the internet, and tourism in Benin. A key aspect of the course will be the examination of how Beninese people have adopted, adapted, and rejected foreign spiritual ideas. Students will consider the role of religion, race, and diaspora in the country’s tourism industry. These analyses will be placed in the geopolitical context of colonization, global inequality, and the challenges of international development in Africa. The academic coursework will be supplemented by in-country learning when we travel to Benin, where students will visit religious sites, including mosques, churches, and Vodun shrines. We will meet local religious leaders, researchers, and practitioners to allow students to acquire a more personal connection with the country’s religions.

Journeys 2024:  The Art of Politics and the Politics of Art (Planned destination: Italy (Florence) with Dr. Yael Manes (History)

This course will inquire into the relationship between art and politics by using Renaissance Florence as a case study. During the historical period known as the Renaissance, ruling classes from all over Europe used art to acquire power and perform their authority. The city of Florence was at the center of this type of political performance and Florentine artists were diligently sought after by the rulers of France, Hungary, Russia, and Poland, among other places. The course will offer an introduction to the history of political and artistic patronage in Renaissance Florence and will examine the roles of Renaissance painting.

Journeys 2024: Statehood, Self-Determination, and Sustainability (Planned destination: Puerto Rico) with Dr. Joel Thomas (Psychology)

This course examines the history, culture, political, and economic landscape of Puerto Rico through the overarching themes of self-determination and sustainability. How has colonization and capitalism impacted the people of Puerto Rico? How have various local communities within the island dealt with these global forces? What cultural identities have been marginalized and what forms of resistance has this led to? How is power distributed within Puerto Rican society today and what role has the United States played in influencing this distribution? We will explore these questions through readings, videos, and discussions aimed at understanding the complex cultural life of the approximately 3 million people who live on the island and 9 million who can be considered the Puerto Rican diaspora. The course will include a week of travel to San Juan in which students will meet with local communities, hear talks from leaders in sustainability, and participate in service-learning activities that facilitate intercultural exchange.

Journeys 2024:  Contentment in a World of Anxiety (Planned destination: Sweden) with Dr. Jennifer Larimore (Neuroscience & Philosophy)

GBL 102 explores the concepts of global structures, systems, and processes through common readings, dialogues, small group discussions, and a tour of Stockholm, Sweden. This course specifically focuses on the role of community and social influences on mental health. With that, during the course of the semester, students learn about the importance of mental health, what impacts mental health, and how cultures impact happiness and contentment. In addition, the course will cover the history, geography, and culture of Sweden, in order to cultivate the skills needed to engage in meaningful intercultural communications with Swedes.

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