International destinations 2012

Medieval Meets Modern in France

Travel Dates: May 7 – May 21
Instructors: Wolsk, Cochis
Number of Students Enrolled: tba
Location: France

Course Description

Exploring medieval and modern Paris, Carcassonne, and Arles, this May Term travel course to France will investigate the dynamic relationship between two seemingly dissimilar eras.  Through the multiple lenses of literature, art, and architecture, the course focuses on the ways that contemporary France—the capital and the provinces—has been shaped by the glorious age of cathedrals and courtly love.  It begins on Transylvania’s campus where the medieval and modern are studied in class—here works by Francois Villon and Christine de Pisane will be discussed alongside the texts of Charles Baudelaire and André Breton; the cathedrals of Notre Dame at Chartres and Paris will be examined in light of modern paintings by, among others, Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse; these cathedrals, too, will be studied as a foundation for modern architecture: the Musée d’Orsay and I.M. Pei’s pyramid at the Louvre. 

A fourteen day itinerary will take the class first to Paris then to the cities of Carcassonne and Arles in the south of France.  Here, we will study the medieval and modern on site. The quest begins with a seven-day stay in Paris and will continue with four nights in the twelfth-century restored city of Carcassonne.  The travel portion of the course ends with a final four nights in Arles as we pursues the medieval and modern through architecture, art, and literature in Provence.

Tropical Ecology

Travel Dates: May 7– May 13
Instructors: Bray, Wagner
Number of Students Enrolled: tba
Location: Belize

Course Description

A study of why the tropics experience a unique climate, how this creates a variety of unique habitats such as rain forests, cloud forests, savannas, and coral reefs, and the structure and dynamics of these habitats. The class also investigates a variety of other topics including structure of tropical soils, nutrient cycling, tropical forest dynamics, tropical species diversity, and conservation.

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Roma et Hispania

Travel Dates: May 7–May 23
Instructors: Dean-Thacker, Svarlien
Number of Students Enrolled: 19
Location: Spain and Italy

Course Description

At the end of the Second Punic War in 201 BCE, the Romans exerted their power over the western Mediterranean and Spain was divided into two Roman provinces, Hither Spain and Farther Spain. From this point to the fifth century CE, Roman culture shaped life at every level on the Iberian Peninsula. Spain was one of the most important provinces in the Roman Empire. In addition to export commodities, like garum, foodstuff, precious metals, and wine, to Rome, Spain also produced four Roman emperors (Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, and Theodosius I), and an impressive number of important authors writing in Latin. The list includes from Cordoba Annaeus Seneca (c. 55 BCE – c. 41 CE) the rhetorician and his more famous son, Seneca the philosopher and sometime playwright (4 BCE – 65 CE), the epic poet Lucan (39-65 CE), from Bilbilis the epigrammatist Martial (c. 40-c. 104 CE), from Calagurris (modern Calahorra)the rhetorician and educator Quintilian (c. 30-c. before 100CE), Columella (from Gades), a contemporary of the younger Seneca, whose treatise on agriculture survives, and several less well known literary figures, Canius Rufus, Decianus, and Valerius Licinianus.

This course is designed primarily as a cultural history and will help students understand more clearly how certain cultural constructs (e.g. language, architecture, urbanism, art, economics) made it possible for Rome to control an empire for hundreds of years. The provinces in Spain were especially important to Rome because of valuable material resources but also challenging to subdue and control due to fierce initial resistance from the indigenous people.

The Arts and Social Action

Travel Dates: May 9 – May 21
Instructors: Paden, Niño-Moreno
Number of Students Enrolled: tba
Location: Ecuador

Course Description

This course seeks to explore the relationship between art and social/political action while at the same time introducing students to Ecuador: its people, its history, its arts, whether visual, written, or rhythmic. For most of the 20th century, politically and socially engaged arts (arte comprometida) have occupied a central place in the Latin American cultural scene. In the last few decades the US academy has recognized the importance of art as social and political action and has begun to both study this relationship and also offer courses that seek to have students interact with the community at large through the arts. This course seeks to use this framework as a way to learn about Ecuador, perfect students’ language abilities, have students examine the nature of grassroots organizations, and study the relationship between economic development and cultural development. Among other things, we will visit the largest outdoor Native craft market in Ecuador, take a train ride through the Andes, visit the headwaters of one of the major rivers of the Amazon basin, and the cloud forests of Mindo.