Academic study trips-summer 2020

Six faculty-led academic study trips set for summer of 2020

September 24, 2019
Pontigny Abbey in Burgundy

Pontigny Abbey in the Burgundy region of France is the center of studies for a summer study trip with Terryl Kinder, distinguished visiting professor of fine arts. The abbey is the site of the founding of the Society of St. Edmund, which later founded Saint Michael’s College. The photo below left is from a recent study trip to South Africa as the group poses with statues of the Mandelas. Another South Africa trip is set for this coming summer 2020. (file photo from previous study trip blogs)

Faculty-led academic trips provide students with “a remarkable opportunity for an intensive learning experience with a group of students and faculty from Saint Michael’s College,” said Peggy Imai, director of Study Abroad, in announcing that six such trips are scheduled for Summer 2020.

Trip leaders are now actively recruiting student participants, said Imai, who urges interested students to contact trip leaders with course and trip questions. “The Summer 2020 offerings reflect our commitment to international education and to experiential learning,” Imai said. “We recognize that not all students can afford to study abroad for an entire semester, and these courses represent an exciting alternative. Trip destinations have been carefully selected to immerse students in their learning and to integrate their theoretical knowledge with the perspective of place. Most people will agree that this is the best way to learn and to retain knowledge.”

Trip size will be limited, and a minimum number of students must register in order for the course to proceed. Travel expenses are paid by the students according to a payment schedule established by the College. Academic Study Trips are not eligible for tuition remission. Half-tuition is charged (per credit) during the winter or summer session. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for qualified applicants.

Summer-Session 2020:

France: Culture and Society in Medieval Burgundy
HI/RS/AH/HU 280 (4 credits)
Prerequisite: None
Date: May 2020

This program offers students first-hand experience of living at the place of Saint Michael’s College’s origins in Burgundy – a 12th-century abbey – while studying medieval history and culture in its original context. Classes held every other day in Pontigny prepare students for site visits the next day to castles, churches, cathedrals, battlefields, abbeys, archeological excavations, towns and cities, museums and libraries. In this way reading, studying and exploring the material remains of this culture are integrated.

Terryl Kinder (Distinguished Visiting Professor of Fine Arts), a practicing medieval archeologist, lives in the town of Pontigny and speaks fluent French. The places the students will visit are an integral part of her research and some are not otherwise open to the public.

Professor Terryl Kinder,

Guyana: A Study in Solidarity

GL 341 (2 credits)
Prerequisite: Required 2-credit pre-trip course in Spring 2020
Date: May 15 – 30, 2020 {tentative}

The main focus of this trip will be twofold. Participants will offer support to a variety of organizations in Georgetown, Guyana, that provide care for individuals living in vulnerable communities (orphanages, a leprosy residence, and a geriatric institution), and also will philosophically explore the meaning of the ethical relationship we have with others in our global world. Students will discuss both the universality of struggle in situations of marginalization in any setting and the non-universal, unique circumstances that individuals face. Grounded upon the radical ethical theory of a contemporary philosopher, the coursework will consider the nature of human relatedness and responsibility and the challenges of enacting justice and living & working in solidarity with others. Participants also will learn about the variety of cultural influences in Guyana and spend a few days in an Arawak village in the Interior. Guyana’s history provides an excellent example of many factors that contribute to global marginalization experienced in the developing world. Students will learn this history and gain understanding of Guyana’s politics, economics, and culture through course readings and engagement with Guyanese individuals. A collaborative project with the Guyanese hosts will give students an opportunity to utilize their talents, skills, and education to create long-term benefit for the service organizations they will support in Guyana.

Professor Katie Kirby,

Kimoi Seale,

England: Shakespeare in Performance

EN 307 (2 credits)
Prerequisite: EN 306 (Spring 2020; 2 credits)
Date: May 18 – 30, 2020

This course on Shakespeare’s plays in performance on stage is an intensive two-week study trip to England and to summer performances of Shakespeare’s plays by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as by other companies in other venues, including London’s Globe. Field trips will include Oxford University and Blenheim Palace (site for the filming of Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet).

While the two-credit study trip in England will focus on the summer performances that students will witness on the stage, the two-credit spring course on campus will focus directly on performances of Shakespeare’s plays on screen. Taken together, the sequence of two two-credit courses will satisfy the Art and Literature LSC requirement or the 300 level English major requirement. The spring course will focus on screen performances of five of Shakespeare’s plays, and the summer study trip will focus on stage interpretations of the five Shakespeare plays we will attend.

View Highlights from the Summer 2018 trip

Professor Kerry Shea,
Professor Christina Root,

Denmark: Business, Government, and Health Care the Danish Way

BU/PO/PB (2 credits)
Prerequisite: Business, Government and Health Care the Danish Way {Spring 2020, 2 credits}
Date: May 24 – June 4, 2020 {proposed}

This 12-day study tour will visit Copenhagen to study Danish culture, business, government, and health care. We will visit Danish businesses including Lego; government institutions including Parliament; and health care experts and practitioners to understand how Danish values inform and influence business and public policy. Visits to cultural sites such as the National Gallery of Denmark, Rosenborg Castle, and Tivoli Gardens will enable you to learn more about Denmark’s history and culture.

Professor Paul Olsen,
Professor Patricia Siplon,

students on study trip in South AfricaSouth Africa: Apartheid, Revolution, and Representation

MJD 355 (2 credits)
Prerequisite: MJD 219 (Spring 2020, 4 credits)
Date: May 12 – 28, 2020

In this course, philosophical understandings of difference, power, resistance, and liberation/freedom will be explored through examination of the important social, political, and ethical lessons of apartheid. The course focuses strongly on issues of representation and mediation, with specific reference to the use of media in shaping, maintaining, and eventually overthrowing the apartheid system in South Africa. Students will be encouraged to explore comparisons and contrasts between South Africa and the United States, in terms of racial oppression, resistance movements, and the power of media in shaping understanding and society.

Students will consider philosophical theories underpinning media practice and analysis, foregrounding the social role of the media and their relationship to South African culture and society. On this study tour students will analyze key areas: cultural and critical theory; media texts, institutions, and audiences; representation, discourse, and ideology; propaganda and revolutionary forms of critique; postmodernism and new media. The goals of the class are to provide students with: an understanding of apartheid and how such a system could be “sold” to people; a vision of the power of resistance and media-based methods of revolution; a basic conceptual framework for understanding, analyzing, and discussing the place of media in society; and the concentration of media texts and their impact on societal formation.

Professor Traci Griffith,

Kolkata, India: An Exploration of Culture and Service

TBA (2 credits)
Prerequisite: TBA and Spring 2020 course (2 credits)
Date: May 2020 (16 days)

Kolkata is a city of ancient culture, staggering poverty and a rich mix of religions. Stand on a street corner and you might hear the Muslim call to prayer, witness devotees enter a Hindu temple and glimpse a family settling in to sleep on the sidewalk. Students on this journey will merge deep cultural exploration with service at three different NGOs, including Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity. We will work with organizations that provide education for street children, homes for the destitute and dying, and alternative livelihoods for women who were born into the sex trade.

At the essence of our exploration is the question of what makes an NGO effective—a focus on immediate needs or a focus on sustainable change? Can the two co-exist? This trip is largely defined by an immersive experience with significant time spent serving vulnerable populations. We will explore how culture and service influence each other, what elements help and hinder the effectiveness of an NGO, and how they frame their appeals for financial support. In the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching, this experience will focus upon human dignity, identifying our shared humanity, and promoting social justice.

Professor Allison Cleary,

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