Fall 2017 Travel Course Offerings


Fall 2017 Three-Credit Travel Course Offerings

Topic and DestinationLeader
Crossroads: Arts and Cultural Heritage of TaiwanGee
Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Risk TakingDella Corte
Inventing the Past: The Uses of Memory in a Changing WorldWiedmer
European Food Systems: You Are Where You EatSteinert Borella
Communication, Fashion, and the Formation of TasteSugiyama
Tourism and the Environment: IcelandHale
History of SwitzerlandPyka
Contemporary Italy: Aspects of Language and CultureStarcher
Measuring the AlpsPrisner
Spain: Politics, Culture and SocietyMottale
Sustainability and Art in EuropeZdanski
Documentary & Street Photography on LocationFassl

AHT 330T Crossroads: Arts and Cultural Heritage of Taiwan

Professor Gee

This course looks at the art historical and cultural heritage of Taiwan, exploring the island’s complex identity shaped by both oriental and western territorial expansions. The civilization waves which contributed to the formation of Taiwanese’s culture include the European Dutch and Spanish settlements of the early seventeenth centuries, long standing Chinese migrations, rebel Chinese and then imperial seals in the late Seventeenth century, as well as Japanese governance in the first part of the Twentieth century. Besides those external forces, Formosa was and has remained the habitat of ancient populations predating and indeed surviving the various colonization processes which have occurred from the seventeenth century onwards. The course places particular emphasis on artistic production in Taiwan as an agent of cultural identity formation, investigating in particular pictorial, sculptural, architectural and photographic traditions. Furthermore, following the migration of the Republic of China (ROC) to the island in 1949, Taiwan became the repository of a unique collection of Chinese ancient and buoyant art historical production. The cultural heritage of Taiwan will be approached through both is roots in traditional arts and civilizations, and contemporary practices, reflecting on the islands’ privileged position at the heart of a hybrid, vibrant identity. This course will carry a supplemental fee: CHF 550 (for students invoiced in CHF) or USD 550 (for students invoiced in USD).

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BUS 105T Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Risk Taking

Professor Della Corte

This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental concepts about being an entrepreneur, especially in the high-tech area, and the related concept of risk taking in order to stay competitive in a fast-moving economy. Students will explore preeminent thinkers in the field of entrepreneurship and risk taking, as well as today's leading minds, entrepreneurial visionaries and landmark ideas that have established this innovative area of business. Students will look at the basis of entrepreneurship and at fundamental approaches to creating and building a startup business. Students will explore and discuss case studies, articles published in business-related periodicals and sections of published works on entrepreneurship. This course includes an Academic Travel component to private and public entities that sponsor entrepreneurial activity generally in Switzerland, France and Italy.

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CLCS 220T Inventing the Past: The Uses of Memory in a Changing World

Professor Wiedmer

The construction of memory is one of the fundamental processes by which the workings of culture can be studied. Every country, every culture and every community has a specific memory culture that finds expression in a congruence of texts: of literature and film, of law and politics, of memorial rituals, and historiography. The aim of this course is to enable students to recognize different forms of the construction, representation and archiving of memory; to analyze processes of individual and collective identity formation through memory; and to understand the power differentials operant in the negotiations and performance of a national memory. The travel component of this course will focus in particular on Berlin and representations of the Holocaust.

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CLCS 248T European Food Systems: You Are Where You Eat

Professor Steinert Borella

In this course, students will explore the cultures that produce and are reproduced by our current food systems in Europe, touching upon the local, national and global dimensions. This course will examine the cultural, ecological, political, and geographic forces at work influencing the chain of production from farm to table. In particular, students will consider the contemporary food systems in France, Italy, and Switzerland as well as their cultural and historical roots. Students will learn more about what it takes to become an active food citizen as the class considers where food comes from here in Europe and how the food we eat shapes who we are, both literally and figuratively. This course includes a travel component to Switzerland and France where students will study first hand some of the concepts discussed, including terroir, slow food, and local farm to table movements. Recommended prerequisite: LC 100 or LC 110

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COM 230T Communication, Fashion, and the Formation of Taste

Professor Sugiyama

The sense of taste, whether it refers to the metaphorical sense of taste (aesthetic discrimination) or the literal sense of taste (gustatory taste), is a fundamental part of human experiences. This Academic Travel course examines various ways that communication processes shape our sense of taste in the contemporary society. It will explore topics such as the taste for food, clothing and accessories, music, and other cultural activities applying key theories and concepts of communication, fashion, and taste. Ultimately, the course seeks to develop an understanding of how interpersonal, intercultural, and mediated communication in our everyday life plays a critical role in the formation of individual taste as well as collective taste. In order to achieve this objective, field observations and site visits will be planned during the academic travel period. The travel will include Milan, Florence and another Italian city to be decided.

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ENV 282T Tourism and the Environment: Iceland

Professor Hale

This course explores the environmental impacts of tourism and travel. It examines the problems generated by travelers as they journey from home locations to travel destinations and as they participate in activities at those destinations. It focuses on issues of air pollution, biodiversity, climate change, resource use, and waste management. It also considers the potential for positive impacts from tourism, examining how tourism can contribute to improved management of environmental resources. The course engages students with the ethics of responsible travel and examines various attempts to mitigate problems through different forms of sustainable tourism, policies, and tools (e.g. carbon offsets and eco-labels). The course includes a 12-day field experience in Iceland where students will examine first-hand the problems and potentials generated by that country's rapid increase in tourism. Students will also meet with stakeholders in the Icelandic tourism industry to discuss local and national responses to the increased levels of tourism. This course carries a supplemental fee: CHF 600 (for students invoiced in CHF) or USD 600 (for students invoiced in USD).

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HIS 202T History of Switzerland

Professor Pyka

Switzerland can be seen as a striking exception to the idea of a modern Western nation state: one of the oldest republics, with four official languages, neutral by tradition with at the same time a strong military tradition, a direct democracy and nevertheless one of the most stable states in the world. Hence, it has convincingly been called a "country of minorities" or just "an exception". This course analyzes the political, economic, social, and cultural development of Switzerland as a coherent and significant part of the history of medieval and modern Europe, with visits to places such as Bern, Basel, Schwyz, St. Gallen, and Zurich. Key themes covered include the founding of the Swiss Confederation in the thirteenth century, the initiation of the Swiss Reformation by Ulrich Zwingli in the sixteenth century, the introduction of the federal government in the nineteenth century, and the present day polemics of immigration and direct democracy. Local day trips to the medieval Ticinese towns of Riva San Vitale and Mendrisio round out the course.

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IS 150T Contemporary Italy: Aspects of Language and Culture

Professor Starcher

This course introduces students to the land and the people of Italy and the Italian-speaking world, with a focus on contemporary aspects of language and culture. In particular, students will examine concepts from the fields of intercultural communication and the sociology of globalization, as well the representation of northern Italian culture by Italian and expatriate authors and filmmakers. This course includes a travel component to northern Italy where students will study firsthand related phenomena such as the birth of the Slow Food movement, migration, regionalism and linguistic diversity in contexts of multiculturalism and globalization.

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MAT 115T Measuring the Alps

Professor Prisner

People live in three-dimensional space but are restricted to the earth surface which is usually locally flat, two-dimensional. But when entering the Alps, the third dimension of height becomes important when describing location or movement. This is also expressed by the fact that in the mountains a map is not too useful---rather a topographic map is needed. Starting with a description of the Alps or any mountains by topographic maps, or mathematically as functions with two independent variables, students will investigate how certain well-known features are reflected by the topography of the area . Examples are the location of mountain brooks, watersheds, movement of glaciers, avalanches, and rockfall. Students will also investigate the question of visibility in the mountains, whether and how it is possible to predict what can be seen from where. A further aspect is GPS technology. During the travel, the class will visit various places in the Swiss, Austrian, and Italian Alps, such as Davos, Innsbruck, Meran. Students will hike and measure, but will also discuss questions relevant to Alpine life, such as glaciers, avalanches or rockfall forecasts. If possible, the class will also visit places where such research is conducted.

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POL 226T Spain: Politics, Culture and Society

Professor Mottale

This course will introduce students to the contemporary politics of Spain and the issues that are confronting its policy makers and people. The focus will be mainly on the evolution of Spanish society since the Spanish civil war and the cultural, economic, and social trends that have shaped its political system to date. The travel component includes, principally, Madrid and Seville. The purpose of this course is to help students develop deeper insights into the political origins of contemporary Spanish society.

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STA 240T Sustainability and Art in Europe

Professor Zdanski

Over the past few decades, sustainability has become a movement in the visual arts, shifting from a purely ecological to a larger cultural context and covering a vast range of ecological, economic, political, moral and ethical concerns. Sustainable art is usually distinguished from earlier movements like environmental art in that it advocates issues in sustainability, like ecology, social justice, non-violence and grassroots democracy. This studio course will approach sustainability and artistic practice from a number of viewpoints and modalities. In addition to providing a general introduction to sustainability in the arts and the evolving role of the arts in today's society, students will engage in creative projects, presentations and papers on current social issues and/or environmental concerns (including for example the use of sustainable materials, recycling materials, community outreach, local environmental and sustainability initiatives). During the academic travel period, students will travel to cities in Switzerland and Northern Italy (Lausanne, Milan, Venice) to see exhibitions and to visit institutions, organizations and artists who are concerned with sustainability and related issues. This part of the course may also involve a creative project that seeks to envisage art as a catalyst to stimulate discourse and foster change. There is a studio fee to cover materials and travel expenses.

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VCA 120T Documentary & Street Photography on Location

Professor Fassl

Documentary and Street Photography on Location will investigate the particularities of both documentary and street photography through readings and studio projects. It will shed light on the history of photography; how the visual world communicates, studying the interaction of photography with other visual media; and will pay specific attention to the semiotic potential and challenges of photography. Students will engage in a project that relates to the location of the travel component of the class, documenting a subject of their choice. For Fall 2017 the travel destinations will be Berlin and Munich.

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Fall 2017 One-Credit Travel Course Offerings

Topic and DestinationLeader
Botswana: Environmental Field Observations and Conservation ChallengesZanecchia
Barcelona & Catalonia: An Independent Region?Rocourt
Georgia and Armenia: Observing Social and Economic TransitionCordon

TVL 251 Botswana: Environmental Field Observations and Conservation Challenges

Professor Zanecchia

This Academic Travel is an environmental field trip with a focus on the wildlife of Botswana. Field trips include the Chobe River, the Okavango Delta, and Kalahari Desert. Accommodations will be a mix of tenting and lodges, with overland travel in 4x4 vehicles through national parks where we will have an opportunity to observe animals in their natural state, and to reflect on the challenges of wildlife conservation. We will also visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, time permitting. This trip will provide the basis for a better understanding of conservation and sustainability issues in this region of Africa, as well as a focused analysis of this post-colonial case study. This travel course will carry a supplemental fee: CHF 1,590 (for students invoiced in CHF) or USD 1,590 (for students invoiced in USD).

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TVL 257 Barcelona & Catalonia: An Independent Region?

Professor Rocourt

Before a unified Spain existed, the Catalan State with the capital city of Barcelona dominated the cultural and economic life of the Western Mediterranean in the later Middle Ages. Throughout the ensuing centuries of Spanish New World exploration and global empire, the Napoleonic Wars, and the 20th-Century Civil War, Barcelona has retained its unique physical appearance, culture, and attitude. Beginning with the physical preparations for the very successful 1992 Summer Olympics, the modern rebirth of Barcelona has intensified the political issue of possible Catalan independence within the EU, even as the region currently contributes a disproportionately large share of Spanish GDP, employment, exports, and innovation in many business and artistic fields. Students will develop a comprehensive sense of the political, economic, and cultural reality of modern Barcelona and Catalonia as it has evolved over the past eight centuries. Activities include classes and lectures at a local partner university, numerous professional visits to corporations and government agencies, and broad exposure to the cultural history of the Catalan region including, for instance, medieval architecture and religion, modernism in literature, and artists such as Gaudí, Picasso, and Miró.

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TVL 358 Georgia and Armenia: Observing Social and Economic Transition

Professor Cordon

Georgia and Armenia were independent kingdoms in the Middle Ages. They came under Russian influence at the beginning of the 19th Century and briefly declared independence during the Russian Revolution. In the early 1920s they were annexed by the Soviet Union until its breakup. Independence and the radical changes that began in 1991 have created tremendous challenges and opportunities for these countries. The focus of this academic travel is to try to understand the history of Georgia and Armenia, and the changes taking place today. The group will visit their capitals, Tbilisi and Yerevan, as well as other significant towns. Lectures, meetings with local officials and visits to cultural landmarks will provide the basis for understanding their recent history and present situation.

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