intervalla: Volume 8, 2020

Academic Travel: Departures

Editors: Fabio Ferrari and Kate Roy

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Our intervalla Volume 8 Academic Travel: Departures brings together contributions from Franklin University Switzerland and beyond on the idea of “academic” travel: what it might be, what it might become, what it has the potential to bring to a more embodied and more ethical form of pedagogy. While the starting point, for a volume pinned to the year of Franklin’s 50th anniversary, was to celebrate our Academic Travel program, often considered one of the most unique aspects of a Franklin education, both the volume’s opening up to other academic geographies and its opening reflection ask us to explore how thinking and doing travel is perhaps even more urgent and important to us since COVID-19, as both subject and object of intellectual exploration, and as sited experience that brings us closer to an understanding of our place in the world. In seeking to understand what exactly distinguishes this kind of educational travel experience, all of the contributions here emphasize, from skills learned on site to sensory experience, the centrality of its holistic “immersion in the world” and the reflective potential that embodied experience brings. Exploring this embodiment as pedagogy, the contributions embrace the way we are pushed to critically theorize our methods, our subject areas and their relationships with the lived world, as well as our state of “non-blank-slateness” and ourselves on the ground. Traveling academically in the ways we describe necessarily promotes a reflective deviation from the norm, not just in that it goes beyond what we are conditioned to experience as tourists (with our gaze “directed” on places and spaces), but also in that it brings hidden institutional boundaries and barriers to the surface, and can subsequently push back against authoritative “systems” of knowledge and their “disciplining” to show that no discipline stands outside its sociocultural, historical and political worlding – but it can productively “spill over” from it in embodied, sited and creative knowledge production. The contributions all demonstrate that experience is the teacher and that even when things do not “go right” they produce understandings: the journey is not just spatiotemporal, it is also one in self-knowledge and self-discovery. Academic Travel is always already a series of departures. 

Table of Contents

Sara Steinert Borella with Fabio Ferrari and Kate Roy


Liquid Learning: The Case for Franklin’s Academic Travel
Caroline Wiedmer with Grace Bacon


DISCOVER INDIA: An Immersive Experience for Undergraduate Students
Poonam Gandhi


A Bestiary in Masks - Creative Practices and Transdisciplinary Approaches to the Production of Knowledge
Clarice Zdanski


Walking Through the Art Histories Classroom: Movement and Pedagogies
Nicola Cloete, Catherine Duncan and Anton Coetzee


“Postcolonial” Travel: Of Empires and the Empirical
Kate Roy


Traveling in Morocco from Front to Back Spaces as a Way to Deflect the Tourist Gaze
Patrick Saveau