Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness - Mark Twain

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Florence, Italy: Spring 2018 Course Descriptions

Course Offerings (Descriptions, below)

Political Science 220: Comparative Politics
Political Science 250: Introduction to International Relations
Social Science 123: American Popular Culture 

Humanities 7: Introduction to the Humanities
English 1B: Literature and Composition
English 9: Contemporary World Literature

Psychology 320: Social Psychology
Psychology 356: Human Sexuality
Psychology 360: Psychology of Women
Film 122: Study Abroad Focus on Film History
Film  130: Study Abroad Focus on Film Directors
Film  140: Study Abroad Course Focus on Contemporary Cinema

Course Descriptions: Contra Costa Community College District
POLS 220: Comparative Politics (3 units)
Comparative Politics is the ideal course for study abroad. Its objective is to examine a cross section of political communities and ask twin questions: How does a country organize its politics? And then: Why are politics organized that way?  When taught in the United States, of necessity, this course leans heavily on the students’ familiarity with American politics, as it is often the only system that students have ever experienced.  The benefit of Study Abroad is the opportunity for students to experience another system, first hand.  Comparison is most effective when the students are familiar with the concepts being compared.  American students are familiar with concepts like Liberty or Individualism, which are native to them and quintessentially American. A student’s presence in Italy, will give them opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Italian and European perspectives on those (and many other) concepts.  How do Italians understand, value and express liberty in their political life?  Discussions that in the US would be distant and abstract will come to life, infused with the students’ immediate personal experiences.  Florence offers the opportunity to accomplish this with nearly every aspect of this course.  There is no better way to take this course than in a study abroad setting.
POLS 250: Introduction to International Relations (3 units)
In International Relations we ask: “Why do countries do what they do?”  Our goal is to understand the behavior of states.  We introduce and use concepts to understand this question in theoretical, and then practical terms. When taught at home in the US, our application of these concepts is somewhat constrained.  Typically, because of the students’ familiarity with and exposure to US behavior, we apply the concepts to unfolding events, and then to the behavior of the United States.  That is far from ideal as the concepts are intended to have much broader explanatory power.  Being present in Europe, and with access to European media, students will have the tools to apply the concepts to the behavior of European states generally and to Italy specifically.   As an example:  How would Italy respond to a terrorist attack?  Our curriculum will present concepts that political scientists find useful in considering policy options.  As Americans, the students will no doubt have contemplated this question.  They will likely be familiar with policy choices Americans have debated and pursued.  We will examine those and then explore the Italian and European policies chosen to address the same problem.  Where there are differences, we will explore what accounts for them, doing the same for commonalities. In Florence, the opportunities are limitless.  We will be surrounded by people with ideas about globalization, trade, immigration, climate change, war and peace that are, for Americans, quite novel.  Being exposed to them will dramatically improve our ability to make sense of them.
SOCSC 123: American Popular Culture (3 units)
American Popular Culture (In Comparative Perspective) Why teach a course that focuses on an American theme?  For American students studying in Florence this course is the perfect vehicle to make the most their presence there.  This course opens the doors to many exciting opportunities to take what Italy offers and bring it into the classroom.  The objective of this course is to understand and appreciate the influence Popular Culture has had on American society.  The best way to appreciate your own culture is to step outside that culture and regard it from a new perspective.  A sojourn in Florence provides the perfect opportunity to do that.  At the same time the course project offers students the opportunity immerse themselves in the sub-culture of their choice.  We will survey several popular culture types/genres: Literary culture; Theatrical culture; Musical culture; Visual culture; Electronic culture; Fashion; Sports; Advertising.    While learning about their own culture, its origins and influences, in Florence they will have the opportunity to explore Italian & European culture and consider how American Pop Culture differs from the culture that surrounds them.
Course Descriptions: Santa Rosa Junior College
Humanities 7: Introduction to the Humanities (3 units)
Florence is one of the world’s great living museums for the humanistic tradition, and this course will steep us in the riches of Florentine culture: pictorial art, sculpture, architecture, history, and (not least) cuisine.  Where else can we read the Bible story of David and Goliath in the morning, then walk out in an afternoon to view Michelangelo’s famous statue of David, and compare it to Donatello’s David?  Or study the representation of the Virgin Mary in the New Testament, and then survey three centuries worth of paintings of the Virgin in the Uffizi gallery?  Our emphasis will be on how the religious and political contexts of Florence in the Renaissance—Christianity, and republican politics—manifest themselves across the range of Florentine culture.  The course will include numerous field trips around Florence and to other major local sites such as Fiesole. Course work will be designed to take maximum advantage of students’ exposure to the Florentine and larger European setting; it will be built around each student’s with a number of self-selected works of art from various media—the visual arts, film, music, dance, literature, and/or philosophy—culminating in a final project that will represent a synthesis and integration of their semester’s experience. 
English 1B: Literature and Composition (3 units)
This course introduces students to major literary genres—poetry, the essay, drama, and the novel—and emphasizes skills in interpretative analysis and critical writing.  We will read some Italian prose and poetry in translation, including selections from two great Florentines, Machiavelli and Dante. For these writers, we will use the resources of Florence to explore the ways in which great literature is shaped by its historical and geographical setting.  Florence will also provide an apt context for how literary forms and their relevance evolve over time, and as they travel to new places.  We’ll read the 14th century Tuscan poet Francesco Petrarch, the first great sonneteer, and we’ll follow the evolution of the courtly love tradition that Petrarch practically invents through the sonnets of Shakespeare, and modern and contemporary English and American poets who are keeping alive the sonnet form.  The artistic resources of Florence will enrich our study, enabling comparative analysis of major themes—romantic and erotic love, for example—in literature and in painting.  Finally, we will read E.M. Forster’s novel of Florentine tourism, A Room With a View, and use it to reflect on our own experiences as visitors to Florence.
English 9: Contemporary World Literature (3 units)
“We are dependent, for understanding, and for consolation and hope, upon what we learn of ourselves from songs and stories. This has always been so, and it will not change.” That’s the American writer Wendell Berry speaking, and the truth of what he says is the premise of this course.  Living and studying in Florence gives us a rare and precious opportunity to see how Berry’s wisdom applies on a global level, and speaks to how we rely on a global literary tradition—shared stories, songs, dramas, poems—to make sense of the world, and our individual and collective lives in the world. Our purpose in this course will be to make that turn to the literary conscious, so that we can reflect on it critically and meaningfully, and in so doing seek to understand London, the contemporary world, and ourselves, more fully and clearly.  As texts we may use either the Norton or Bedford anthology of world literature.
Course Descriptions: Los Rios Community College District
PSYC 320: Social Psychology (3 units)
This course provides students with an initial introduction to the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. Students become familiar with the major domains of social psychology and the relevance of social psychology to daily life. Topics covered include the history and perspectives of social psychology, foundational studies and current research, research methods utilized in social psychology, social cognition and perception, the power of the situation, conformity, attitude change, gender roles, sociocultural and biological influences on social behaviors and cognition, group processes, the effects of mass communication on social behaviors and cognition, aggression, prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination, love and attraction, and altruism.  Concepts will be discussed in the context of multiple cultural backgrounds with an emphasis on Italian culture.  The role of culture as it relates to perception, communication, and behavior will be emphasized.   Students will be applying the concepts they learn in class to their experiences living in Italy and be able to discuss the impact of culture on social behaviors.
PSYC 356: Human Sexuality (3 units)
This course provides a balanced scientific understanding of sexual literacy from historical, cultural, physiological, sociological, psychological, and legal perspectives.  Students will be provided with a solid base of factual, up-to-date, nonjudgmental information about sex and sexuality that enables them to dispel myths, and to facilitate problem identification and possible solutions and to apply critical thinking in making choices and decisions throughout their lives.  Course topics include: sexual research, sexual contents (culture, history, religion), social media impact, anatomy and physiology, arousal and response, sexual infections, contraception, reproduction, gender identity, sexual orientation, child/adolescent sexual development, adult and aging sexual well-being, love and communication, coercion and disorders and their treatment.  There is a multicultural emphasis in this course.  An integrated theme in this course will be to focus on understanding similarities and differences across cultures in terms of their impact on topics in sexuality as varied as reproductive health issues, intimate partner violence, gender identity, concepts of beauty, culturally based gender norms, communication within relationships, and many more topics.  Students understanding of Italian culture will inform and enhance discussions related to cultural differences in these topics.
PSYC 360: Psychology of Women (3 units)
In this course, students will study the impact of sex and gender on women's lives. An emphasis is placed on the interplay between gender and race, ethnicity, class, age, sexual orientation, and physical and mental ability. The course addresses a variety of topics including gender stereotypes and their connections to sexism, gender roles and expectations, biological bases of sex, gender throughout the lifespan, the physical and mental health of women, women and work, and violence against women. The course also emphasizes the importance of critically evaluating theory and research on sex and gender.  While the course has a broad multicultural emphasis additional attention will be given to the application of concepts within the context of life in Italy.  The similarities and differences in the cultures of the United States and Italy and the impact they have on the development of women in those cultures will be address within a larger global context.
Course Descriptions: San Mateo County Community College District
FILM 122: Study Abroad Focus on Film History (3 units)
Focus on Italian Neorealism. Critical investigation of key films made in Italy at the end of World War II, which were made in response to the socio-economic-political, conditions afflicting Italian society.  Directors such as Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, and Luchino Visconti used this war torn Italian landscape as their canvas.  Working with nonprofessional actors and small budgets, they cultivate an influential realist aesthetic.
FILM 130: Study Abroad Focus on Film Directors (3 units)
Critical survey of key works of major Italian film directors (which may include Pier Paolo Pasolini, Lina Wertmüller, Michelangelo Antonioni, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Nanni Moretti, Matteo Garrone, and Paolo Sorrentino and others) Emphasis on auteur theory, biography, film style and visionary contributions to film history.
FILM 140: Study Abroad Course Focus on Contemporary Cinema (3 units) 
Survey of the latest generation of Italian films, filmmakers, and movements with emphasis on historical context and the context of globalization.   

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