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Randolph students will explore Great Wall as part of a 2018 Summer Study Seminar to China.

Study Seminars

Randolph faculty members lead 2-week study seminars across a range of academic disciplines and in countries around the globe either during winter break, spring break, or the summer.

After completion of one semester of study, all students are encouraged to participate in these unique programs, which may have prerequisite courses and include pre-departure sessions and post-trip activities.

2019-2020 Study Seminars

View archive of past Study Seminars

Apply to Participate in an SS Program

Please see Dean Goodjohn in the Dean’s Office for more information on prices and financial aid available and watch portal announcements for dates and times of info sessions.

Discover Alaska

The Struggle for Native Lands
May 16-28, 2020 (dates subject to change)

$3,215 (allow $500 for extras such as spending money, some meals, summer credit fee, and insurance)

The largest in area and one of the last to be admitted to the Union, the State of Alaska has been a continued site of contestation. A week of pre-trip course work will include the history of Alaska, with a focus on Native Alaskan communities and cultures. Topics covered will include settler colonialism, American exceptionalism, gold rushes, National Parks, deep sea fisheries, Native displacement, Native Alaskan sovereignty, cultural landscapes, and environmental justice movements. Our trip will start and end in Juneau, where students will tour a salmon hatchery and deep sea fishing boat, visit gold mines and museums. We will visit a rural Huna Tlingit community, visit Glacier Bay National Park, and spend a few days on a remote island, completely off the grid. Students will kayak, hike and participate in sustainably harvesting local resources. Time spent at the island will offer a unique space to reflect on social-ecological systems, strategies for tackling resource management, and Native Alaskan rights.

Leaders:  Julio Rodriguez, Associate Professor of American Culture and Brennan Keegan, Visiting Assistant Professor of American Culture

Discover Italy & Greece

A History of Numbers: Intercultural Studies in Italy and Greece
May 20-30 2020 (dates subject to change)

$4,506 (allows $715 for extras such as spending money, some meals, summer credit fee, and insurance)

For most, mathematically inclined or not, the concept of number is an elementary building block of our mental landscape.  We consult this notion regularly to make sense of the world around us.  It is nearly inconceivable that our conception of number is something that developed in stages: that the abstraction of number actually comprises a host of associated ideas, forged over the course of millennia.

The development of numbers didn’t take place all within one culture, or one geographical region.  Often and unsurprisingly, cultures that had no contact with one another produced parallel development.  For instance, both the Babylonians and the Mayans evolved base 60 number systems.  Both cultures required a highly divisible base for their respective number systems in order to effectively explore their mutual interests in astronomy and architecture.  These two cultures, overlapping in neither space nor time, discovered identical mathematical solutions to identical mathematical needs.

While the development of the concept of number was spread across the globe, for over 1000 years Greece and the Rome formed a nexus for mathematical ideas both developed locally and also incorporated from the Near East, and North Africa.  Pythagoras, Archimedes, Eratosthenes, Fibonacci, and many others laid the arithmetic (and more generally the mathematical) groundwork later built upon by the mathematicians and scientists of the modern period.  These luminaries and the landscapes where they lived and worked are inexorably linked:  Archimedes seminal work came to a tragic end on the beaches of Syracuse; Fibonacci was born and worked in Pisa, and saw construction begin on a well-known but ultimately structurally flawed tower when he was three years old.

A visit to Italy and Greece can enrich one’s life in many ways.  These two countries abound with millennia of history and culture, and it is my wish that we partake in as varied an encounter as possible.  But among the many things I hope we can take away from this experience will be a better understanding of the culture and setting that gave rise to some of the most inventive thinkers in history.

For more information on scholarships/grant, please contact Associate Dean Bunny Goodjohn.

Leader: Marc Ordower, Associate Professor of Mathematics

Discover Spain

Conflict and Confluence: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism in the Art and Literature of Early Spain
Required Pre-Trip Course: Spring Semester 2020
Trip: May 19-June 2, 2020 (dates subject to change)

$4,200 (allow $725 for extras such as spending money, some meals, summer credit fee, and insurance)

This interdisciplinary class explores the unique intercultural exchanges that took place between Christians, Muslims, and Jews over the course of several centuries in premodern Spain. Through the study of art, architecture, and literature that incorporates contributions from all three cultures students will learn about key moments in Spain’s historical development from about the fifth to the seventeenth centuries. We will explore the architecture of the Visigothic period (5th-8th centuries); the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in 711 and the rich influence of Moorish culture in Spanish art, architecture, and literature that resulted; the long Christian “reconquest” against Islam (c. 718-1492), which ended the same year that Spain’s Catholic kings expelled the Jews and sent Christopher Columbus to “discover” the New World; and the transition from Renaissance to Baroque art (16th-17th centuries).

Pre-Trip Course (fourth quarter, Spring 2020, 1 credit):

The pre-trip component of the course will comprise seven weekly lectures focused around a specific theme and complemented by assigned readings. Historical context will be heavily emphasized throughout the course to provide students with a solid foundation for understanding the unique conflicts and confluences between Christians, Muslims, and Jews that define Spain’s development into a modern nation. Students will develop a basic understanding of Spanish history and hone necessary skills for the analysis of art, architecture, and literature that will enrich their contact with Spanish culture while in Spain over the summer. In addition to examining the architecture of important Spanish landmarks including cathedrals, mosques, synagogues, and other sites, we will study the painting of Jusepe de Ribera, Francisco de Zurbarán, Diego Velazquez, and Francisco Goya, among other major Spanish artists. For the literary component of the course, we will read the anonymously published The Abencerraje (c. 1560), a courtly novella that explores a Muslim-Christian friendship during the “reconquista,” as well as selections from Miguel de Cervantes’ Exemplary Novels (1590-1612), the popular renditions of daily life in 16th- and 17th-century Spain which allude to the conflictive coexistence of Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

Summer Study Seminar in Spain (Summer 2020, 2 credits):

Equipped by the spring course with a knowledge base and the critical skills for analyzing art and literature, students will study original works of art and architecture in Spain and consider them within their physical and ritual contexts. In Granada, Seville, Córdoba and Toledo we will see examples of Christian, Islamic, and Jewish art and architecture. Barcelona and Madrid illustrate other aspects of Spain’s history, such as her role as a maritime power and the growth of the monarchy in Golden Age Spain. Portions of our days will be spent discussing the characters of The Abencerraje and Exemplary Novels and considering how these Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived together as friends or enemies and shaped both the physical fabric and the cultural heritage of today’s Spain.

For more information on scholarships/grant, please contact Associate Dean Bunny Goodjohn.

Leaders: Andrea Campbell, Professor of Art History and Daniel Cooper, Assistant Professor of Spanish

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