All costs include mandatory $150 office fee. All travel Jan Term courses are graded S/D/U.
Nate Bigelow and Audrey Flemming
Comparative Democratization in Identity-Charged Societies
Spain, Morocco, Scotland, Portugal
In this course, we will examine the formal institutional changes that occur within democratizing societies that contend with identity politics. The class will have two main points of focus: 1) looking at how democratic institutions are built, structured, and challenged and 2) studying the ways in which identity politics influence both the way those institutions are built as well as influence how they function. Given the cases that we are selecting have rich political histories, we will be able to look at how identity politics has both aided and undermined attempts at democracy, across states’ histories. Proposed visits: Spain (Sevilla, Granada, Cadiz, Cordoba), Morocco (Marrakesh as a side trip from southern Spain), Scotland (Edinburgh, Glasgow), Portugal (Lisbon)
Estimated Course Fee: $5,100
Out of Pocket Expenses: $300
Wayne Crannell and John Williams
Scotland: Castles, Crosses, Kilts, and Celts
Scotland is a place that arose from myth. Almost anyone with European roots can trace her ancestors back to a Highland glen or a Scottish island. But the Scots, in spite of carving an existence out of nothing more than oppressive poverty and from under the shadow of foreign rule by everyone from the Romans to the Celts to the English, nevertheless managed to make some of the most significant contributions to religion, history, culture, science, and politics seen in western culture.
This course is designed as a study of the development of the “idea” of Scotland through a study of its history, religion, and culture, all illustrated by its ruins. With visits to as many as 50 sites, students will spend 21 days immersed in the remnants of Scotland’s past while also having the opportunity to experience modern life in towns and cities across the country.
Estimated Course Fee: $4,190
Out of Pocket Expenses: $785
New York, City of Beauty and Grandeur
New York City
Many of New York City’s important buildings, parks, public monuments and art collections date to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the city became truly world class. We will spend two weeks in Manhattan visiting significant architectural sites and museums that we will have studied before leaving Sherman. Locations will include the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the New Amsterdam Theatre, Grand Central Terminal, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Wall Street, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, as well as many other lesser-known architectural gems. You will get to know the city’s buildings and public spaces better than most New Yorkers! There will also be time in the evenings and on weekends to experience New York’s vibrant cultural life, whether your interest is music, theater, food, art or fashion. No background in art or architecture is necessary–just a curiosity about the history of one of the world’s capitals of culture.
Estimated Course Fee: $3,005
Out of Pocket Expenses: $700
Deep in the Heart of Mexico: Querétaro
This course is an immersion experience to improve your skills in the Spanish language and your knowledge of Mexican culture, literature, and history. The course will be held at the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro in the historic downtown area of this colonial city. As a World Heritage site and voted the top destination for pedestrian tourism in Mexico, Querétaro has consistently been identified as one of the 3 Mexican cities with the highest quality of life index (measured by safety, cleanliness, and variety of cultural offerings). Morning classes are held 4 hours per day, accompanied by volunteer work and cultural activities in the afternoons. Additional travel and excursions include: El Zócalo, Templo Mayor, and the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, We will also visit Puebla, Tlaxcala, Teotihuacán pyramids, and Guanajuato. Intermediate students will study language and culture in the classroom, on the plaza, at the market and at other sites around town. Advanced students will also hone their language skills in cafés, plazas, and the market, as well as studying Mesoamerican Mythology, contemporary Mexican literature and creative writing with a local writer. Volunteer work will include teaching and playing with children at an orphanage and day care and service projects at a Mental Health and Therapy Center. Homestays will provide students with additional language exposure and an invaluable cultural experience as students see how Mexican families live and interact. This is not the border or the beach; students will experience a Mexico they may not have even imagined!!!
Estimated Course Fee: $2,700
Out of Pocket Expenses: $300
The Neuroscience behind Nature, Yoga, and Meditation
We will devote our Jan Term to being fully immersed in Nature with daily Yoga and Meditation practices while also learning the neuroscience behind all three. The health benefits associated with a daily yoga practice are well established, and similar benefits are reported from meditation. Not only will we all experience a significant reduction in stress levels, but hopefully you will also start to notice how your yoga practice affects thought processes. These health benefits and changes in perceptions are all intertwined with changes in the human brain. During the course of human evolution, we have only surrounded ourselves in a concrete jungle for a small blip of time. Our brains and bodies evolved as a part of a social being in nature. We will learn about how our current existence changes the brain in negative ways while also working on positive brain change facilitated by complete immersion in a natural environment. From the Pacific Ocean to the depths of the Costa Rican jungle, nature will surround us at all times. We will spend the first day on campus covering yoga basics, travel plans, and hiking in the Texoma area before flying out to Costa Rica for three weeks. While in Costa Rica, we will spend one week in Pavones at the Pavones Yoga Center. We will focus on yoga, meditation, and neuroscience instruction in this isolated village on one of the southernmost pacific coasts in Costa Rica. We will then move on to Tiskita Nature Preserve for four nights of yoga, nature, and conservation education. We will travel to Golfito and Puerto Jimenez during our second and third weeks to interact with nature, practice yoga, and meditate before finishing our adventures at a volcano and hot springs near San Jose. Excursions will include canyoneering, canopy adventures, boat rides, snorkeling and dolphin watching, climbing high cliffs, and kayaking in the ocean. Must be able to hike up steep terrain with elevation gains over 1500 feet in one walking session. This course will require a high level of physical fitness. We will be engaged in significant physical activity for up to 6 hours a day in 100% humidity. A commitment to practicing yoga and meditation daily is also required.
Estimated Course Fee: $3,900
Out of Pocket Expenses: $400
Experiencing Japanese Culture
Japan (Tokyo, Kamakura, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Himeji)
This course provides students the opportunity to gain new cultural perspectives by personally experiencing Japan. Through study with faculty and professionals associated with IES/Tokyo, homestays with Japanese families, and excursions to historically and culturally significant sites within Japan, students will achieve a fuller and more personal understanding of Japanese culture and history, and a fuller awareness of the complexities of intercultural communication.
After an intensive two (or three)-day introduction to Japanese culture held on the Austin College campus, we will fly to Tokyo. Our first week in Japan will be spent at the IES Tokyo Center near the campus of Kanda University, in Makuhari City, where students will receive instruction in the Japanese language, and in aspects of Japanese history and culture through excursions into Tokyo. Language instruction will target two levels of students: those with little or no knowledge of Japanese, and those will three semesters or more of Japanese study. While studying at the IES Center, students will stay with Japanese host families and will have ample opportunities to practice the communication skills they are acquiring. Our second week in Japan will be devoted to visiting a variety of sites in throughout Japan. We will witness the vitality of that ultra-modern mega-city, Tokyo, and observe gracefully enduring traditions in the ancient capital of Kyoto. We will experience the serenity of temples and shrines in Nara and Kamakura, as well as the jarring emotions evoked by Hiroshima’s A-Bomb Dome and Peace Park Museum. And throughout our time in Japan, we will interact with Japanese in Japanese.
Estimated Course Fee: $5,300
Out of Pocket Expenses: $750
Steve Goldsmith and Keith Kisselle
Evolution & Ecology in Hawai’i
Hawai’i – specifically Hawai’i (Big Island) Maui, Kauai, and Oahu
Archipelagoes have been called “crucibles of evolution”. This is especially true of the Hawaiian islands, which combine incredible biological diversity with spectacular natural beauty. This course is an exploration of the biota, geology, geography, and cultural history of these remote oceanic islands, which are home to numerous endemic species of birds, plants, and invertebrates, many of which are unknown to science. We will visit the full range of habitats provided by the islands, from coral reefs to volcano peaks, from lush tropical forests to hot deserts to the newest land on earth. Our goal is to observe first-hand the biological diversity and complex ecology of this Pacific paradise.
Estimated Course Fee: $4,750
Out of Pocket Expenses: $300
Rome: The Eternal City
Rome, Italy (Naples, Pompeii, Tarquinia)
We will travel to Rome to experience the grandeur and mystique of the city that gave birth to “Western” culture. By studying the art, literature, and monuments of Rome’s past, we will learn about the contexts in which the ancient Romans became rulers of the Western world, the early Christians defined themselves and their faith, the Renaissance was born, and European artistic standards were developed and put into practice. We will also have opportunities to observe how a thriving, vivacious, modern city embraces its heritage and makes sacrifices to accommodate important monuments of its past. There will be regular visits to archaeological sites and churches, excursions to nearby cities, Tarquinia, Palestrina, and Pompeii, and ample time for students to observe the modern Roman lifestyle. Students must be physically fit and prepared for extensive walking over rough terrain.
Estimated Course Fee: $4,000
Out of Pocket Expenses: $300
David Whelan and Lindsay Zack
The Space-ious Southwest: Astronomy, Archaeoastronomy & Space Flight
New Mexico and Arizona
For more than two millenia, the inhabitants of the American Southwest have looked to the sky for both practical reasons and inspiration. A record of the sky’s significance has been left in stone petroglyphs, many of which include images of the Sun, Moon, even supernovae. Today, the stark landscape, open spaces, and high mountains of the Southwest continue to make it a center for matters related to space: This is where many of the world’s finest astronomical telescopes have been built; it is where the U.S. military develops and tests satellite and missile technologies; and it is where some of the first commercial spaceflight companies have, in recent years, set up shop. During January 2018, we will explore the region’s long and abiding interest in space by traveling to sites across the Southwest. The journey will start right here at Austin College’s own Adams Observatory to familiarize ourselves with a modern view of telescopes and the night sky. Next, we will make our way through New Mexico and Arizona to visit other modern telescope facilities and see state-of-the-art astronomy instrumentation labs, ancient petroglyph sites, National Parks, and museums along the way. This experience will allow us to appreciate why the Southwest has inspired so many people, ancient and modern, to gaze at the night sky and reach for the stars.
Estimated Course Fee: $3,100
Out of Pocket Expenses: $0
Wolfgang Lueckel and Colin Foss
Coffee & Café Culture in Paris and Vienna
Paris and Vienna
Do you enjoy your cup of Joe in the morning? Do you need caffeine to get you through the day? Do you really like the taste of coffee? Have you ever wondered how humans have cultivated coffee as a beverage and how it has eventually arrived in your hands?
In this JanTerm course, we will be travelling first to Paris and then to Vienna not only to learn more about coffee’s history but to live with coffee for almost four weeks, to explore every facet the mysterious bean has to offer and to study the socio-cultural impact of the beverage. We will spend about equal time in each city.
Hundreds of coffee houses have emerged in and around Vienna in the past three hundred years, many of them well-known beyond the city limits. During the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683, so the legend goes, the Turks brought the coffee bean to Europe. Ever since then, Vienna has established an obsession about coffee like no other place. In 2011, UNESCO recognized the Viennese Coffee House culture as intangible cultural heritage. Paris has a very different but equally historic relationship to coffee. The generic term for a drinking establishment in France even comes from coffee itself: un café. In Paris, we will explore some of the thousands of cafés that dot the boulevards and side-streets of the French capital, from the local hole-in-the-wall, where coffee is drunk with a bitter pastis or a syrupy wine-based kir, to the famous left-bank establishment Café-de-Flore, once frequented by intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Pablo Picasso. In Paris, we’ll also indulge in café culture: with most establishments pointing their seats outward, towards the street, this is a space where public gawking is encouraged.
As part of the experiential component, students will learn the proper way to prepare coffee. We will go to dedicated coffee roasters, study the selection of green beans, roasting techniques and various brewing methods. We will not only tour many a coffee house and café to explore its offerings but also learn about the cultural history of coffee by visiting the Fourth annual Vienna Coffee Festival (Jan. 12-19, 2018) as well as the Kaffeemuseum at the Kaffee Kompetenz Zentrum in Vienna and the Musée Carnavalet in Paris.
In hands-on workshop sessions guided by local coffee professionals, we will then get to make our own coffee, scrutinizing all the important parameters that are necessary to make a superb cup, not just some “Joe” as is commonly served at American chain stores, often called “jus-de-chaussette” (sock-water) in French or “schwarze Brühe” (black broth) in German. Preparing coffee is a science and an art, and we will learn to control various parameters such as grind, tamp, extraction techniques (such as espresso, pour-over, immersion), water, concentration, milk steaming and more.
We will explore Vienna’s rich cultural offerings (such as a visit to Schönbrunn castle, various cathedrals, the Habsburg crypt, a live musical performance at one of the major concert houses, operas or theatrical stages). In Paris, we will pair visits to major monuments like the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame Cathedral with guided tours of historic neighborhoods like Montmartre with its café-concerts, the most famous of which being the Moulin-Rouge, or the neighborhood of Belleville, where 19th-century revolutionaries fomented insurrection in cafés, and where can now be found one of Paris’ most multi-cultural and vibrant communities.
In each city, students will also have time for individual activities. We will live in international dorms in Paris and in pairs with local hosts in Vienna. Accommodation includes breakfast and will provide a safe and pleasant experience, enabling further contact with locals and insight into Austrian and French customs. The course fee covers barista and roasting workshops with local professionals, admission to all places we plan to see as well as all transportation (airfare, airport shuttle in Paris and Vienna, unlimited public transportation in both cities). Furthermore, the fee will cover many coffee house visits where students can sample various coffee offerings. To help out with other meals, the course fee also includes a food allowance of EUR 10 per day that is paid in Euro currency at the beginning of the trip. During a final ethnographic project, students will explore a coffee-related topic on their own, interview and observe people who drink or make coffee, research information, and write a brief paper on their findings.
Estimated Course Fee: $4,925
Out of Pocket Expenses: $400
Representational Dilemmas: Native American Museums/Cultural Centers in the Southwestern US
Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona
Museums in Western culture grew out of imperial traditions displaying cultural artifacts encountered and appropriated in conquered and colonized territories; they were, anthropologist Michael Ames suggests, inevitably about “cannibals and glass boxes.” Over the past 20 years, in a critical inversion of this tradition, Native American tribes and nations have developed museums and cultural centers as vital tools to celebrate and revitalize their cultures, serving as places of intense, creative and robust community activity where cultural patrimonies are preserved, taught and passed on to younger generations. This course will visit Native American museums and cultural centers (and communities) in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona to examine the roles these centers play in the lives of their communities. We will talk with museum curators and organizers, participate in their artistic, cultural and educational activities, and examine the ideas behind the arrangements of their displays and activities. We will also visit several major Anasazi archeological sites and discuss with tribal members what these sites mean for tribal members today. Class size will be limited to 12, since we will be traveling to these sites in a van.
Estimated Course Fee: $2,500
Out of Pocket Expenses: $200
Mary Yetta McKelva
Spanish Immersion in Heredia, Costa Rica
This course is for intermediate and advanced Spanish students (prerequisite: SPAN 102) who are serious about improving their language skills and about getting immersed in Costa Rican culture. Successful completion of this course will fulfill the language competency. You will live with families in the beautiful city of Heredia, Costa Rica, just north of the capital, San José. You will attend language classes for four hours everyday and participate in cultural activities in the afternoons. There will be exciting excursions on the weekends:
- spend a night at the Arenal volcano, wake up the next day and hike it, then take a boat ride across the lago to Monteverde, spend the night there, and the next morning do an incredible zipline tour in the cloud forest.
- Parque Nacional Tortuguero, a protected wilderness area on Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean coast. Its beaches are famous nesting grounds for sea turtles, including endangered green turtles.
- ziplining, hiking, hot springs
Estimated Course Fee: $3,300
Out of Pocket Expenses: $400
Shakespeare in London (MAYTERM)
For those interested in the full range of English-language theater, from the Renaissance to the present, there is only one place: London. And in London there is only one place for historically-informed Shakespeare productions: the Globe Theatre. The Globe’s offerings will be the core of our three-week stay, supplemented by drama from other periods and traditions on offer in the English capital – and possibly by a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace and the headquarters of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Estimated Course Fee: $5,000
Out of Pocket Expenses: $300