Fall 2014 Global Field Study Courses

Jerusalem: Pursuing Understanding Conflict Worldview

(GFS381.1/GFS481.1) The city of Jerusalem is considered religious holy space by the “People of the Book” – Jews, Christians and Muslims – all of whom trace their religious heritages back to Abraham. In addition to these religious worldviews, a significant secular worldview – Zionism and the resulting State of Israel in 1948 – has laid claim to the same geography. During the three millennia of Jerusalem’s existence, various religious, cultural, and political groups have struggled for power and control over this disputed territory in the Middle East. Conflicting goals, aspirations, agendas and historical understandings have led to conflict, volatility, limited evidence of understanding perspectives of other groups, and the absence of lasting peace. Although these divisions continue into the twenty-first century, there are people and organizations striving for understanding, justice and peace. Upon completion of this course students will have developed an understanding of and appreciation for various narratives among people in Jerusalem, the State of Israel, and the Palestinian Territories. Students will also implement their “Compassionate Listening” training during a nine-day trip to Israel/Palestine in January 2015. Travel Dates: Jan. 1 (or 2) to Jan 10, 2015. Special travel fee to be determined.

Benin: Routes/Roots, Religion, and Royalty

(GFS381.2, GFS481.2) Students will be introduced to the Republic of Benin, a democratic country of ancient kingdoms and vast resources. This course will closely examine the history, cultural productions, social structures, and economic and political realities of the small, but resource-rich land. Among other areas, we will explore how the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean can be traced to Benin through religion (Vodun); the repatriation of Afro-Cubans and Afro-Brazilians in Africa (Tabom/Aguda); the flourishing slave trade in the 19th century; and agriculture. Additionally, students will learn about the current political stability within the country which and women’s roles in the society, past and present. Through this course students will understand the literature, culture, and political history of Benin through lectures given by Arcadia University professors and local community guides while visiting the country; experience cross-cultural contact with the local population through visits to urban areas and local villages; and compare the various cultures of sub-Saharan Africa with representative American experiences through artistic mediums of popular culture: art, music, film, and video. Travel to Benin will be over an 8-9 day period during winter break, and will include visits to various educational/cultural institutions, and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Special travel fee to be determined.

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