Honors Travel Seminar: Inquiry in Italy


HNR 140: Inquiry in Italy

For millennia the country we now call “Italy” has functioned as a crossroads. This is the result of a number of factors, including its geographic location, the power wielded by the cities scattered across its land, and the grasp it has on historical imagination.

Because Italy is a site of confluence and crossing, it serves as an ideal classroom for exploring how cultural categories and identities, political, cultural, and religious, are constructed and how they change over time. Among other questions, we will explore how the categories of “east” and “west” are drawn and employed, how communities use “others” to shape their own identities, and how the past and present are related. We will think together about how “Italian” identities (i.e. Sicilian, Roman, Venetian, etc.) are formed in relation to identities from around the Mediterranean. Drawing on our expertise in history and religious studies, the faculty will think with students about how these phenomena are made visible in cities, monuments, cuisines, and traditions.

The course is deliberately pitched in the middle of a first-year Honors curriculum in which students have completed Global Studies equipped with conceptual tools for thinking about the world, and before they enter a discipline-based Spring-semester course.  The faculty will model professional curiosity and academic inquiry as we explore the rich historical and religious landscapes of Italy and the ways in which historical and contemporary residents express identities in a complex and often conflicted environment.

This is a four credit-hour course which counts toward the Civilization category of the CORE requirement. It also counts toward the credits needed for graduation. In select cases, students can count the course toward minors in Classical Studies and Italian Studies.

Process of Selection

Interested first-year Honors Fellows participate in two-hour seminar at the beginning of the fall semester introducing the course content and academic expectations. After the seminar a preliminary essay is assigned, and seminar participants are selected based upon their performance in the seminar and the essay. We anticipate that 10 to 15 students will be selected for participation.

Eligibility and Cost

Fellows will receive approximately 75% funding towards course costs, and will be expected to pay the remaining costs themselves (including meals). Students may apply their one-time Honors Study Away grant to the course. In cases of documented financial need, students may receive more financial support from the Honors Program. Students pay approximately $2000 ($1000 after the grant is applied), and balance is due at the end of the fall semester.

Student Blogs

Check out blog from students who participated in the course in recent years. This year’s current blog can be accessed HERE.