Cross Cultural Psychology (field lab in Rio de Janeiro, day 1)

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Huppin
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 15:40
End: 16:55
Field Work: Day 1 - Rio de Janeiro - Wednesday, 20 November | Brazil
Prerequisites: Introductory Psychology Download Syllabus

This course provides an overview of the field of cross-cultural psychology. It will review contemporary theoretical approaches to the study of culture and psychology, with a particular emphasis on evolutionary psychology and the nature vs. nurture controversy more generally. We will examine cross-cultural similarities and differences in relation to topics including attachment in the family context, psychological and behavioral effects of mass media, gender differences in socialization, judgments of physical attractiveness, the function of gossip in society, abnormal behaviors, emotional expression, and the concept of self. Port of call visits will provide first-hand opportunities to apply the material covered in class, or to discuss it with research or treatment professionals in those countries.

Field Work

Country: Brazil
Day: 1 - Rio de Janeiro - Wednesday, 20 November

Spend the day exploring the samba, a music and dance with roots in the West African slave trade that has become closely associated in minds and hearts with the famous Brazilian Carnival. Students will learn about the history and development of the samba and related dances from an authority in Brazilian history before visiting a samba school, where they will participate in various carnival-related activities, including costume making, float building, and instrument playing. From the samba school students will travel to Casa Rosa, a local restaurant located in the backstreets of Favela Maloca and housed in one of Rio’s most famous historic brothels. Students will enjoy a meal of Feijoada (a Brazilian national dish) and samba the night away on one of several dance floors. Academic Objectives:

The immediate purpose of our immersion into the traditions of samba dancing in Rio is to help students understand how samba, a music and dance with roots in the West African slave trade, has come to be intimately associated with Brazilian cultural and national identity, including not only through its specialized arrangements of sound and movement but also via an allied historical culture of food, dress, and carnival. In a later research paper, students will be asked to relate the apparent weight and force of samba’s influence on Brazilian identity to some element of music, dance, food, and/or dress that has come to shape their own cultural and psychological identity. In service of broader academic objectives, they’ll be asked as well to contemplate how best we might hope to respect and grow discrete cultural traditions within our modern multicultural environment, while simultaneously meaning to promote multicultural learning, interaction, and assimilation. Discussion here will include cultural observations from other ports of call.