What does it take to create a viable society? How do people with different cultures and economies draw on their ideas, customs and resources to develop systems of social, community and political organization? And how do those systems affect those who are young or old, rich or poor, male or female, single or partnered, powerful or powerless? These are just some of the central human questions that this course will address by drawing on materials from Southern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and other parts of the world. Particular attention will be given to core values found throughout the Mediterranean region, specifically, concepts of honor and shame, and purity and pollution. Within that context, we will consider such diverse human experiences as: arranged marriages and parental expectations; love and duty; family structure and responsibility; sex and security; the inequalities of class systems and hereditary privilege; people’s responses to poverty and hierarchy; loyalty to clan and tribe; religious beliefs as cohesive and divisive forces; the development of complex civilizations; the cultural handling of war and peace; and the creation of revolutionary and Utopian societies in a rapidly changing and modernizing world. As we voyage through the Mediterranean and then towards home, students will be asked to think about the qualities of life they value, and how these might be achieved in the families, communities and societies they will create in the future.
Introductory course in Anthropology, Sociology or Psychology
Field WorkCountry: Italy
Start in the heart of Naples represented by the unique square of Piazza del Gesu, where three different architectural styles come together: the Baroque obelisk, the Renaissance façade of the Gesu Nuovo Church and the Gothic Cathedral of Santa Chiara. Proceed through the Bay of Naples to reach the upper part of the town, Posillipo Hill. Continue through the residential area and reach the gorgeous Piazza del Plebiscito for a view of the Royal Palace, Galleria Umberto I, San Carlo Opera House and the arcade of Naples, where most of the cafés and shops are located. During the day we will also see one of the city's poor neighborhoods, and visit a local program addressing issues of Neapolitan poverty. For students in Dr. Savishinsky's course "Family, Community and Utopia," this will be a chance to see some of the social inequality in Naples, and learn about programs that address poverty in this "wounded city."