Every person is unique, yet we all face similar questions when it comes to human behavior. What makes for a happy life? How do friendships and romantic attraction work? What are the best ways to address violence, prejudice, climate change, and other social problems? In a course designed especially for Semester at Sea, we’ll explore these and other questions through a cross-cultural introduction to classic and contemporary social psychology: the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. For example, we’ll cover topics such as decision making, persuasion, group behavior, personal attraction, and life satisfaction. Throughout the semester, our focus will be on surprising, entertaining, and intriguing research findings that are easy to apply in daily life. As part of this focus, several assignments will encourage you to experiment with your life, observe the results, and analyze what took place. The course will also consider the role of culture in shaping human behavior and will include opportunities to integrate your cultural experiences off the ship with topics discussed in class.
Field WorkCountry: South Africa
Date: March 23, 2018
Apartheid was a South African system of legalized racial discrimination that ended in 1994, when Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first Black president. The following year, President Mandela made history by creating a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help the country come to terms with its past and promote healing. As the end of apartheid approaches its 25th anniversary, this field class will begin with a visit to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned from 1964 to 1982. The excursion will be made by ferry boat and will include a prison tour and an opportunity to speak with a former political prisoner. After lunch, we will meet with Christo Brand, who served as Nelson Mandela's "warder" (guard) for more than a decade and ultimately became a close friend of Mr. Mandela. When meeting with Christo Brand, we will discuss his personal transformation as well as the wider transformation of South Africa from a state of unrest and apartheid to a state of peace and reconciliation. During the field class, we'll also explore techniques for practicing forgiveness and reconciliation in daily life.
- Learn about apartheid and contemporary race relations in South Africa
- Examine the psychology of forgiveness and reconciliation using South Africa as a case study
- Apply insights about forgiveness and reconciliation to domains other than apartheid and race relations