Fellow travelers will read extracts from journals, diaries and books by 19th and 20th century tourists, explorers and adventurers on the countries we’re visiting. Throughout the semester, we will read how these writers have dealt with issues of difference and compare our reactions to their observations. Selections cover a wide range of readings from accounts by and about 19th century intrepid lady travelers of Britain to Columbus’ first voyage to the New World. A particular emphasis will also be placed on navigation and mapmaking as crucial to exploration. Lectures will include information about authors’ biographies and their historical contexts. Discussions cover the authors’ perspectives as “outsiders” in “strange lands” and their writing styles. Some time in the course will also be given to an understanding of additional topics such as navigating the seas, gender and travel, and imperialistic exploitation. Assigned writings include weekly responses to the readings, personal narratives, and self-reflections about ourselves as an outsiders looking in. The final project is a 4-6 page paper on one country that responds to the key philosophical questions of the course raised by Appiah at the beginning and connecting it to their readings and field lab by the end of the semester.
Field WorkCountry: Morocco
Day: 4 - Saturday, 11 October
Before arriving in Casablanca, we will read Beyond the Veil by Fatima Mernissi, contested by some reviewers who challenge her depictions of male/female uses of public spaces in Islamic culture. To demonstrate the complexity of relations in a big Islamic city, we will observe behaviors among men and women around the center of Casablanca–in upscale and everyday market places, around the University of Hassan II, and in the National Mosque, which has baths and rooms for praying set aside for as many as 5,000 women–and compare our experiences to our impressions of that culture before visiting Morocco. 1. To read Mernissi's text Beyond the Veil about male/female relations in a Muslim society. 2. To visit the Mosque Hassan II, a Souk, and the University of Hassan II with an ethnogaphic focus 3. To dispel some myths about the treatment of females in a Muslim country as progressive as Morocco 4. To talk about what we can and cannot know from a brief ethnographic study 5. To write a 3-4 page letter to Mernissi comparing first-hand experiences of public spaces to her study 6. To ground the paper in Appiah's ethical questions about travel.