|by Jim Amidon • February 28, 2003|
Dustin DeNeal presents a report on the amphitheater at Pompeii during an Immersion Learning trip in the spring of 2002
Four classes—about 60 students and eight faculty and staff—will leave this Friday at the start of spring break to extend the Wabash classroom around the globe.
One of the trips features an interdisciplinary approach to studying the politics and economics of the European Union. Professors Melissa Butler and Kay Widdows will take 14 students to Brussels and Strasbourg on a trip that is very similar to a pilot trip two years ago.
For the first half of the semester, the students have been focusing on the basic principles, institutions, and history of the European Union. Once in Europe, the students will have the unique opportunity to talk with EU decision makers, as well as ordinary citizens, about the present and future role of the European Union. When they return to campus, they will create and present individual research papers on topics they studied abroad.
Two classes will be in Britain.
The first, professor Joy Castro’s “Modern Literary Britain” course, explores the production of British fiction from the opening of the 20th century through World War II. The class has studied the disintegration of traditional moral, social, and intellectual values and the development of new, more modern literary forms during that period.
The trip to Britain will allow the students to visit places that influenced writers like Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, and Virginia Woolf. Students will travel to Eastwood, Cambridge, Oxford, Canterbury, and London, and once in London will visit the National Gallery of Art, the British Museum, and the British Library.
Professor Tobey Herzog’s class, studying the novels of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy, will focus on the ways in which places, spaces, and community influenced the Victorian-era writing of the famed British authors.
Students will take walking tours of specific settings that were backdrops for Dickens’ and Hardy’s major novels, including surviving areas of 19th century London and the Wessex countryside. Students will tour galleries, museums, and conduct research at the British Library.
The final Immersion Learning trip will be led by professors Bob Royalty and John Aden. It’s called “Ancient Cities, Ancient Christians, and Cyberspace,” and focuses on Christianity in Asia, particularly Ephesus, and early Christian figures like St. Paul, St. John of the Apocalypse, and St. Ignatius.
Sixteen students, the professors, and two chroniclers, will leave Friday for the Middle East, specifically western Turkey. While visiting these ancient sites, students will conduct research and collect digital images and digital video for use in developing a virtual archive of early Christian writers and their communities.
They plan to visit Selcuk, Izmir, Ephesus, Philadelphia, Bergama, Pergamon, Troy, Istanbul, and a half dozen points in between.
Adding to the students’ excitement is the obvious political tension in the region. It’s helpful to know that the head of the American consulate in Istanbul is none other than David Arnett, a Wabash alumnus, who will be meeting with the students on the back end of their journey.
It is our hope to provide regular—we hope daily—updates on the Wabash web site with journal entries and photos as the students make their way up and down the coast of western Turkey.
Wabash students are fortunate that faculty and administrators had the vision to create these opportunities for deeper teaching and learning experiences when the strategic plan was created. Trips to the source of their studies provide for Wabash students unprecedented occasions to broaden their knowledge and understand more fully the complexities of the world.