|OFF-CAMPUS COURSES|Cuzco, Peru: An Intimate Photographic Journey with Ernesto Bazan Visit blogEthnomusicology in Kerala, Southern India Visit blogExploring the Northeast Visit blogGolden Matrix: Istanbul, Egypt Visit blogHidden Gems of Florida Visit blogNepal, India: Orphanage Volunteer and Teaching Project and Cultural Understanding Visit blogNicaragua: World Service and Cultural Understanding Visit blog Cuzco, Peru: An Intimate Photographic Journey with Ernesto Bazan Visit blog
Students work one-on-one with renowned documentary photographer Ernesto Bazan in a private workshop tailored specifically for them to explore the culturally diverse Cuzco, Peru and its surrounding villages. Each student chooses a theme or story to explore and develop, both photographically and in journal entries, throughout the workshop. Their work and experiences are posted on the web. Students photograph and share the villagers’ daily life and try to capture the ?ow of life. There is also an opportunity work with an orphanage and several schools. Everyone is encouraged to develop their own photographic language and to search for the invisible thread that ties a story together. There are one-on-one editing sessions and group critiques. There is also time to enjoy the music, the culture and the charm of this precious colonial town.Ethnomusicology in Kerala, Southern India Visit blog
Students spend time near Kerala Kalamandalam, a renowned center for traditional performing arts in Kerala. Programs of instruction in music and/or dance, given by master teachers, are individualized for Ross students according to their interests and abilities. Students receive daily intensive, private instruction in either classical dance or music. Situated on the banks of the Nila River, the campus and its surroundings reflect the simple, serene atmosphere that has nurtured these arts for centuries. To better understand the cultural context in which these traditional arts have developed and endured, students also make excursions to nearby temples, wildlife sanctuaries and backwater villages. The group stays at one of the ayurvedic resorts near the university, where students have the opportunity to participate in yoga and other traditional Indian wellness practices.Exploring the Northeast Visit blog
Students go hiking and mountain biking through the towns and nature trails of Long Island’s East End. Excursions are made to such areas as the Walking Dunes, Seal Haul-Out trail, the village of Sag Harbor and the Shinnecock Indian Reservation. Students exercise their bodies while learning the particular history, culture and biology of the area. Mountain biking takes place on the trails of Montauk, East Hampton and Rocky Point, and hiking trips occur in the Sag Harbor historic district and whaling museum, as well as the Shinnecock Reservation. A five-day trip to Southern Vermont offers a guided tour of the Southern Vermont Museum of Natural History with an extensive raptor exhibit (including dioramas and live hawks and owls), as well as skiing and snowboarding the trails of Okemo Mountain.Golden Matrix: Istanbul, Egypt Visit blog
The purpose of this M-term trip is to survey the evolution of world culture through the lens of complex dynamical systems theory. In this view, a matrix of historical nodes are connected by a system of links or routes, along which cultural and trade goods are transmitted, people migrate and armies conquer. We call this system the Golden Matrix. Through scholarly translations and creative contributions, culture diffuses and evolves. The ideas, philosophy, customs, beliefs and cultural wealth of one node, when transmitted along a link, is transformed by an alchemy of language, resources, art and geographical context into a new and more complex form. Over time, hybrids emerge that represent the repository of cultural and scholarly heritage in new forms and that serve as catalysts for the evolution of culture and consciousness.
This is the third installment of three trips exploring the preservation and dissemination of knowledge, commercial and cultural exchange from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley to Greece, then through Byzantium or Baghdad (via al-Andalus, Sicily, and other routes) to Rome and Renaissance Florence. The first trip examined the culture of tolerance and evidence of cultural fusion amongst the three Abrahamic religions in medieval al-Andalus; the second explored the birth of Western philosophy and culture in ancient Greece and the final fluorescence in Renaissance Florence. This trip will address both the role of Byzantium as the link from ancient Greece to Renaissance Florence and the influence of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt in fostering the foundations of Greece’s contribution’s to philosophy, mathematics, science and government. Constantinople, straddling the Asian and European continents on the Bosporus, served as a nexus for cultural, scholarly, commercial and religious exchange. As the socio-political and religious heirs to Rome, the Byzantines spoke Greek and established institutions that produced scholars who were invited to Baghdad by the Islamic caliphs. Eventually, these illustrious scholars would carry the knowledge and philosophy of the ancient Greeks to the Medicis and spawn the establishment of Ficino’s Florentine Academy.
Likewise, Hellenistic Alexandria played a critical role in the preservation of ancient knowledge with the establishment of the Alexandrian library, the largest of its time. Fusing the rich heritage of ancient Egypt’s archaeo-astronomy, medicine and technology with revival of Platonic philosophy, Alexandria was the home of the great Pharos, one of the ancient wonders of the world. From Alexandria, the work of Euclid and the Neoplatonists diffused to the cultures of Greece and Rome. Not only was it the crossroads of commerce between Europe, the Near East and Asia, and with Sicily, the breadbasket to the Roman Empire, but it was also the largest city of its time and the one with the largest Jewish population in the Hellenistic world.
Students will analyze the roles of Alexandria and Byzantium as nodes in the Golden Matrix--preserving and transmitting ancient knowledge, fostering new interpretations and cultural paradigms, and engaging in transcontinental commerce. They will draw connections between these two nodes and those of ancient Egypt, Athens, Rome, Hellenistic Alexandria, Byzantium, the Golden Age of Islam and Renaissance Florence through analysis of economic, religious, political, technological, linguistic, mathematical, scientific, philosophical, artistic and culinary cultural expressions. Through blogs and various media, students will create curricula for public and independent school curricula. The results will be integrated with curricula developed from previous trips having studied al-Andalus, Athens and Florence. The intent of the final product is twofold: first, to nurture understanding of a period of time from the ancients through the Renaissance in the Mediterranean world when there evolved a dynamic of culture, trade, faith and knowledge; and second, to disseminate the global cultural Ross School Spiral Curriculum.Hidden Gems of Florida Visit blog
Students explore two of Florida’s treasures: the everglades and the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary. Working and living alongside a group of resident marine biologists and environmental educators on Big Pine Key, students “dive-into” an experiential learning journey of its reef system. Several research projects and learning service programs focus on understanding human impact issues in this area. After spending time on the shores, students travel to the Florida Everglades where they live in chickee huts on the Seminole Reservation and explore Big Cypress Swamp by boat. Working with resident herpetologists they learn about the ecosystem’s venomous snakes and alligators. Further cultural explorations occur in Key West where a trolley tour introduces students to legends of pirates, stories of Hemmingway and an opportunity to celebrate in the island’s nightly sunset festival.Nepal, India: Orphanage Volunteer and Teaching Project and Cultural Understanding Visit blog
Students work in an orphanage/care house where they assist children in their daily routine and generally act as an older sibling. They help teach the orphans and assist with tuition of general life skills through participating in administrative chores, health education, games, and by drawing and painting with the children. Students also participate in the Nepal Teaching English program at a Nepali school, assisting with creating low-cost teaching materials and organizing health check-ups for students. In addition to visiting local markets, temples, holy sites, students see the Shivapuri National Park with views of the Himalayas, and the Royal Chitwan National Park (home to the Royal tiger, one horned rhino, leopard and much more). An elephant safari allows them to track rhinos and Bengal tigers, and a rafting trip offers views of villages and temples.Nicaragua: World Service and Cultural Understanding Visit blog
Nicaragua is the “Land of Lakes and Volcanoes,” and students explore several of each. They visit smoking Volcan Conception and swim in Apoyo crater lake. A boat ride to Isla de Ometepe offers access to two volcanoes, ancient petroglyphs and white-faced capuchin and howler monkeys. Students tour historical and cultural landmarks including the classic colonial city of Granada and the hundreds of islands in Lago de Nicaragua. They learn about the cultural, historical and environmental issues confronting the Nicaraguan people and devote significant time to service learning projects. Several days are spent visiting the Pacific coastal environment and their turtle hatching beaches.
|ON-CAMPUS COURSES|Acting: An Exploration of Body, Movement and Character DevelopmentDown These Mean (& Dusty) Streets: The Gunfighter and the Gumshoe in American Culture (& Beyond)Fear and the FutureGreatest Films of the Twentieth and Twenty-First CenturyLocal Issues (ESL Course)Meditation: The Path to EnlightenmentRossatouille Visit blogSeeing Art / Interpreting Art / Making Art Acting: An Exploration of Body, Movement and Character Development
Students become acquainted with the process of character development, as explored in many forms of theater, culminating in a presentation of one-act plays and scenes. Workshops and acting exercises are designed to help them become acquainted with what is called "an actor's instrument." By participating in a variety of acting games and exercises as well as improvisation activities, on both an individual and group level, students explore their emotional recall, learn ways to remain relaxed when 'on the spot,' and gain awareness of physical and vocal techniques necessary to develop and sustain a character for performance. A wide variety of texts, both comedic and dramatic, are made available to them to perform before an invited audience.Down These Mean (& Dusty) Streets: The Gunfighter and the Gumshoe in American Culture (& Beyond)
Humphrey Bogart would seem to have little in common with Western star John Wayne beyond their shared Hollywood celebrity status. And yet, both men became identified with a similar type of hero: An isolated figure, cut off from society, from family, who, often begrudgingly, metes out his own form of justice. The Western gunslinger and the hard-boiled detective are ambivalent figures, but they have proven to be quite durable and references to them appear in everything from French and Japanese cinema to Ronald Reagan’s walk (he tried to do it like Wayne). This course looks at these two American archetypes and examines the complex ways they “play out” in literature, film and politics. Students watch films, read stories, wear trench coats and Stetson hats and try to figure out why the cowboy and the detective are still relevant in the 21st century. Along the way, they create some of their own films and stories.Fear and the Future
Through film and literature, students explore how different individuals and societies deal with fear and technological advancement. They discuss and analyze how innate phobias and cultural taboos affect human behavior and manifests in media. Also discussed is how technology may affect mankind and bring about new opportunities and civilizations. Each student is required to read two novels.Greatest Films of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Century
This course explores the most creative contributions to the global film market. It focuses on specific political and social themes including social and moral values, the generation gap, the impact of modernization on global culture, and the Cold War. American films are chosen from the list of Oscar winning and Oscar nominated films as well as Indie films. Some of the international directors are Antonioni, Bergman, Fassbinder, Fellini, Goddard, Hallstrom, Herzog, Kurosawa, Ozu, Tarkovsky, Truffaut and Wenders. Each day, students evaluate and discuss the films. They also write an in-depth research paper on one of the thematic areas and orally present them on the final day of class.Local Issues (ESL Course)
Students improve their English while visiting the Shinnecock Indian Reservation and Quail Hill Farm. They learn what life was like on Long Island thousands of years ago and discover what is being done now to keep the land and food healthy. They learn to cook regional and seasonal foods such as apple pie. Daily experiences are documented on a blog.Meditation: The Path to Enlightenment
This course offers two weeks of deep rest and knowledge through the practice of meditation and Hatha yoga. Students watch films containing the enlightenment theme drawn from the film traditions of global cultures, guest lecturers on new approaches to health and practical techniques for increasing one’s lifespan.Rossatouille Visit blog
Students channel their inner Julia Child (Jamie Oliver) as they cook and complain (blog) their way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. They plan, shop, cook, eat and blog their way through this course. There is plenty of down time for watching food-related films (Julie and Julia, Tom Jones and Chocolat), perusing recipes, eating, shopping at markets, visiting restaurants, more eating, and, of course, even more eating.Seeing Art / Interpreting Art / Making Art
Students visit local artists' studios, art centers and galleries to see original works of art. Engaging in discussions about the meaning intended by the creators of the art they see, students are encouraged to contribute their own responses and interpretations. They also explore a range of creative methods to produce their own works of art. There are workshops in printmaking, painting, life drawing and sculpture. There are also visits to local natural settings, such as the Walking Dunes, and a trip to New York City to visit selected museum and gallery exhibitions.