Coexistence and Religion: History, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity in Georgia
Georgia has always been a land of multiple faiths: Judaism, Islam, Christian Orthodoxy, and Paganism have a long and unique history of coexistence. In the three-week course, we’ll begin in Tbilisi at the Georgian-American University where you’ll hear lectures on the role of religious traditions in the history and current life of Georgia, followed by thematic lectures on religious and secular traditions in Georgia. Topics will include: Church music, spiritual art, church and temple architecture, the unique history of Georgian Jews, Islam in Georgia, the persistence of paganistic practices, and the era of Soviet Official Atheism.
During the last two weeks of the trip, the group will travel the length and breadth of Georgia, an alpine country about the size of West Virginia or Ireland. You'll see Tblisi as well as rural villages and everything from medieval monasteries to gorgeous beaches. There are so many sights to see, but we’ll focus on the spiritual sites that are central to the religious history of Georgia (without missing the scrumptious culinary traditions and the stunning natural beauty of this countryside!).
Dr. Michael A. Denner is Professor of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at Stetson University. He's also the editor of the Tolstoy Studies Journal and the director of Stetson's University Honors Program. Like most people who have visited Georgia, Dr. Denner decided it was the coolest place on earth. He currently does field research in Georgia on the topic of climate change and viniculture and viticulture. He's also translating the best cookbook on Georgian cuisine: Lobio, Satsivi, Khachapuri: Georgia with Taste.
Read more about this program at www.SRAS.org/religion.
Security and Society Summer School in Warsaw, Poland
Hosted by Collegium Civitas, located in the very center of Warsaw, this summer school offers a range of courses very pertinent in the world today. Two courses that I think you will find interesting are the following:
Poland once housed a majority of the world's Jews and today, 70 percent of the world's Jews can trace their ancestry back to Poland. This course will examine the triumphs and tragedies of Poland’s Jews and acquaint you with the burgeoning revival of Jewish culture now taking place in democratic Poland. It will also examine the influence of the Polish Jews on American culture and their contribution in forming the Israeli identity. The course will be co-directed by Dr. Maciej Kozlowski, the former Polish ambassador to Israel and Dr. Jolanta Zyndul, Senior Historian at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
Poles Apart: Identity, Diversity, Tolerance
Located at a crossroads between East and West, Poland's geographical position and unusual political setup have historically forged a multitude of ethnic, religious and regional communities, some of which still exist today. This crucible of conflict, where former empires have frequently waged wars, has left a rich landscape infused with the symbolic and physical imprints of struggles over identity, diversity and tolerance. Study the key concepts— prejudice, insider-outsider, diversity, assimilation, collective memory, stereotype, symbolic capital, empathy, tolerance and compromise—that contribute to our understanding of what makes people 'Poles apart'.
Read more about this program at www.SRAS.org/security.