Council-sponsored Fall Break Trips Offer Opportunity to Deepen Understanding of the Humanities

November 20, 2022
Photo by Bailey Sincox

During fall break, dozens of Princeton students were able to enrich and internationalize their coursework as they traveled abroad with University faculty and administrators on trips sponsored by the Humanities Council. Five unique interdisciplinary trips—to Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain—provided undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of their studies, see course materials up close and in person, and strengthen the ties between the humanities and the present moment.

Examining Architecture in Rome

Michael Koortbojian (Art & Archaeology) and Branko Glisic (Civil Engineering) led students to Rome as part of their co-taught course, “Historical Structures: Ancient Architecture’s Materials, Construction and Engineering.” Co-sponsored by a Humanities Council Magic Grant, the class examines historical buildings and structures through the different perspectives of structural engineering and history. Through the course trip, students were able to contextualize historical architectural structures as they viewed them up-close.   

Students in “Historical Structures: Ancient Architecture’s Materials, Construction and Engineering” pose in front of the Roman Forum. Photo courtesy of Branko Glisic

Studying Culture in Context in Greece and Italy

Students who completed the full year of the Humanities Sequence (HUM 216-219) were able to travel on one of two study trips to the Mediterranean. Ahead of the trip, students designed small independent research projects that would be based on collections at specific sites, museums, and libraries.

On a trip to Greece co-sponsored by the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, Yair Mintzker (History), Kathleen Crown, Executive Director of the Humanities Council, and Bailey Sincox (Humanities Council, English) led students around Athens, Nafplio, and ancient cities like Acrocorinth. In museums, archaeological sites, and libraries, students explored the multiple dimensions of the ancient, Byzantine, Roman, medieval, and modern influences that overlap in Greece.

On the way to Dephi, students on the Humanities Sequence study trip in Greece stopped at Hosios Loukas, a Byzantine monastery. Photo by Bailey Sincox

Moulie Vidas (Religion, Judaic Studies) and Carolina Mangone (Art & Archaeology) led a concurrent Humanities Sequence study trip to Italy. Students spent most of the week in Rome, touring ancient sites like the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, as well as seeing major works of the Renaissance like the Sistine Chapel. A trip to the Bay of Naples to explore the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum gave students the closest experience possible to visiting an ancient Roman city.

On the Humanities Sequence study trip to Italy, students and faculty visited the Borghese Gallery where they were able to view art and sculpture from famous artists like Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Photo courtesy of Moulie Vidas

Reporting on the Refugee Crisis in Berlin

Deborah Amos (Journalism) led undergraduate students in the “International News: Migration Reporting” class to Berlin, Germany, where they learned first-hand about international reporting at a time of extreme turmoil. Students were able to use lessons from the classroom about the fundamentals of journalism and the history and impact of forced migration to connect in-person with those affected by the global refugee crisis.

Fizzah Arshad ’24 (right), a student in “International News: Migration Reporting,” interviews leaders of the Ahmadiyya Mosque—the oldest in Germany—about the experience of Muslim refugees in Berlin. Photo by Jamie Saxon

Exploring Ancient History in Spain

Graduate students in the Classics seminar “Problems in Ancient History: Obedience: Actualities, Limits, Alternatives,” which was cross-listed by the Humanities Council’s Program in the Ancient World, accompanied Marc Domingo Gygax (Classics) to Spain. The trip took students from Madrid to Toledo to Barcelona, where they visited museums like the Museo Nacional del Prado and Museeu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya and traveled to Segovia Aqueduct and several ancient Roman sites around Spain. 

Graduate students Radka Pallova (History), Pria Jackson (Classics), Lauren Onel (Religion), and Linda McNulty (Classics, Program in the Ancient World) at the Roman aqueduct in Segovia. Photo courtesy of Marc Domingo Gygax
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