The place-based experiential learning sequence in the Global Liberal Studies junior year distinguishes GLS from other degree programs by emphasizing dynamic student engagement with place and space. In the Fall, “City as Text” provides an intensive academic exploration of the city through faculty-led critical excursions to streetscapes, markets, industrial zones, artist quarters, and other points of interest, accompanied by selected readings that address theoretical, historical and contemporary perspectives on the character of the city. In the Spring, “Experiential Learning” supports students as they become directly involved in the workplace culture of the city through, internships, volunteer work, or independent research. “Experiential Learning” compliments and contextualizes the community placement by guiding students to reflect on how the experience connects to broader academic interests. Together, “City as Text” and “Experiential Learning” provide a context for understanding the multi-layered aspects of civic identity and prompt students to interrogate their own identity as inhabitants of cities around the world.
City As Text
Abu Dhabi, Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, Madrid, New York, Paris, Tel Aviv, Shanghai
“City as Text” is a rigorous, 4-credit seminar designed to introduce students to the study away environment through an intensive academic program of cultural preparation and local immersion. Through scholarly and journalistic readings from interdisciplinary perspectives, students develop a nuanced understanding of the local, regional, national, and global forces that bring shape to the character of the city. Multiple class sessions take place in locations around the city, such as ports, markets, industrial centers, parks, pedestrian zones, and other points of interest, where students apply direct observation to examine critically formed questions of place, space and identity. Students draw on the city as a primary resource for academic research and critical inquiry and they produce innovative research projects (digital or print) that reflect on the city at the crossroads of local and global identity.
“Experiential Learning” is a 2-credit, Pass/Fail course that supports students in the Spring semester as they enter the workplace culture of the city through Community Placements which may include, but are not limited to, volunteer work, internships, or in some cases, independent research. Through class meetings, reflective writing, and individual conferences, faculty guide students to define an independent research project that grows out of the workplace experience, and which reflects a nuanced understanding of how the workplace culture relates to the social and cultural milieu of the city.