AIFS Partnership Programs: Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs

Northern California Study Abroad Consortium

Northern California Study Abroad Consortium
not your school?

Florence, Italy

Spring 2019

Courses

Academic program offered through the NCSAC community colleges. All classes are transfer-level and/or meet CSU/UC Requirements.

Santa Rosa Junior College

Biology 12: Basic Concepts of Ecology
3 Units
Pre-requisite: None
The study of ecology and conservation is particularly timely, as the many threats to Earth's ecosystems have tremendous implications both locally and globally.  My approach for teaching this course in Florence will be to show how basic ecological principles are applicable all over the world, while comparing and contrasting environmental issues in Italy and the United States. Topics include human population growth, the biodiversity crisis, and the environmental impacts of the wine industry and tourism (including pollution and habitat loss).  We'll explore the ecology associated with the Mediterranean climate, discuss the national park systems of Italy and the U.S., and compare efforts by the U.S. and Europe to address climate change.

Biology 13: Human Biology
3 Units
Pre-requisite: None
Gabriele Falloppio, Camillo Golgi, Filippo Pacini, Enrico Sertoli, Bartolomeo Eustachi… Do you know which structure in your body is named for each of these Italian scientists?  You will, after taking Human Biology in Florence! Italian Renaissance natural philosophers were among the first to scientifically examine human biology, and Leonardo da Vinci grew up in Florence.  The most famous Renaissance man in the world is well known for his anatomical illustrations, in addition to his paintings and inventions.  He will provide a focal point for this course, in the context of the scientific process: what he got right, and what we now know to be incorrect.  For example, he made one of the earliest drawings of a fetus in utero, which can be compared to modern ultrasound images.  Topics include cellular biology, genetics, anatomy and physiology, reproduction, evolution, and human impacts on the environment.  We'll visit La Specola, the oldest public museum in Europe, to see the most extensive collection of anatomical wax models in the world.  We'll also compare the American and Italian food pyramids to inform our discussion of atherosclerosis (first defined by da Vinci!), which is among the leading causes of death in both the U.S. and Italy.

Biology 14: Current Issues in Biology
3 Units
Pre-requisite: None
This course is designed to introduce non-majors to the basic principles of biology, using topics from ecology, evolution, anatomy, physiology, genetics, molecular and cell biology.  We'll study all these in the context of current issues in modern biology, as they apply to both Italy and the U.S.  My goal is to capture your interest so much that you realize you love biology!  For instance, who wouldn't want to see Galileo's middle finger enshrined in a bell jar at his namesake museum? 

Topics include epidemics/pandemics and vaccination (Florence was Plague central!); the science and politics of IVF and stem cell research; evolution and its role in educational policy; and climate change, habitat loss, and the biodiversity crisis.


Contra Costa Community College District

ENG 126: Critical Thinking: The Shaping of Meaning in Language
3 Units

Pre-requisite: ENG 122 or equivalent (first semester transfer level composition and reading course)
This course will focus on the development of logical reasoning, analysis of primarily expository and persuasive texts, and analytical and argumentative writing skills. It is designed to develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills beyond the level expected in ENGL-122. This course will concentrate on how expository texts make their arguments as demonstrated through higher levels of critical thinking such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. In Florence, we will be taking note of the current political climate, the shift toward conservatism that began in spring 2018 when radical anti-establishment and anti-European political parties dominated the Italian election. A year later, we will take a look at the nature of Italians and Italian politics as well as upshot of that election as well as Italy’s political past—and in so doing, look to both our American past and future. What can both cultures learn from each other?

ENG 150: Introduction to Literature
3 Units

Pre-requisite: None
This course will focus on representative works from the four major genres of literature (poetry, drama, the short story, and the novel). This course will teach students to recognize the distinguishing elements of each literary form and develop competency in the methods used to analyze all literature. The choice of texts in Florence will not only reflect the historical development of these genres but to highlight how Italy and Florence have shaped literature and inspired writers, dramatists, and poets for millennia. After studying the elements of each genre by reading many writers from the US and the world, we will bear down on Italy and Florence specifically. After dipping into Dante, Petrarch, and other Italian classics, we will turn to those the masters influenced: Shakespeare, Rilke, Forster. And then we will move forward to Italy as muse in the contemporary era, reading contemporary writers who come from or use Italy as inspiration and backdrop.

ENG 170: World Mythology
3 Units

Pre-requisite: None
This course explores myth as a vital part of human experience, individual and collective, past and present. Myths from a wide range of cultures (including Native American, African, Asian, Middle Eastern and European) are examined. Myths in folklore, ritual, literature and the arts are compared with regard to their thematic content and the beliefs and values they reflect. In Florence, we will take a long pause to read myths centered in Italy, taking the journey from Troy to Rome, reading Virgil, whose poem The Aeneid describes Aeneas’ journey from the battles detailed in The Iliad. Then we will follow the Roman tradition up the Appian Way into Europe, where the Roman belief system and culture touched all the local stories.


Los Rios Community College District

HIST 302: History of Western Civilization
3 Units
Pre-requisite: None
This course examines Western civilizations from the Renaissance to the present. Could there be a better location from which to examine Western civilizations – beginning with the Renaissance – than Florence, Italy? The cultural sites alone (such as the Duomo, the David, and too many artistic works to list) are all located in the city in which we will be studying and living. Moreover, museums like the Uffizi and Bargello offer convenient field trip sites as well. Of course, History 302 moves from the Renaissance to the present day, so – alongside the general survey of Western civilizations -- this course will be punctuated by examples of how Florence adapted to European and global changes after the Renaissance. For example, many flagship Renaissance buildings were repurposed to meet the ever-changing needs of Florentines. Enrichment opportunities also abound for students to travel short distances to places such as the University of Bologna, the first university in the western world.

HIST 310: History of the United States to 1877
3 Units
Pre-requisite: None
This course examines US history from pre-Columbian times to Reconstruction. Most students educated in the United States have taken US history three times in their K-12 education. However, this education did not always place the US within a comparative global context. Alongside appropriate readings with a comparative focus, studying History 310 in Florence will allow for a different way of questioning and comparing the past. This course incorporates important and provocative questions about how the US became a nation and how different people used and experienced race, nationalism, gender roles, wealth (and the lack of wealth), politics, war, and the environment. With Florence as our home base, we will look back and forth between the US and Italian experiences of the same themes, thus building a more nuanced (and less "natural") understanding of US history.

HIST 311: History of the United States from 1865-Present
3 Units
Pre-requisite: None
History 311 surveys the development of American institutions and society from Reconstruction to the present and partially fulfills the American Institutions requirement. Our Italian location enhances History 311 in numerous ways. For example, Italian immigration to the US began to increase at exactly the time when this course begins – the 1870s. Florentine immigration to the US was a complicated "chain migration" process (often including brief stays in Argentina or Peru before settling in the US, a concept that further internationalizes our history curriculum). Students will examine the immigration process and learn firsthand about both the "pushes" and "pulls" that spur people to leave their home country. Moreover, Florence is an ideal location from which to examine important US – and global – themes of the twentieth century, such as nationalism, various forms of capitalism, and world war. As with History 310, the comparative approach will come to life in the setting of Florence. Moreover, potential enrichment trips abound, such as the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial, which is interesting both as an obvious military site as well as a story of complicated histories between two nations that have been both friend and foe… simultaneously, allies and enemies.


San Mateo County Community College District

ART 204: Drawing I 
3 Units
Pre-requisite: None
The use of drawing as a means of increasing visual awareness through the exploration of the creative process: observation, discovery, examination, interpretation and response. Introduction to the principles and practices of drawing, employing a wide range of subject matter and drawing media.

ART 205: Drawing II
3 Units
Pre-requisite: ART 204
An intermediate level drawing course in which students build on skills and knowledge learned in Drawing I. Emphasis is on drawing as a means of visual awareness and communication. Media include graphite, charcoal, conté crayon, pen & ink and chalk pastels.

ART 124: Old Masters' Aesthetics and Techniques
3 Units
Pre-requisite: None
Art history and art studio classes are combined to introduce the aesthetics, materials and techniques of the Renaissance and Baroque periods and their relationship to their cultural and historical context. Historical topics will include the development of narrative and illusionistic painting in relationship to Humanism during the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. Major masterpieces will be used to illustrate aesthetics, while lectures and lab work will instruct students in painting techniques, including fresco, egg tempera, and traditional oils. A materials fee in the amount shown in the Schedule of Classes is payable upon registration.