Buon Viaggio, Buon Lavoro!
“Good Travels, Good Work!”
Eighteen Ohio University students will spend Spring Break in Rome, the Eternal City. From the first day, they’ll roam its historic center and periphery, exploring imperial temples and the Colosseum; Christian catacombs, churches, and the Vatican museums; as well as monuments and boulevards from the Fascist era.
“From a young age we are constantly subjected to stories and images from the past, but they always never seem quite real. Actually going to the very place where gladiators fought or Augustus once stood is what excites me about this trip. To witness history in the flesh as opposed to a textbook—that is what is truly exciting.” says student Kendall Markley.
Setting out to immerse themselves in Rome’s remarkable past, these students represent a variety of disciplines that includes Accounting, Art History, Classics and World Religions, Communication Studies, History, and Journalism. Once in Rome, having prepared themselves through readings and discussions, they’ll work to find their own answers to a set of thematic questions:
- How have rulers gone about shaping the city in their own image or beliefs?
- How successful have they been?
- In what ways has local religious devotion been shaped by the city’s history?
- How have choices made in Rome’s historical preservation affected the way we understand the past?
“Of course I’m excited to visit Rome, who wouldn’t be? But what’s really awesome is that I’ll actually know some of the history of the place. My hope is that I’ll be able to appreciate it more than if I were to just dive in with no information. What we’ve learned in class about the history of Rome will make the trip so much more interesting. I feel like I get a privileged look inside what Rome really is,” says student Amy Gregory.
“In terms of being a history major, I am just ecstatic to finally see the city that has occupied so much of my studies—be it the Roman Republic, Empire, Medieval or Renaissance Rome, or even the city under Fascism. Rome’s history is so incredibly complex and inter-fused, one landmark can hold importance for entirely different purposes,” adds Kara Flesher. “As a Political Science major, I’m just glad to have the opportunity to finally(!) leave the country. Politics, even more so than history (though they are incredibly similar fields), is really the study of people. How am I to truly know the world if I’ve never experienced it? This trip gives me the opportunity to be exposed to a completely different culture. Indeed, it shall be an adventure!”
Students in the course will return from their whirlwind tour exactly one week after they left. But they’ll have the rest of the semester to reflect, organize, and transform their discoveries into a final project that responds to one of the core themes. Depending on their major and status, HIST 4536 Eternal Rome: Power and Piety will earn students upper-level credit for the History major, Arts & Sciences Humanities, or General Education Tier 3, as well as an elective for the Law, Justice, & Culture and Museum Studies certificates, and the new Making and Breaking the Law theme.
What may matter most, though, is how one week in the Eternal City can open students up to a lifetime of inquiry into the different and dramatic ways humans choose to live with their past.
In bocca al lupo! ‘In the wolf’s mouth,’ which is to say, Good Luck!
The program is led by Dr. Kevin Uhalde (Department of History) with the support of Frances Weiner (IEP at Ohio University) and the Office of Education Abroad. It has been developed as an experiential learning opportunity throughout the College of Arts & Sciences Themes initiative.
Other short-term study abroad and domestic travel programs include Human Rights, Law & Justice in Northern Ireland (Anth 4620) led by Dr. Haley Duschinski, and On the Road to Utopia (CLWR 3600X and POLS 4901) led by Jaclyn Maxwell and Dr. Kathleen Sullivan.