Undergraduate Honors

Travel Colloquia

The Dean's Research Travel Colloquium (not offered 2012-13) offers sophomore, junior, and senior honors students a unique opportunity to explore questions, policy issues, and practices specific to their academic disciplines through study and international travel .

Seminar

 The focus of the colloquium is a research project dealing with an aspect of the colloquium's theme and travel destination, and developed and completed under the guidance of the colloquium's faculty leader(s).

Selected students enroll in the Dean's Research Travel Colloquium Seminar (SAHS-UE.3), and meet in 5-6 sessions to learn about your travel destination, explore issues that will inform yourresearch, and develop research proposals under the guidance of Colloquium faculty.

The Seminar may include lectures, discussions, field visits, and cultural activities. In a concluding session(s) after travel, you present the results of your research projects and the relevance of what you have learned to your academic program and emerging professional interests.

Eligibility

Successful candidates for participation in the Dean's Research Travel Colloquium are beginning their sophomore, junior or senior year in September. They have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or better, and present a demonstrated record of leadership and service. 

No student may participate in more than one Dean's Research Travel Colloquium.

Expenses

Honors students are eligible for one subsidized travel seminar while enrolled in the Steinhardt School. Students pay a non-refundable $300 commitment fee.  All other travel-related expenses (roundtrip airfare from New York City to the destination, all ground transport and group activities in the destination country, housing, and some meals) are covered by the Steinhardt School.

How to Apply

Download a Dean's Research Travel Colloquium application and recommendation form. 

NOTE:  these travel colloquia will not be offered in 2012-13.

Topics and Travel Destinations

Fall Semester 2011

Healthy Children, Healthy Families:  A Comparison of U.S. and Brazilian Approaches to Improving the Health of Children in Poverty

Salvador, Brazil, January 9-16, 2012
Dean Beth Weitzman, Professor, Health and Public Policy
Dr. Mitchell H. Rubin, MD, Wagner School, Adjunct Professor of Health Policy

We will first look at how the United States, both currently and historically, has chosen to support families, particularly those in poverty and particularly in regard to the health needs of their children. Using New York City as our first learning laboratory, students will explore the kinds of services and institutions that are intended to help families, particularly those of limited means, provide for their children.  We will then travel to our second learning laboratory, Salvador, Brazil, to help us understand how another country addresses these same issues.  (Brazil provides an interesting case study because recent reforms and economic growth have allowed Brazilians to effectively raise the standard of living and child outcomes for the poorest citizens.)

In Brazil, we will meet with leaders of higher education, health care, and social service organizations to see, first-hand, the kinds of services that have been recently made available to previously unserved and underserved populations.  We will have the opportunity to consider how national decisions about service provision relate to issues of class, race, gender and ideology.

Students will be asked to consider whether lessons learned from the Brazilian experience might be useful in the United States.

Accepted students: Download the Travel Release and Medical Info forms.

Spring Semester 2012

Narratives on Race and Ethnicity: How does media shape individual and societal perceptions of racial and ethnic identity?

Sicily, Italy, March 10-17, 2012
Associate Professor Charlton McIIwain, Media, Culture, and Communication

How do narratives shape racial identity? This colloquium focuses on narrative - the stories that we create and tell that shape how we see others and ourselves.

From the Godfather, to Spike Lee's Brooklyn-based race films of the 1990s to Almamegretta's Italian Hip-Hop, the Italian and Italian American connection with race and racial identity has been the subject of personal and mediated narratives throughout history and popular culture. In this course we travel to the Southern Italian region of Sicily to explore the phenomenon of racial identity and transformation among contemporary Sicilians and Italian Americans.

Students will explore their own stories about racial identity, and learn how to elicit, retell and analyze those stories from others.

By eliciting these stories, we hope to gain insight on a host of issues, including the tension and struggles Italian Americans once faced in trying to trade the stereotypes associated with their ‘racialized' physical features for the race-based privilege and power associated with Whiteness in America; and how Italian, Italian American and African American media producers differently frame the conflict between Italians and African Americans and other people of color in the United States.

Accepted students: Download the Travel Release and Medical Info forms.  

Previous Topics and Destinations

2010-11

Media, Identity and Diaspora: The Sicilian‐American Connection

Sicily, Italy, January 14‐22, 2011
Charlton McIIwain
Associate Professor, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication 

From the Godfather, to Spike Lee's Brooklyn‐based race films of the 1990s to Almamegretta's Italian Hip‐Hop, the Italian‐African‐American connection has been visible in various forms of historical and contemporary mediated expression and popular culture. Professor Charlton McIlwain's colloquium begins in New York City and returns to the Southern Italian region of Sicily. The colloquium utilizes historical and contemporary media of each location - film, art, literature, music and others - to explore the negatively racialized origins of Southern Italians, their immigration to the United States, their struggle for White identity, and their conflict with another of America's dark‐skinned diasporic communities, African Americans.

In what ways were Southern Italians originally racialized (in part) in and through media? How and in what ways have popular media expressed and characterized the tension and struggles Italian Americans faced in trying to trade the stereotypes associated with their racialized physical features in for the race‐based privilege and power associated with Whiteness in America? How have Italian, Italian American and African American media producers differently framed the conflict between Italians and African Americans, especially in urban centers such as New York City, Chicago and others?

These are some of the questions some students will explore and research throughout the colloquium. For others, looking at the mediated landscape of race in the context of the Italian and African Diaspora in America will be a foundation for exploring how contemporary media express, represent, contest and problematize the socio‐political landscape of race, ethnicity and identity within and among more recent diasporic, non‐White communities within the United States.

Music, Culture and Food in the African Diaspora: A Case Study of Musicians

Lima, Peru, January 14‐22, 2011
Gabriel Alegria
Assistant Music Professor, Department Music and Performing Arts Professions 

Final Project:  A Great Day in Lima:  Black and Criollo Music Chronicle

Professor Gabriel Alegría, whose expertise is in Afro‐Peruvian jazz music, will lead colloquium participants through an immersion in Afro‐Peruvian music, culture and food. The gateway to understanding this singular tradition will be the direct study of several of the most important current figures in Afro‐Peruvian music.

The fascinating circumstances of Afro‐Peruvian music, culture and food in contemporary Lima will be the focus of this experience. The musicians selected for study are artists who have and continue to remap "blackness" from the perspective of the "Black Pacific," a marginalized group of African diasporic communities along Latin America's Pacific coast. By shadowing selected artists as they perform in the major "peñas" and theaters in the city of Lima, participants will carefully absorb the sounds and sights of Afro‐Peruvian music and dance. They will experience and taste the fascinating and culturally unique relationship between Afro‐Peruvian cuisine and Afro‐Peruvian cultural expressions. Participants will gain a heightened awareness of music, culture and race relations along the "Black Pacific" as they research and present biographies of specific Afro‐Peruvian artists.

Prior to departure, Professor Alegria will give a historical overview of Afro‐Peruvian music as it parallels the development of the "Black Pacific" perspective, including specific contemporary musicians.

Participants will become familiar with, and then choose one artist to interview and study once in Peru. Work will be done in teams of four students. Students will meet the artist, conduct formal and informal interviews, attend artist performances and, participate in the tradition of the "jarana", where criollo and Afro‐Peruvian musicians gather over food and share in the process of music making and improvisation. Each team of participants will build a template website for their chosen artist as a final project, consolidating their knowledge and making a significant contribution to the life of the artist. In our concluding session, each team of students will present their websites giving an overview of their artist and concluding remarks.

2009-2010

Identities in Context:  Perceptions and Realities

Istanbul, Turkey  January 10-16, 2010
Selcuk Sirin
Professor of Applied Psychology

This colloquium will explore the questions "How is Muslim identity perceived in the US? To what degree does this perception actually reflect the lives of Muslims?" They have chosen as their travel destination Istanbul, one of the most vibrant, cosmopolitan and unique cities in the world; situated at the intersection of European, Asian, and Middle Eastern cultures, Istanbul presents a diverse view of "the Muslim world" that range from jazz bars to folk clubs, from the largest spice bazaar in the world to the largest European mall.

Through the use of surveys or interviews, both in the US and in Turkey, students in the colloquium will systematically gather data on how young people tend to view Muslims. Once they generate their findings, students will verify some of their assumptions with data they will gather through their contacts in Turkey.

Each student in the colloquium will be paired with a Turkish student who attends a college in Turkey and who is interested in the study of identity. Student pairs will then collaborate in the field gathering data from Turkish youth. With this dual data-driven approach, NYU students will gain a deeper understanding of identity as a social construct in general and Muslim identity as a contextual phenomenon in particular.

Additionally, students will be able to develop empirical research skills that will prepare them for their scholarly work in the future. At the end of this process, students will present their findings both in written reports and in oral presentations to the NYU community. It is the goal of the instructors of this colloquium to encourage students to publish their research both in popular and scholarly outlets.

Humans and Nature

Athens, Greece  March 14-21, 2010
Mary Leou
Associate Clinical Professor, Environmental Conservation Education

Climate change, habitat loss, declining biodiversity and pollution are global environmental concerns affecting the well being of the planet. Humans and Nature is the theme for our ecological trip to Greece to explore connections between culture, tradition, and the environment. Under the leadership of Professor Mary Leou, who is also the Director of the NYU Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education, students will learn about environmental issues both here and abroad and consider the vital role that education plays in moving individuals and communities towards sustainable solutions. Greece provides a rich historical landscape to study the challenge of balancing economic development with sustainable practices.

Students will observe first-hand how people connect and relate to nature in their own communities while learning about local ecology, wildlife, and the role of environmental education in school and non-school settings. We will examine sustainable practices that impact on the environment in both urban and rural areas in order to create a portrait of humans and nature. The colloquium will include a community service project, thus actively engaging participants in environmental stewardship. 

2008-09

Germany (1989-2009): Twenty Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Berlin, Germany January 8-15, 2009
Joe Salvatore, Teacher, Educational Theatre

The dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 served as a major symbol of the end of the Cold War and paved the way for the unification of a country that had been divided since 1945. Educational Theater Professor Joe Salvatore will address the ramifications of Germany's very complex reunification process.

Through an exploration of the city of Berlin, students will examine Germany's turbulent social and cultural history over the last century with a particular focus on the last twenty years. Now, as the largest country by population in the EU, Germany represents something of a super power in Europe. Geographically, it is the center of the continent, and for centuries, the borders of this country have been disputed. Since the reunification, the country has experienced relative peace, although other areas of Central and Eastern Europe have suffered.

How has Germany, and specifically Berlin, managed to recover after decades of division and political unrest? Can Germany serve as a model for other countries dealing with political and social upheaval in the 21st century? How have German citizens dealt with their evolving cultural identity over the past twenty years since the fall of the Wall?

Students will visit what remains of the Berlin Wall and visit Checkpoint Charlie. Given domestic issues around immigration from Mexico into the United States and the current construction of a wall between these two countries, the study of the Berlin Wall can inform discussions about the potential ramifications of division between countries or cultures.

Professor Salvatore has included on the travel agenda the Brandenburg Gate, the new Reichstag, and the Berliner Ensemble. One trip outside of Berlin to a Nazi concentration camp is an important experience that will help to frame the questions surrounding national identity. Finally, the colloquium will provide opportunity for dialogue between NYUSteinhardt students and German university students to discuss national identity. The United States is at a critical juncture around the concept of citizenship; conversation with young people who have grown up in a country undergoing great cultural changes could be valuable and insightful.

Borderlands: Moroccan Culture and History through Food

Morocco January 8-15, 2009 
Gabriella Petrick
Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health

This colloquium focuses these research colloquia on the diverse cultures that have shaped Morocco from the 16th-21st century. As a site of trade and invasion, Morocco has an extremely diverse ethnic community. By looking at Imperial Cities and the markets in cities around the country, students will use food as a lens to understand Moroccan history and culture. They will use Paula Wolfert's Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco as a guide to the regional and ethnic diversity of Moroccan cuisine in addition to short weekly readings.

Each student will do a research project on Moroccan culture through a food product or recipe. Students will keep a flavor journal during the travel experience, reflecting on the taste and cultural context of their eating experiences. This will augment their historical research by giving them a sensorial as well as an intellectual understanding of another culture, and a way to reference their experience as they complete their research papers.

The colloquium will travel to several Moroccan cities, to see how foods are used and produced in situ. Visits to markets and farms, and lectures and discussions with anthropologists on the faculty at the Al Akhawayn University illuminate the culture and society that is Moroccan. The experience may also include an archeological site visit to better understand how the objects of every day life can help to understand distant cultures, as well as how those legacies are manifest in current social systems and customs.

Students will have an opportunity to taste the foods they have been researching to better understand how a food can hold meaning and how different it is from a recipe printed in a cookbook. Each of these experiences will help student understand the legacy of Islam, Christianity, trade empires, colonialism, the dynamics of and resistance to change, and the challenges of independence and globalization.

Identities in Context: Perceptions and Realities

Istanbul, Turkey March 16-21, 2009
Selcuk Sirin, Associate Professor, Applied Psychology
Carola Suarez-Orozco Professor, Applied Psychology and co-Director of Immigration Studies at NYU

This colloquium will explore the questions "How is Muslim identity perceived in the US? To what degree does this perception actually reflect the lives of Muslims?" They have chosen as their travel destination Istanbul, one of the most vibrant, cosmopolitan and unique cities in the world; situated at the intersection of European, Asian, and Middle Eastern cultures, Istanbul presents a diverse view of "the Muslim world" that range from jazz bars to folk clubs, from the largest spice bazaar in the world to the largest European mall. 

Through the use of surveys or interviews, both in the US and in Turkey, students in the colloquium will systematically gather data on how young people tend to view Muslims. Once they generate their findings, students will verify some of their assumptions with data they will gather through their contacts in Turkey. Each student in the colloquium will be paired with a Turkish student who attends a college in Turkey and who is interested in the study of identity. Student pairs will then collaborate in the field gathering data from Turkish youth.

With this dual data-driven approach, NYUSteinhardt students will gain a deeper understanding of identity as a social construct in general and Muslim identity as a contextual phenomenon in particular. Additionally, students will be able to develop empirical research skills that will prepare them for their scholarly work in the future. At the end of this process, students will present their findings both in written reports and in oral presentations to the NYU community. It is the goal of the instructors of this colloquium to encourage students to publish their research both in popular and scholarly outlets.