How does the web of relationships between humans and their natural, social, and urban environments influence, shape and sometimes determine their lives and livelihoods? The region of Umbria, the celebrated “green heart of Italy,” is the regional birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi, whose influence over the centuries has fostered a distinctive approach to the natural world. This cultural heritage is one of the factors that has made Umbria one of Italy’s most ecologically advanced regions, prioritizing renewable energy, sustainable tourism, and compassion-based farming practices blending tradition and innovation, often in the form of cooperatives.
During our month in Umbria, we will engage with local makers and farmers, academics and artists, learning how the ecological practices of this region might provide new insights and tools for meeting the challenges of a warming planet and the limits of traditional food systems.
This seminar-style course employs three critical practices: experiential learning through visits to local farms and botanical sites; exploring issues of food justice and traditional practices in Italy, (including the Slow Food Movement); and exposing students to a range of readings that deal with problems of various kinds of guiding assumptions that regulate our thinking about our relationships with the natural world.
Students will be provided full room and board in a country house, a 19th-century historic villa located within walking distance from the medieval town of Corciano. We will visit several other locations in Umbria, including Assisi, Perugia, two of the national parks of the region, and explore two of the major and unmissable cities in Italy: Rome and Florence.
CHID 471: History and Human Ecologies in Central Italy (5 credits I&S)
*Note that the fees stated above do not include some additional costs, including, but not limited to: airfare, Study Abroad Insurance ($1.72/day), and personal spending money. These costs will differ by program. Be sure to read our Fees, Financing, and Withdrawal information for details about the fee structure and payment schedule.