Legacies of Empires: Power and Diversity in Berlin & Rome

Berlin, Rome, Germany, Italy

Next Offered
Winter 2023
Approximate Dates of Instruction
Application Deadline
Information Session: Wednesday, Oct. 5, 12:30-1:30, PDL C101

You can also watch the June information session recording!

This program interrogates the ongoing legacies of colonialism and imperialism in Europe and the contemporary world. How are the frameworks we use to understand racialized, excluded, and marginalized people born from those legacies? In this program we will evaluate some of the methods individuals and groups use to generate and interpret knowledge about themselves and about others, analyzing the limits inherent in those systems. We will explore these ideas through the lenses of cultural studies, literature, and political activism.

In Berlin, we will look at links between German and Italian colonialist ambitions and the rise of Nazism/Fascism. Through site visits and guest speakers we will explore the struggle in Germany between Holocaust remembrance and honoring the universal human rights that emerged from the Holocaust. We will hear from migrants, immigrants, Romani artists, and those working in the human rights sector—where funding sources are often derived from exploitive practices—and we will explore the contradictions inherent in these systems. In Berlin, we will be joined by Romani artist and activist Vicente Rodriguez Fernandez and connect with the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture.

In Rome, we will explore the ways in which notions of identity and culture impact migrants, immigrants, and Romani people (Europe’s largest minority, commonly and pejoratively known as Gypsies). Using a story-based approach, we will complicate the dominant discourses which generally stereotype Romani people as victims. How do common stories and social media affect EU immigration policies and people crossing the world's deadliest border, the Mediterranean? In a supportive and non-shaming learning community, we will unpack questions about racialized citizenship and discourses of victimhood with the intention of identifying and disentangling ourselves from the intellectual legacies of empire. 
The Legacies of Empires program will provide students with the necessary tools to analyze the challenging contemporary issues (religious and ethnic conflict, migrations, xenophobia, etc.) that we face today. The aim of our work together is to learn to think critically about how we think, and how to frame our actions as meaningful, purposeful, and ethical in the world.

To learn more, check out the recording from our June 8th information session!

  • CHID 471A: Intro to Cultural Studies (5 credits I&S)
  • CHID 471B: Immigrant Literatures from Europe (5 credits I&S)
  • CHID 471 C: Roma Identity, Art, and Activism (5 credits I&S)
Fulfills Requirements
CHID Cultural and Historical Engagement
CHID Ideas in the World
CHID Power & Difference
SSc Credit
Total Program Fees

*Note that the fees stated above do not include some additional costs, including, but not limited to: airfare, Study Abroad Insurance ($1.74/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.