Program Benefits By Major
Florence is the ideal place to learn about the past and present of Italy and Europe and the Florence curriculum has a strong humanistic core in recognition of the fact that the humanities are central to all fields of study.
As William R. Kenan Professor of English J. Martin Evans states in his defense of the humanities entitled, What Good Are the Humanities? Why they clash with U.S. culture today, and why they matter: “For here, in the middle of an electronic revolution, we humanists are saying to our students: look back for a moment, too; listen to the past. Look out for a moment as well; listen to other cultures. Think not only about where we are going but how we got to be where we are. Let these humanistic materials we are studying do something to you instead of trying to do something to them.” Indeed, focusing on the humanities in Florence will open you up to fields of study not focused on innovation and research but on conserving and understanding what the past has to offer. Studying in Florence means familiarizing with a culture and civilization that will not only make you aware of forces operating in our current societies but will also teach you how to embark on imaginative activities like compassion, respect, and the understanding of otherness. Indeed, as Evans continues, “the humanities direct our attention to the fundamental human experiences, thoughts and feelings that transcend the social, ethnic and religious differences that divide us, they are strengthening the essential fabric of our society.”
In fact, delving into the past will not only help you focus on the similarities but also teach you a real sense of difference as well as the acceptance and recognition of others not as mere reflections of ourselves. Evans concludes by saying that “both kinds of knowledge, the objective knowledge of the sciences and the social sciences and the subjective knowledge of the humanities are necessary if we are to achieve even an approximate understanding of our fellow human beings.”
Studying in Florence is a critical first step towards achieving that understanding and cultural awareness and to becoming a global citizen in the most profound sense of the term.
Excerpts from a talk given by J. Martin Evans, William R. Kenan Professor of English, at the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities:
http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2009/marapr/farm/news/lecture.html - topofpage
Anthropology/Sociology/CSRE/Feminist Studies/STS/Philosophy/Religious Studies/Film StudiesIf you are a major in any of the aforementioned fields, you have a wealth of courses, directed readings and internship options from which to choose in any given quarter. Courses in the social sciences, the arts and the humanities are offered on a regular basis.
A rather popular book entitled, Silicon Valley: 110 Year Renaissance, compares the revolution brought about by information technology to that which perspective introduced in the Renaissance world. In Florence you can learn about the latter in order to understand and contribute to the former. Computer Science majors can also benefit a great deal from a period of time in Florence since awareness of another culture, the development of language skills and a new environment can all inform your understanding of the way technology and humans interact and intersect.
It is very exciting time to be studying Italian and European economics in a country where history is unfolding. As an Economics major studying in Florence, which is also the birthplace of banking as we know it, you can enroll in a variety of courses depending on the quarter(s) you choose. There are classes that grant credit in the major and provide the opportunity to understand the politics and economics of the European Union, the introduction of the Euro, its downfall and the current crisis. There are also internship opportunities in the fields of economics, business and finance.
Florence represents a unique opportunity to study the past, present and future of engineering technology. Engineering majors can attempt to solve some of the many conundrums that the great Renaissance engineers left as their legacy. From a privileged vantage point you will be able to study marvels such as Brunelleschi’s Dome or the Leaning Tower of Pisa (among others), still today considered to be some of the greatest engineering feats of all time. Majors can also take E50 (offered every quarter) and should check our course listings since we often have visiting faculty from the School of Engineering.
In the words of Garry Gold, our on-site faculty member in Winter 2011-2012, “Florence is the home of understanding the human body, human anatomy, and art. It is the perfect place for Hum Bio Majors to spend time overseas.” In fact, human biology majors can study the history of science and see for themselves how anatomy was first conceived and depicted in painting and sculpture. They can also visit the Specola Museum and study highly accurate anatomical wax models, visit some of Italy’s great “operating theaters”, choose from a selection of classes that grant credit in the major, or take an academic internship in a number of related fields.
If your major is Management Science and Engineering or a similar one, you may want to speak with Professor Tom Byers, our visiting faculty member in Fall 2011-2012, who believes that MS&E majors (and others especially in engineering and science) have much to gain by studying in Florence. The classes he taught on entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership examined the connection between Silicon Valley and Italy today as well as the time of the Florentine Renaissance. For example, there is much to learn and to gain by examining how the major elements of Silicon Valley's style and philosophy regarding entrepreneurship compare with the "key success factors" of innovators that lived in the Renaissance.
Product Design/Architecture/Urban Studies
Italy, one of the great capitals of industrial design today, is the ideal place to take an internship and gain hands-on experience in the fields of architecture, fashion, design or even work alongside an artisan. Students can take studio art classes in each quarter and also one of Prof. Verdon’s Urban Studies courses that take students on a discovery of the city’s most important architecture while giving them an understanding of urban planning from the middle ages up to the present day.