Sunday, April 22, 2007


The Honors Program is excited to offer its fifth annual summer study abroad program in Rome. This seminar will explore the history of the city through the art and architectural patronage of its most famous noble families.

Power and Privilege
In ancient Rome power and privilege was bestowed on those who were descendants of the ruling families. And, with that power, the ancient Romans built an empire (veni, vidi, vici — I came, I saw, I conquered) stretching from Syria to Spain and from France to the Sahara and ruled the western world. Ancient Roman civilization left its mark on modern language, engineering and architecture, the 12-month, 365-day calendar, et cetera (yes, Roman/Latin). Today, of course, empire-building is a dirty word, but it is important to study Pax Romana to understand our world. To that end, this class will examine the roots of that power and privilege in Italy from ancient to modern times. What are the symbols of today’s power and privilege in Rome? Can someone still be born to power and privilege? How does the industrialized Italy in the north differ from the more agricultural italy of the south? Can power and privilege be bought? Is it represented in Italian products such as exotic and outrageously expensive fast cars, food, art or fashion? Or, is there simply power and privilege in appearance, in beauty, in a country where bella figura means everything?

The seminar will be based at the UW Rome Center, housed in the 17th century Palazzo Pio in the heart of historic Rome - the Campo de’ Fiori. This piazza is an open-air fruit and vegetable market by day and a gathering place by night. The Rome Center provides classroom space, computer lab, library, and logistical assistance.

The Families Who Made Rome, 10 credits
Instructors: Lisa Schultz, Shawn Wong

In this course students will study the art and architecture, palaces and piazzas produced by the powerful Roman papal families who changed the face of the city during the 14th through17th centuries. Rome was not built in a day. To the contrary, it is distinguished among cities as a place of layers, of memories, of overlappings, and occasionally of dramatic cancellations. In some ways the focus of our seminar is really the city itself – how it has been transformed, exploited, and embellished by successive generations. Students will learn to “read” the city for what it can tell us about its own past.

In addition, students will “read” Rome in the writings of authors such as D.H. Lawrence, Henry James, and Edith Wharton. Rome has always been a powerful symbol, not only during its rise as an empire but also in the 20th century in terms of literature, culture, and history. It is a city of contradictions—acting as the center of Roman Catholicism and pre-Christian paganism, of immense beauty and infamous ruin, and of opulent antiquity and contemporary extravagance. Few cities in the world can provide students with such an inspiring and memorable landscape to work from.

Students will take an active role in presenting key monuments to the class based on advance research begun in Seattle and will work on “reading and writing” Rome.

Communicating in Italian, 3 credits
ItaliaIdea Language School
Students will be encouraged to utilize the Italian language while in Rome. To this end, we will work with one of Rome's most outstanding language schools – ItaliaIdea. Students will participate in an intensive "survival Italian" language class that will familiarize them with idiomatic expressions, the basic rules of grammar and proper pronunciation. They will also learn important cultural skills that will enable them to navigate Rome with confidence.