Houghton Balkans Semester

Off Campus Opportunity (16 possible credits)

Director: Meic Pearse

The Balkans Semester is taught in four different locations (Krk, Croatia; Sarajevo, Bosnia; Skopje, Macedonia; Zagreb, Croatia), with short periods of travel in between. Instructors include both Houghton and local professors. The curriculum features living, studying, and traveling together in constant interaction with people from the Catholic, Muslim, and Orthodox worlds.

The Balkans has been called the powder keg of history — and it continues to have a rich and sometimes volatile mix of cultures, faiths, and languages. The in-depth study of this interaction of cultures leaves the student with a richer understanding of each of these societies and of the issues surrounding politics, art, literature, and faith that are raised by cross-cultural pressures. This opportunity will stretch students academically and demand active curiosity and wide and constant reading — tied with solid interactions with local people (including instructors) — to come to a solid understanding of what makes this region (and, by extension, other ‘problem’ areas of the world) tick. Amidst spectacular scenery and dazzling art and architecture, students will come to navigate with knowledge and confidence the cross-currents of these three exciting major cultures.

Course Descriptions

THEL 346 Elements of Catholic, Muslim and Orthodox Theology


An examination of the development of Catholic and Orthodox theology and practices from the early Middle Ages with a particular emphasis upon major figures, and differences between the traditions. An introduction will be given to Islam with particular attention paid to Christian-Muslim interaction from the seventh century through to modern times and to syncretistic folk religion, the dervish, etc. Houghton Balkans Semester Program.

Prerequisite Courses: THEL 209

ART 348 Fine Arts of Southeastern Europe


Art history of Catholic southern Europe and especially of the Venetian Empire, principally painting and architecture. Comparison is made with the art and iconography of Orthodox Europe, especially of Serbia and Macedonia. Some study of Ottoman Muslim art during time in Bosnia. Houghton Balkans Semester Program. Culture: Art.

ENGL 345 Literatures of the Cultures of Central and Southeastern Europe


Introduction to and survey of the literatures of central, eastern and southeastern Europe including samples from Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim cultures. The course will cover a selection of novels, essays, and poetry. Houghton Balkans Semester Program.

HIST 347 The Balkans and Eastern Europe: Early Middle Ages to Present


A survey of the history of Balkan and Eastern European history with special emphasis upon the interactions of Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim cultures; ethnic and religious diversity; the fraught relationship with western Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment ideas; and mutually exclusive nationalist interpretations. Houghton Balkans Semester Program.

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