A Clash of Cultures
East Meets West traces the development and interaction of Western culture and two non-Western cultures from antiquity through the twenty-first century. Students take as a case study the Balkan peninsula, which Samuel Huntington calls a “fault line of civilizations”.
As the twenty-first century unfolds, we have been forced by its tragic events to ask how the Euro-American West, the Greek and Russian East, and the largely Arab Middle East have grown so far apart politically, economically, and religiously, and how people from different civilizations might understand one another.
A Challenging Curriculum
Students in East Meets West trace the roots of these deep cultural differences from their ancient origins up to the present. Students are equipped not only to put today’s headlines in context but also to think more sensitively about cross-cultural encounters more generally.
East Meets West takes place across a student’s first year. The bulk of the work occurs in the spring semester, preparing students for what they will encounter first-hand in May; in May the course shifts to the Balkan peninsula, where students experience the cultures they have been studying in Budapest, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Venice and other key sites.
East Meets West features a team of expert and experienced faculty.
Prof. Meic Pearse, East Meets West’s founder and director, holds a D.Phil. in ecclesiastical history from Oxford University. Prof. Pearse has extensive experience in eastern Europe, serving since 1995 as an adjunct professor of church history at Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek, Croatia. He is best known for his accessible and incisive works of cultural history and analysis, Why the Rest Hates the West and The Gods of War.
Collaborating with Prof. Pearse are Prof. Peter Meilaender, a political theorist whose work focuses especially on questions of immigration and citizenship, and Prof. Stephen Woolsey, a scholar of American and European literature who has cultivated a particular expertise in Balkans literature.
Prof. Pearse leads the Mayterm trip through the Balkans, where his close knowledge of the region and his extensive network of contacts in key Christian ministries create a rich educational experience.