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VIA

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Travels and Encounters Through Cultures Across the Globe

Co-Directors: Dr. Emad Mirmotahari, Department of English & Dr. Maureen O'Brien, Department of Theology

Learning

VIA emphasizes the importance of movement in all of its forms and purposes-travel, journeying, exploration, immigration, pilgrimage, exile-to the ways cultures, religious communities, and nations understand themselves and the way in which they make sense of the "other" and the unfamiliar. VIA will also explore the ways in which movement, physical and symbolic, is important to the emergence of cultures and to their transformation over time.

Fall 2017

Travel Narratives (ENGL 116C, crosslisted with WDLI 116C - MWF 10-10:50am), Dr. Emad Mirmotahari, English

The German philosopher Walter Benjamin wrote that the best storytellers are travellers. This course will follow the spirit of his observation and explore the ancient relationship between travel and writing. We will examine travel in its various forms (exploration, exile, immigration), and various types of writing (fiction, memoirs, and historicism). One of the wider objectives of this course is to understand how the intersection of travel and writing shapes the way societies understand different and distant peoples, and how they act toward them. Course texts include Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Cabeza de Vaca's Chronicle of the Narvaez Expedition, Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and Che Guevara's Motorcycle Diaries.

Global & Cultural Perspectives: Journeys and Encounters (UCOR 143C - TR 10:50am-12:05pm), Dr. Maureen O'Brien, Theology

Explore diverse journeys of faith in our world today (maybe including your own!). This course will focus on the ways that contemporary people search for meaning and value. We'll investigate several major religious traditions and how they draw on themes of journey, pilgrimage and encounter with others in their spiritual practices and beliefs. Through community engagement we'll also learn from some of our Pittsburgh neighbors about the impact of journeying across boundaries of different nations, languages and cultures.

Thinking & Writing Across the Curriculum (UCOR 101C - TR 1:40-2:55pm), Marla Anzalone, English