Honors Dialogues of Civilizations
What Is a Dialogue of Civilizations?
Dialogues of Civilizations (DOCs) are short-term (4- to 6- week) faculty-designed and led programs that promote global engagement through an academic experience that integrates coursework, international travel, and cultural immersion. And, in the process, students earn credits for completing two 4-hour courses.
While Honors students can select from any of the 75+ Dialogues of Civilizations offered by Northeastern, every summer the University Honors Program offers its own exclusive set of Dialogues.
Honors Dialogues are characterized by three elements:
- each is led by an Honors faculty member who eagerly shares his or her particular area of scholarship and expertise with students
- each Honors DOC is designed around a particular theme or issue— and the international destinations that students travel to, and the people they are introduced to (e.g., guest lecturers, guides, Northeastern alumni), are carefully selected to bring these themes to life
- each Honors DOC takes a rigorous, interdisciplinary approach to learning and includes an Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar (HONR 3309) as its cornerstone.
Honors students who successfully participate in an Honors-specific Dialogue of Civilizations will receive two (2) Honors courses towards their requirements for Honors Distinction.
Climate Science, Engineering, and Policy in Tanzania
Prof. Auroop Ganguly, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, COE
From the Olduvai Gorge which contains the earliest evidence of the existence of the ancestors of our human species, to the breathtaking wildlife and diverse ecosystems of the Serengeti and the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, all the way to the ancient wisdom of the Masai, the hustle and bustle of the coastal city of Dar es Salaam which originally sprung from a small fishing village, and the quaint and historic island of Zanzibar, Tanzania is a land of dreams and perhaps the original Eden of all humankind. Unfortunately, however, modern Tanzania, with her diverse human population and unique combination of flora and fauna, is also disproportionately experiencing the adverse effects of climate change. This Climate Dialogue in Tanzania will take us on a fascinating journey to understand, appreciate, empathize, care about, and learn from the challenges and opportunities.
Storytelling, Landscape, and Contested Identities in the North of Ireland
Michael Patrick MacDonald, Honors Professor of the Practice
This Dialogue will look at the role of storytelling in both the landscape and the contested identities of “Northern Ireland,” in particular. The dialogue will be informed by an understanding of the social, political, and geographic history of Ireland and the role of story in establishing political and social worldviews in a colonized country. Students will read and write about, and discuss the social, political, and geographic history of the island of Ireland, North and South, with an eye on colonization, trauma, and recovery, and the role of storytelling as a way to make sense of one’s world, to connect with one another and to the bigger picture, as well as its role in asserting pride and resistance or power and dominance.
Italy: 2000 Years of Innovation and Inspiration
Prof. Carey Rappaport, Electrical and Computer Engineering, COE
Dr. Jonna Iacono, Director, University Scholars Program
There is an old saying that “All roads lead to Rome.” The saying is both a material fact – about an imperial infrastructure designed and built to lead towards Rome – and an important metaphor – about how many Western cultures and people have looked to the innovations of Rome and Italy more broadly as a source of inspiration on their own journeys into becoming.
In these two courses, we’ll contemplate both the fact and the metaphor. In one course, focused on engineering, we’ll explore Italian technological innovation in science and engineering. From Roman aqueduct design, to Renaissance construction techniques, to present day gravitational-wave sensing, we will examine with a critical eye Italian scientific contributions and place them in their historical context. A particular focus will be on the constantly evolving ways of looking skyward, from imperial sun dials, to the first telescopes, to 21st century satellite communication. And, in the other, focused on literature and culture, we’ll analyze consider the ways that visitors to Italy, some of America’s leading writers and thinkers, have seen what we will be seeing and used Italian inspiration to reinvent themselves and create new ideas about race, class, gender, sexuality, and what it means to be American. Using these artists as guides, we’ll consider how we travel and why, producing our own travel narratives along the way.
Novel Antibiotic Discovery and Landscape Photography in Chile
Prof. Veronica Godoy-Carter, Biology, COS
This Dialogue will cultivate two ways of seeing and pursue two fields of endeavor for which the extreme environment of the Atacama is uniquely suited: microbial sampling and landscape photography. The world’s oldest and driest desert on earth offer the chance to sample novel bacteria, enhancing our knowledge of bacterial diversity, plant associated bacteria (whenever plants are found) that could potentially aid plant growth in dry and salty environments, and potentially the discovery of new antibiotics. Samples will be analyzed using molecular methods. In parallel students will learn how to view and capture the otherworldly landscape on film. San Pedro de Atacama has some of the most beautiful and unusual settings in the world, as well as unparalleled views of the stars. Students will learn to see their surroundings anew at both the micro and the macro scale.
Happiness and Sustainability in the Nordics: Business & Socioeconomic Perspectives
Professor Yakov Bart, Marketing, DMSB
The US Declaration of Independence affirms that every person has the right to “the pursuit of happiness,” and many other countries monitor their citizens’ happiness as a key parameter for progress. At the same time, sustainability has often been framed as implying a way of life that could compromise freedom of choice and constrain individual consumption and lifestyles. This notion suggests that sustainable living and happiness are inherently incompatible: since people want sustainable socio-economic environments for themselves and future generations, but at the same time do not want to compromise their quality of life, they face a difficult choice. How individuals, businesses and societies may approach this dilemma is the focus of this Dialogue.
In our first course, we will explore the complex relationships between traditional business, economic and societal indicators, and measures of subjective well-being in order to improve our understanding what makes people, organizations and societies happy and productive. The second course will introduce you to the relevant economic frameworks, social science concepts, underlying business trade-offs and case-based insights on how leading companies and public organizations can create and implement sustainable development strategies that harness new opportunities and create greater value to their stakeholders, while meeting multiple challenges of our time.
This Dialogue offers you an opportunity to study these fundamental issues in the happiest region on Earth: Northern Europe. When international surveys ask people how happy they are with their daily lives and personal circumstances, Denmark always comes in among the world’s top three happiest countries. At the same time, Denmark is an established leader in sustainable development with world-class green energy production systems and industry leaders working to drive the global transition to a sustainable and resource-efficient society.
Happiness and Sustainability in the Nordics: Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Norway and Iceland
Professor Yakov Bart, DMSB
The US Declaration of Independence affirms that every person has the right to “the pursuit of happiness,” and many other countries are monitoring the happiness of their citizens as a key parameter for progress. At the same time, sustainability has often been framed as implying a way of life that could compromise freedom of choice and constrain individual lifestyles. This notion implies that sustainable living and happiness are inherently incompatible: since people want healthy and safe environments for themselves and future generations, but at the same time do not want to compromise their quality of life, they face a difficult choice. How to resolve this dilemma? This Dialogue offers you an opportunity to explore this fundamental question by focusing on Northern Europe. While no Scandinavian country has ever appeared outside the top ten in the World Happiness Report, and many lead on sustainability measures, not all happy countries are alike. We will investigate the various ways by which companies and policymakers work to enable happiness while building a sustainable future.
Led by Professor Liz Bucar, the Camino Del Santiago Dialogue was designed to have students learn about pilgrimage while simultaneously becoming actual pilgrims. Students completed the last 150 miles/240 km of the popular pilgrimage route in northern Spain known as “the Camino.” They walked for 11 days, spoke to pilgrims, saw relics, attended pilgrim masses, read scholarly articles, journaled, and met daily for class discussions. In the end, students not only learned about the act of pilgrimage, but also about themselves.
Human Rights Communications:
Part 1: Crimes against Humanity
Part 2: Humanity Against Crimes
Offered by Professor Michael Hoppmann, in this Twin-Dialogue, students metaphorically and literally followed the journey from the formative grounds of European fascism (Vienna) and Nazi propaganda and rhetoric (Munich), to modern reasoning (Brussels and Amsterdam) and Human Rights (The Hague). Students will come into close interaction with local experts and scholars on Human Rights, Argumentation, and Rhetoric. They will visit many of the key sites of Human Rights and Communication of the 20th and 21st century. Finally, they will bring some of the landmark trials and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, the International Criminal Court and the Tribunal on Former Yugoslavia to life again, and critically question the reasoning they present.
Storytelling, Landscape, & Contested Identities in the North of Ireland
Join award-winning author and Honors Professor-of-the-Practice, Michael Patrick MacDonald, for a trip through lush glens and along the rugged coastline of Ireland, North and South. This Dialogue will look at the role of storytelling in both the landscape and the contested identities of “Northern Ireland,” in particular. The Dialogue will be informed by an understanding of the social, political and geographic history of Ireland and the role of story in establishing political and social world-views in a colonized country.