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.

Search for DOC Opportunities Today!

Summer 1

Honors Storytelling, Landscape, and Contested Identities: Ireland and Northern Ireland

Join us for a trip through lush glens and along the rugged coastline of Ireland, North and South. With stays in urban Dublin, Derry, and Belfast, and excursions to the Hill of Tara, the Antrim Coast, and Donegal areas where Gaelic is still a first language, we will witness—through visual art, music, poetry, story and even political testimony—how the primary cultural, social and political life of this island is bound up in the esteemed position of the Storyteller.

Led by Honors Professor of the Practice Michael Patrick MacDonald, 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. 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.


Empires and Borderlands: Germany, Belarus, Latvia, & Russia

This Dialogue will take you on a journey to understand the cultural and economic dimensions of the dramatic political changes that have taken place in the eastern part of Europe over the last several hundred years. What has it been like to live and work in these volatile regions that experienced rule under different states, through the expansion and collapse of European and Russian Empires in the 18th-20th centuries, and through the rise and fall of the Soviet Union in the 20th century? We will examine the problems and opportunities encountered by people in these empires and borderlands, and study the dynamic processes of economic transformation and transculturation associated with political change. In particular, we will learn about the business challenges and opportunities arising from the technological and cultural exchange between empires and borderlands, and focus on how various countries and societies dealt with the difficult transition from planned economies to capitalism. The overall goal of this Dialogue is to understand better what people gained and lost when the fences and walls came tumbling down in Berlin, Minsk, Riga, Saint Petersburg and Moscow.


Summer 2

Happiness and Sustainability in the Nordics: Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Norway and Iceland

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 in the happiest place on Earth: 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. Our journey includes Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Norway and Iceland, where we will investigate the various ways by which companies and policymakers work to enable happiness while building a sustainable future.

 

 

The Camino Del Santiago

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.