Dante Abroad by Dante Alighieri Siena
Study Italian in Italy - Authentic Italian experience

In our Study Abroad Program students are encouraged to fully take advantage of their stay in Italy. Learn Italian not only in the classroom but through your everyday life in Siena. Our on-site lectures, academic excursions, visits to museums, field trips, hands-on cooking classes and internships will surely broaden your learning experience. Culture courses and seminars are taught in English so you can fully understand subjects we cover such as: Art history and Architecture, Italian History, Performing Arts, Literature, Anthropology, Economy, Health and Nutrition amongst others.

Anthropology - Department of Anthropology

Upper division programs - 45 hours in 8 weeks

Contemporary societies are increasingly giving more importance to social service, volunteering and care of the weakest. It also seems that this is a trend that only recently emerged in the western world in the light of recent demands for assistance and integration to the poorest sections affected by the economic crisis. Few people know that, in fact, voluntary associations, although with different forms and with different roles, had clearly defined tasks since the Middle Ages. These associations, with a more or less religious nature, not only were an integral part of Sienese society but some of them are still active in Siena even if they have changed operation systems and objectives. To trace their history is to study the history of an entire community and analyze the changes and socio-economic and anthropological phenomena.

Studying the events related to the folklore of a community and a people is one of the most interesting ways to retrace the history and the cultural, social and economic phenomena that such events reveal in a more or less evident way. Certainly in order to address this study it is necessary to distinguish between civil and religious traditions as well as between more or less recent celebratory events and those where passion is still alive beyond spectacularity. We are certain that there is no better city than Siena in Italy in which to analyze these issues more specifically. The Palio, this famous horse race held twice a year, and the "contrade" are not a way to attract tourists nor just a historic celebration of the Sienese Republic, in fact, they constitute the very life of Siena.

Ambrogio Donini the great scholar of religions wrote in his famous essay, "history of religions is one of the richest and most captivating aspects of teaching, under which the very history of society is seen". Agreeing fully with this statement, the course aims not only to briefly overview the birth and the expansion of the major religions in Italy and around the world but also to analyze how these were overlapped, sometimes for centuries, in the same area. Siena is well suited for this investigation because here Paganism and Christianity are alternated in their various stages, which, however, coexisted with even more ancient magic rituals and superstitions. In this context, the presence is linked, historically and culturally ascertained, to the Jewish community, through significant stages of integration with others of exclusion if not of persecution. To analyze this microcosm from this perspective also means questioning the contemporary situation of coexistence of different creeds and religions. In this perspective, the course includes meetings with institutional representatives of different religions to better understand what the daily reality is for those who even in a country that certainly has a high Catholic presence, develop thier own personal quest for spirituality.


The city of Siena

The city of Siena

The school

Dante Alighieri, Siena
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