Liberal Arts In Focus

Liberal Arts In Focus courses, offered for three weeks each August and May, help students to explore a variety of topics in a total immersion experience that deepens their academic study and creative work, strengthens their foundation for graduate and professional study, and provides valuable experience for work in every sector of the economy.

Liberal Arts In Focus Courses from 2017

History, Culture, and the Politics of Development in Francophone Africa
History, Culture, and the Politics of Development in Francophone Africa (three credits)

Jean-Blaise Samou, professor of Global Studies

Offered in partnership with the “Middlebury College C.V. Starr School Abroad in Cameroon”, this three weeks In Focus course will provide an overview and immersion into of the history, culture, languages and the politics of development in French-speaking Africa. It allows students to step on the African continent and experience daily life in a multicultural and multilingual society. The first part of the course takes place on the Ripon College campus and consists of an intensive introduction to Cameroon and Africa through lectures, film screenings, discussions, and research. Drawing on multidisciplinary perspectives and sources – history, culture, geo-strategy, politics, and the media, the course enables students to analyze, criticize and debunk the stereotypical myths associated with the African continent in Western imagination. Through the study of the continuing relationships between France and her former African colonies, students will learn how cultural differences, tampering with foreign affairs, international oppression and dominance have formed and continue to impact contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa. During these introductory meetings, students define a specific photo-essay project to conduct while abroad. The second part of the course unfolds as an experiential trip to Cameroon where students will discover the realities behind the stereotypical images of Africa. Participants stay both in hotels and with host families with whom they are able to practice their language skills, deepen their understanding of the local culture, and further explore the politics of development as well as economic opportunities offered by Francophone African countries. Assessments will consist of two tests, a daily journal (photo-essay), and one final paper (personal project). Cross-listed as Anthropology 200.01, French 300.01, Global Studies 200.01, History 200.02, and Politics & Government 200.02

Topics: Old Italy, New Italy (three credits)

Topics: Old Italy, New Italy (three credits)
President Zach Messitte, professor of politics and government, and Diane Mockridge, professor of history

This provides an intensive overview of Italian history, politics, culture and language. Students will spend the first week of the course on Ripon’s campus where they will have lectures, discussions, film screenings, basic language instruction and a special Wisconsin-Italian field trip. Students then will spend two weeks in a villa just outside of Rome, Italy, in Due Santi, a historic district south of the city. The class will be team-taught with Mockridge focusing on “old Italy” (ancient Rome, medieval Italy and the Renaissance) and Messitte concentrating on “new” Italy (from the Risorgimento through the present). In addition to two tests and two papers, students will be expected to keep a daily journal while in Italy. Counts toward Global/Cultural Studies requirement. Cross-listed as Classical Studies 200.01, History 200.01, and Politics and Government 200.01


Issues: DDoing Time The Incarceration Experienceoing Time: The Incarceration Experience (three credits)
Jody Roy, professor of Communications

What does it really feel like to “do time”? How does public communication about incarceration compare to the actual experiences of those who have been imprisoned? What can be done to make time served more productive to help prevent recidivism? Students will learn about the experience of incarceration in America through readings, discussion, interaction with corrections officials and former prisoners, and also directly from currently incarcerated men at a medium-security prison. Students will collaborate with each other, prison staff and the prisoners themselves to develop educational/enrichment materials that can be used by those who are incarcerated to productively fill some of the time they are serving. Prerequisites: Prior to May 13, 2017, all students enrolled in the course must pass a Wisconsin Department of Corrections Background Check and complete Wisconsin Department of Corrections Division of Adult Incarceration Volunteer Training (offered free of charge in April; professor will arrange for students to attend the two-hour session.) Listed as Communication 112.01

onn and Berlin Memory, Memorials, Museums
Bonn and Berlin: Memory, Memorials, Museums (three credits)

Lorna Sopcak, professor of German

While the study trip begins in Bonn, Germany’s former capital, and includes an excursion to Leipzig, the heart of the peaceful revolution of 1989, the course focuses primarily on Berlin’s cultural memory (both public and personal). As an historical “text,” Berlin bears the traces of multiple layers of historical events commemorated by plaques, monuments, and memorials. Berlin’s cityscape fuses past and present, trauma and triumph. Site visits include: history museums, memorials to both victims and resisters of the Nazi era, Sachsenhausen concentration camp, remnants of the Berlin Wall, the Reichstagsgebäude (German parliament), and a former East German prison and secret police headquarters. Students apply their knowledge and skill in analyzing the complex political, social, and cultural environments of these cities by researching and acting as the “expert” guide for a site in Berlin, Bonn or Leipzig. Counts toward Global/Cultural Studies requirement. Prerequisite: Required enrollment in Ger 200.01 or Ger 300.01 offered in Spring 2016-2017 Listed as German 310.01, Global Studies 200.02, History 200.03, Politics and Government 200.03

Tuition and Fees

Tuition charged per credit; tuition is sometimes waived for some Liberal Arts In Focus courses. Program fees may include travel, housing, food, entrance fees, etc. See course instructor for information.

Ripon College campus housing will be available for In Focus students while in Ripon. The room rate is $50 per week or any part of a week.

Consult the Office of Financial Aid regarding financial assistance.

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300 W. Seward St. Ripon, WI
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