Over the centuries, pan-European and individual national identities have been shaped by their cultural capitals. Kings, queens, presidents, dictators, and chancellors have sought to strengthen their national legitimacy through art collections, opera houses, orchestras, dance festivals, architectural monuments and cutting-edge scientific institutions. But the very nature of the urban landscape also has a way of overwhelming the visions and projects of governments and leaders. As economies boom and urban industries need workers, immigration brings about new multicultural neighborhoods that subtly transform the culture, food and language of a city. And every country also maintains a very anti-urban version of its identity: French identity may include Parisian café culture and the art collections of the Louvre, but being French also means having a connection to la France profonde, the idyllic (and sometimes fictional) places that lie deep in the rural landscape. What would Austria be without the Alps, and what would Italy be without the food, farms, and hills of Tuscany?
Our Spring 2021 Art History/European Studies program offers students the opportunity for intensive, on-site study of cultural identity in the some of Europe’s grandest capitals. Join us as we explore some of the centers of ancient and modern Europe, including Athens, Rome, Florence, Geneva, Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Stockholm, Brussels, Paris, and London. Major historical sites, monuments, and museums will be our classroom, where we will study ideas, art and landscapes that have formed European identity from the Acropolis to the Tower of London, from the Berlin Wall to the Swiss Alps.