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Honors Semester in Florence

Let Our Palace be Your Classroom

The Honors in Florence program is specifically designed to offer Honors College students challenging and engaging experiences at Kent State University's historic 13th century Palazzo dei Cerchi (the Cerchi) in Florence, Italy.

As a participant in this unique program, you will gain an international perspective and learn about a foreign culture while participating in a variety of curricular offerings and travel opportunities especially designed for Honors College students. Your classes will take place in the Cerchi, which is located in the historic center of Florence, just north of the Piazza della Signoria and within walking distance of the Palazzo Vecchio. Owned by the Cerchi merchant family in the early thirteenth century, the Palazzo dei Cerchi was used by a number of Renaissance painters. Fully restored in 2004, the Cerchi is now equipped with state-of-the-art classrooms, yet maintains its outstanding medieval features and decorations.

Honors Courses

Classes meet Monday-Thursday, allowing for weekend travel and involvement in other cultural offerings. A number of educational field trips are included as part of the experience. Participants live in fully furnished apartments located within the ancient city walls and within walking distance of the Palazzo. Students are responsible for their own meals, with each apartment featuring a well-equipped kitchen, and located close to many fresh markets, local stores, and restaurants. Fall semester runs from mid-August to mid-December; spring semester from early-January to early May.

Your specifically designed Honors curriculum may include:

ARTH 42095: Italian Art: from Giotto to Bernini

Instructor: Rocky Ruggiero, Kent State University in Florence, Italy

This course will explore the development of art and architecture in Italy from the late Middle Ages to the Roman Bar oque period. Through an in-depth analysis of the art and history of these periods, we shall develop an understanding of Italy’s role in the overall development of Western civilization. Particular emphasis will be given to Florentine art. Florence exhibits, to this day, a particularly well-integrated conception of painting, sculpture and architecture. Taking advantage of this, we will use the city as our classroom in order to examine the development of Florentine art and architecture in context. In addition to “on-site” lectures, classroom lectures will focus on the art produced in other major Italian cities. The course will also include class trips to the
Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, and a private visit to the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

Honors students who enroll in the Italian Art class will be required to fulfill a supplementary and complementary workload to enrich their academic experience. This workload will consist of a series of selected readings from both primary and secondary sources that will be used to write a series of essays concerning the topics discussed in class. A final 10- to 15-page research paper is also required. Students will transform their
research into presentations to be made either in class or on site. Honors students will consult regularly throughout the semester with their professor for guidance concerning their final project.

Selected Primary Source Readings:
  • Alberti, Leon Battista, Treatise on Painting, (1436)
  • Alighieri, Dante, Inferno, (1314)
  • Aretino, Pietro,The Dialogues, (1536)
  • Baglioni, Giovanni, The Lives of the Artists, (1642)
  • Boccaccio, Giovanni, The Decameron, (c. 1352)
  • Castiglioni, Baldassare, The Courtier, (1528)
  • Condivi, Ascanio, The Life of Michelangelo, (1553)
  • Da Vinci, Leonardo, Treatise on Painting, (1495)
  • Ghiberti, Lorenzo, The Commentaries, (c. 1450)
  • Manetti, Antonio, The Life of Brunelleschi, (1478)
  • Vasari, Giorgio,The Lives of the Artists, (1568)
  • Villani, Giovanni, New Florentine Chronicles,(early 14th cent.)

BUS 30324: International Business

Instructor: Marco Tortora

This course provides an introduction to the different environments, theories, and practices of international business. The course is designed for any student interested in international business, regardless of his or her principal academic discipline. Topics covered include globalization; international companies; sustainability; the impact and importance of culture; economics, political and law environments; trade theories and the world financial environment; global strategies, structure, and management. The main goal of this course is to highlight the importance of a multi-scaled and multi-disciplinary approach so that students understand the complexity of the subject and to give them a global view of international markets.

Students will be working primarily from assigned materials (presentations, notes, articles, and papers).You will write one current events review and one case/field report. There will be a mid-term and final exam. Students are expected to attend and actively participate in class discussions and assignments, including oral presentations to the class.

In addition, Honors students will attend four lessons (one per month) in which they will be required to focus on an international business topic (one per lesson) and to analyze that topic using a systemic and multidisciplinary approach. The main goal of these four sessions is to give students the opportunity to analyze business topics through a workshop method, adopting a comparative and experimental approach.

JMC 40009/COMM 45091: Comparative Media Systems

Instructor: Fabio Corsini

Comparative Media is an interdisciplinary field of study dealing with the relevance of media, the traditional as well as the new ones, in contemporary society. The comparative method helps to clarify similarities and differences amongst specific media, historical periods, disciplines and perspectives. Comparative Media focuses on social and cultural interaction with technologies: each medium is analyzed both as a technology and a ‘cultural form’. The pervasive presence of the media in our everyday life will be critically discussed mostly on the basis of the European (Italian) situation trying to outline the most significant differences between Europe (Italy) and America in terms of media systems by the detailed analysis of some specific media with particular reference to television. The context in which they operate and that they contribute to shape will be outlined together with the influence they exercise in contemporary life. Classical theories will be presented together with a wide range of examples and audiovisual materials.

The first part of each class is a lecture where theories, concepts and problems will be presented. At the end of the lecture there will be a topic-based discussion in which students will be invited to give their personal (motivated) opinion, giving examples, making questions and offering suggestions etc. Each class will also use some audiovisual materials (movies, tv dramas, newspapers, music etc) in order to exemplify and make more comprehensible the concepts illustrated during the lecture.
During the semester students will also have the chance to meet with professionals and experts that will provide an in-depth picture of specific media related issues.

Course Objectives:

To sensitize students to a broader understanding of communication recognizing the central role of the media in everyday life. To discuss critically and to question the body of knowledge taken for granted about what media are and the way they work. To explicit similarities and differences amongst different media, different historical periods and different cultural contexts, in order to allow the students to develop a comparative sensitivity and make them aware of the role played by the cultural contexts and the generations they are part of.

Honors students are required to analyze in depth one of the issues of the program and will be provided of a further bibliography that has to be used in order to develop an individual work project (most likely a long paper) based on media issues . This work project will be periodically supervised (one-to-one meeting) by the instructor and, when and if necessary, will be discussed with experts and professionals. Students also have to prepare a final presentation to be displayed in class during the last week. Projects about the international and intercultural dimensions of the media of mass communication are strongly encouraged. Furthermore, Honors Students are also required to periodically write articles for the Flo’N the Go online magazine on the basis of their experience as American students studying in Florence.

List of References (and further readings):
  • Berger P.L., Luckmann T. (1966) The Social Construction of Reality, Garden City, New York
  • Buonanno, M. (2008) The Age of Television. Experiences and Theories, Intellect Books, London
  • Carey J.W. (1989) Communication as Culture. Essays on Media and Society, Routledge, London
  • Dayan D., Katz E.(1992) Media Events. The Live Broadcasting of History, Harvard University Press, Cambridge
  • DeFleur M., Bale-Rokeach S. (1989) Theories of Mass Communication (5th edition), Allyn & Bacon
  • Fardigh M.A. (2010) Comparing Media Systems in Europe: Identifying Comparable Country-level Dimensions of Media Systems
  • Grossberg L. et alii (1998), MediaMaking. Mass Media in a Popular Culture, Sage, London
  • Hendy D. (2000) Radio in global age, Blackwell Publishers, London
  • McQuail D. (2005) Mcquail's Mass Communication Theory (5th edition), Sage, London.
  • Meyrowitz, J. (1985) No sense of place, Oxford University Press, New York
  • Thompson J.B. (1995) The Media and Modernity. A Social Theory of the Media, Polity Press, Cambridge
  • Lange B.P., (2005), Comparative Media History: an introduction: 1978 to the Present, Polity Press
  • Staiger J., (2009) Convergence media History, Routledge, London
  • Williams R. (2003) Television. Technology and Cultural Form, Routledge, London
  • Further readings as well as audiovisual materials will be suggested during the classes according to the interests of the students

POL 40995: European Issues

Instructor: Elena Baracani

This is a social science course on contemporary Europe. It looks at the European reality from various disciplinary
perspectives (history, sociology, economics), with an emphasis on political science. The course will start with a broad overview of European history and geography. We will then move on to case studies about single European nation states, such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, and – in a specific session – Eastern Europe. Indeed, these cases do not only represent the most famous and (politically,
socially and economically) most well-known areas of Europe,
but they also illustrate the variety of the European reality. Although the nation-state is politically more and more undermined by a strengthening of the sub-national and local level (‘devolution’), but above all by the development of supra-national quasi-state structure (the EU), it remains the point of reference. Identities and public spaces are still nationally defined. In the following, the European Union will be introduced as a political and social reality which is unique in the world. It is more than an international organization, since countries lose sovereignty, but we cannot speak about the
“United States of Europe”. After some factual information, the course will look on current (and older) writings about the finalité of European integration. We will carefully analyze its problems, but also its prospects. The comparison with the United States of America will play an important role in this.Issues in this part of the course include the history; the institutional system; the policies; the debate about the ‘democracy deficit’; public opinion, etc., in the EU.

The literature which we will use in the course will not only include important textbooks about Europe and the European Union in general, but also more controversial texts about what the EU is, should be and will be. Cuttings from newspapers and news magazines will illustrate the current political debate in various European countries.

Students will be asked to take two quizzes (one on the European nation-states and one on the EU) plusone paper.
In this paper (15-20 pp.) students are required to apply EU integration theories and to work in a methodologically rigid way on a specific research question which will be fixed very early in the course.

A day-trip to the European University Institute (EUI) will give the possibility to the students to make contact with students, staff and professors from a truly European institution.

Readings will include (parts of) the following books:

On the single countries (textbook):
  • Hay, Colin/ Menon, Anand (eds.), European Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press (most updated edition)
On the EU (textbooks):
  • Cini, Michelle and Pérez-Solorzano Borragan, Nieves (eds.), European Union Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press (third edition)
  • Wallace, Helen, et al. (eds.): Policy-Making in the European Union, Oxford: Oxford University Press (most
  • updated edition)
  • Peterson, John/ Shackleton, Michael (eds.): The Institutions of the European Union, Oxford: Oxford
  • University Press (most updated edition)
On EU integration theories:
  • Rosamond, Ben, 2000: Theories of European Integration, Basingstoke: Palgrave
For discussion:
  • Schmitter, Philippe C., 2000: How To Democratize the European Union...And Why Bother?, Lanham et al.:
  • Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  • Scharpf, Fritz W., 1999: Governing In Europe: Effective and Democratic?, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Rifkin, Jeremy, 2004: The European Dream. How Europe’s Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the
  • American Dream. New York: Penguin-Tarcher
  • Hayward, Jack/ Menon, Award (eds.), 2003: Governing Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Fabbrini, Sergio, 2007: Compound Democracies: Why the United States and Europe Are Becoming Similar, Oxford/ New York: Oxford University Press

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester
May 15
Spring Semester
October 15

Need More Information?

Carolyn Sampson

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