Destination Courses in Philosophy


It may make sense to have a summer course that, say, takes students to France to improve their French. Or one that brings them to Japan to study Japanese agricultural methods. Or a marine ecology course that takes place on a boat cruising through the Caribbean. Sometimes “destination” courses, or other courses that involve travel to or study in a specific part of the world, make perfect pedagogical sense—the location or the travel contributes significantly to learning the material and skills the course is aimed to impart. 

Which philosophy courses could be like this? Any ideas? Have you taught any destination or travel course in philosophy? What did you do? How did they go? How integral was the location to the learning?

Here’s one example I came across, offered by the College of the Holy Cross:

WHAT: A four-week immersive study program titled “Tuscany and the Philosophy of Food,” part of the College’s summer study abroad program. The highly-interactive course will provide insight into the contemporary food world. Planned activities include following the work at two wine farms, visits to two butchers, bakers, specialty stores, markets, chefs, fishermen, wine-makers, and gastronomes, as well as four home cooked meals prepared by students and faculty under the guidance of expert cooking teachers.

WHY THEY’RE GOING: To put a selection of poignant contemporary and classic readings in dialogue with experiential learning. The course follows food production, consumption, and representation and addresses chief philosophical questions concerning pleasure, ethics, metaphysics, and aesthetics.

WHERE: Panzano, a small historic town in the center of the Chianti region of Tuscany, between Florence and Siena and a short distance from Pisa, Lucca, and San Gimignano. The town is home to the first biological wine district in the world, a world-class butcher shop run by the legendary Dario Cecchini, and an exceptionally rich and varied gastronomic culture, the outcome of millennia of trading and exchanges, which continues to this day.

Sign me up.

Panzano, Italy

Panzano, Italy

Please share your ideas, experiences, and thoughts on this topic, so we can get to planning our courses for next summer.

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