Harvard Summer Program in Venice, Italy
Liberal arts studies in Italy’s city of canals
Faculty: From Harvard and Ca’ Foscari Universities
The lagoon city of Venice, la Serenissima, has for centuries been the cultural and commercial nexus of eastern and western Europe. Now it is the site of an educational crossroads as well with a multidisciplinary program that brings together students and faculty from Harvard University and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. The program offers courses in a range of fields, including art history, economics, English literature, Italian, and sociology. In addition to classes, a carefully designed program of activities brings students into the local community and promotes their understanding of Venice as a city with a rich history and an environment unlike any other.
In this program, Italian students study and learn alongside Harvard students so that all may develop a deeper knowledge of the city and of each other. Through a range of guided activities, students are encouraged to investigate the culture, art, and history of the city.
During the first two weeks of the session, students participate in projects designed to give a hands-on experience of Venice, such as traditional arts and crafts and activities, guided visits to places of historical interest, and other activities that give insight into the city. Past programs have included workshops in fashion, design, and Venetian masks; lessons on the traditional rowing technique Voga; and classes on Venetian cooking.
Course of study
ECON S-1062 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Imperfect Markets—the Economics of Information with Applications (33035)
This is an intermediate level course in microeconomics that provides students with a toolkit to understand the effects of asymmetric information, transaction costs, and institutions on markets. The class covers basic economic models of decisions under uncertainty, moral hazard, adverse selection, signaling processes, mechanism design, and incomplete contracts. A central goal is to apply the model to make sense of real world imperfect markets. Applications include incentives in organization, credit markets, education, economic development, international trade, and innovation. The role of asymmetries of information in the financial crisis and great recession in the United States and Europe is discussed.
Prerequisites: ECON S-1010, MATH S-1a, some coursework in basic probability
ECON S-1670 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Cost/Benefit Analysis and Environmental Management (33017)
The course presents the economic tools of environmental evaluation and applies them to a major project in Venice: the MOSE project. MOSE is a set of mobile dams, currently under construction, that prevents the occurrence of so called "acqua alta" floods of the antique part of Venice. A project evaluation is achieved collaboratively between students, based on the contents explained during the lecture and in additional readings. The course provides a comprehensive coverage of evaluation methods, including a discussion of their limits and insights into their more recent developments. Examples are given of various project evaluations in other areas (Venetian region, France, Germany, Italy) to provide stimulus for student projects.
Prerequisites: introductory economics at the level of Economics S-10ab.
ECON S-1936 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Redeeming Keynes (32736)
This course explores the birth, death, and resurrection of The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money from the Great Depression (1929-1939) to the Great Recession (2008-?). Keynes intended The General Theory to provide an intellectually consistent and persuasive argument that would explain the failure of a market system, even an idealized system with all of the warts removed, to provide jobs for willing workers. It is clear from its checkered career that The General Theory was at best a partial success. It is not only difficult to read, it does not make good on the promise of a clear and consistent account of why a competitive economy might fail to reach a full-employment equilibrium. This course attempts to provide the coherent argument that, for all its theoretical innovation, The General Theory did not deliver. In the process we examine the orthodoxy that Keynes attacked and that resurfaced in the 1960s and 1970s; the key concepts on which rest the models implicit in The General Theory; and the attempts of the "Keynesian" mainstream to make peace with both Keynes and orthodoxy. We also explore the applicability of The General Theory to the long run. A final section will view the present economic difficulties through a Keynesian lens.
Prerequisites: introductory economics at the level of Economics S-10ab. A year of college calculus will be useful even though mathematics will be used very sparingly.
ENGL S-177v Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: American Literary Expatriates in Europe (32606)
This course explores the fiction and travel literature produced by American writers living in Europe, from Henry James to the present. In the course of this period the relationship between old to new world continuously evolves. While Europe becomes the battlefield for two bloody World Wars as well as a museum of the past, the United States assumes a dominant role on the world stage. At the same time, America also betrays key fundamental ideals as it seeks to extend its sphere of influence. American writers living and traveling in Europe reflect on these shifts and changes while also exploring the complex set of contradictions that expatriate life reveals. For African American writers, for instance, Europe represents both a site of liberation from the oppression of American color codes and also an area of the world where they are often exoticized. We focus on American literature set in Europe with readings that include but are not limited to essays, travelogues, poems, novellas, novels, and short stories.
ENGL S-88 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Interracial Literature (32137)
This course examines a wide variety of literary texts on black-white couples, interracial families, and biracial identity, from classical antiquity to the present. Works studied include romances, novellas, plays, novels, short stories, poems, and nonfiction, as well as some films and examples from the visual arts. Topics for discussion range from interracial genealogies to racial "passing," from representations of racial difference to alternative plot resolutions, and from religious and political to legal and scientific contexts for the changing understanding of race. Focus is on the European tradition and the Harlem Renaissance.
ENVR S-133 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Earth's Climate—Past, Present, and Future (32299)
This course deals with past, present, and future climate changes as evinced from the most recent studies on palaeoclimate archives, such as marine sediments and ice cores. The techniques available for the study of climate are carefully reviewed and the most recent results are presented. Climate changes involve multiple interactions among different components of the climate system, such as the atmosphere, the ocean, the earth, the biosphere, and the ice sheet. One way to make sense of this complex system is to understand the inherent rate at which each of its components respond both to the primary causes of climate change and as part of a web of interactions within the system. Testing of hypothesis by means of climate models strongly supports the experimental data presented in the course.
GOVT S-1781 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: International Oil Politics from the 1970s to the Present (32725)
The course examines oil as a source of both international cooperation and international conflict in the late twentieth- and early twenty-first- centuries. The oil crises of the 1970s, petrodollar recycling, Third World indebtedness, Soviet decline, the two Iraq wars of 1991 and 2003, the Kyoto and Copenhagen negotiations on climate changes, and other relevant processes and events of recent international relations are read through the role played by oil in each case. By analyzing a set of case studies, the course places oil politics in relation to economic, military, social, and environmental issues. By making use of primary declassified sources from public and private archives, the course aims to allow students to critically evaluate the assigned readings. At the end of the course, students are able to assess the role of oil politics in recent and present international relations, and to display a confident knowledge of the complexities of issues such as the relationship between governments and oil corporations, oil and international finance, oil and international power, oil and the international debate on renewable sources.
Prerequisite: no required prerequisite, but a basic knowledge of twentieth-century international relations is highly advisable.
HARC S-169 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Venetian Art and Architecture in the High Renaissance (33016)
This new course focuses on the great masters of sixteenth-century art and architecture in Venice, in particular Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Jacopo Sansovino, and Palladio. About half of the classes are held on site, thus helping to develop a deeper understanding of the urban space and the dialog among artists in the High Renaissance.
HIST S-1154 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: The Republic—Venice and Its Dominion (14th-18th Centuries) (33030)
The course provides a description of the relationship between Venice and its dominion since the fourteenth-century up to the end of the Republic (1797). The topic is presented from three points of view (institutions and law, society, and economy), analyzing similarities and differences between the Dominante, the Stato da Mar, and the Stato da Terra. After a general introduction about the peculiarity of the Venetian State (a Republic in a monarchic Europe), attention is paid to the relationship between local and central élites (conflict/alliance), different wedding strategies, economic attitude of Venice capitalistic merchants and Mainland marchand entrepreneures, especially in the last ages of the Republic (sixteenth-eighteenth centuries). Two lessons are dedicated to the decadence of Venice, from the centre to the periphery of the world.
Prerequisites: no required prerequisites, but a basic knowledge of general early modern and modern Western history is highly advisable.
HIST S-1627 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Westerners in Socialist China—Connected Histories, Multiple Experiences (33031)
The course aims at analyzing the experiences of Westerners in the People's Republic of China from 1949 to the age of the economic reforms at the end of the 1970s in the framework of the history of Socialist China and of its relationship to the outer world during the Maoist era. The course considers the different experiences and roles played by Western political supporters, journalists and experts, travellers, and diplomats. Their experience and their encounters with Chinese society, culture, and politics are analyzed under the perspective of changing Chinese domestic context and foreign policy, of Chinese Communist Party's policy towards foreigners, of the shifts in international context during the Cold War, and of Chinese cultural attitude towards the Westerners. The course focuses on Westeners living and working in China and on Western short-term visitors as well. Selected readings from biographies, personal memories, and travel reports of Western journalists, diplomats, political sympathizers, and intellectuals are discussed in order to understand both the impact of the "China" experience on their world view and their place in the history of Socialist China as well. Their role in the representation and reception of Socialist China in Western Europe and in the US are analyzed. Finally, the interest currently emerging in China in revisiting foreigners' experiences in Socialist China are discussed using Chinese Press accounts and comments.
HIST S-1940 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: A History of Consumption (32873)
The course aims to provide knowledge of the main discontinuities marking the evolution of consumption patterns in Europe and partially in the world from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Particular attention is paid to the dynamic relationship between consumption on the one hand and commercial trends, household organization, and technological change on the other. Visits to appropriate sites around Venice complement the classroom work. Students work with both the historical literature and primary sources to present case studies and prepare a final research paper.
HIST S-35 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Nature (33015)
It may seem that questions about human responsibility toward the natural world are new, but there are long-standing traditions within Western philosophy of arguing for ethical behavior in relation to nature, whether to benefit humans or to help non-humans. This course offers a critical and historical analysis of selected texts that identify human beings as a distinctively ethical species within the natural world, with particular attention to the emergence of normative theories that rank humans with and against other natural beings. Topics include: definitions of wilderness and property; agriculture, industrialization, and consumerism as historic transformations of humanity; social hierarchies based on perceived natural abilities; ideas of natural rights; conservation and environmentalism; and animal rights. Readings include Aristotle, Locke, Kant, Rousseau, Bentham, Malthus, Mill, Emerson, Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, and Singer. We also examine how contemporary debates over the human place within nature have continued to cite and critique normative traditions defined in the past.
ITAL S-Aa Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Beginning Italian (32623)
For students with little or no knowledge of Italian and no previous formal study of the language. This course aims at achieving basic communication skills and vocabulary. Emphasis is on oral expression and listening comprehension.
The application period is now closed.
Students must be at least 18 years old, have completed at least one year of college or be a first-year student, and be in good academic standing to apply.
The application materials, outlined below, are due January 31, 2013:
- A completed online application that includes:
- A $50 nonrefundable application fee.
- A statement describing your overall academic interests and your reasons for wanting to study in Venice this summer. In your statement you should discuss any relevant coursework you have taken and address how you think your experience in Venice will shape your intellectual and social development.
- Transcripts (student record accepted for Harvard students).
Students will be notified of admission decisions by mid-February.
There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee. The cost of the program is $7,750 and includes the following:
- Room and breakfast
- All scheduled excursions and extracurricular activities
In addition to the program fee, students are responsible for:
- A health insurance fee (waived if students have US insurance that provides coverage outside the United States)
- Transportation to and from Venice
- The cost of passports and visas (if the latter is needed)
- Any immunizations
- Meals (lunch and dinner)
See a sample budget for estimated expenses.
How to pay and funding options
See Funding and Payment for payment deadlines, deposit amounts, and more information, including funding options for Harvard College students.
Students stay in local dormitories on Giudecca Island. All rooms are doubles and do not include air conditioning. With the exception of breakfast (for which meal cards are provided), students are responsible for their own meals. Dorms have limited kitchen access. Venice has many restaurants, bars, cafes, and pasticciere. Students have the opportunity to shop at the local markets and frequent the restaurants and bars in their neighborhood. Cafeterias offering low-cost meals are another option.
Contact the Venice program coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students with disabilities
Students should contact the disability services coordinator as soon as possible. See Students with Disabilities for more information.