Harvard Summer Program in Venice, Italy

Dates: 
TBA
Apply by: 
January 31, 2019
Cost: 
$9,250
Housing: 
Dorms

Explore Venice, Italy, one of Europe's most important nexuses.  

Investigate European and American art, culture, history, and economics alongside Harvard University and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice students and faculty. This collaborative, multidisciplinary eight-week program brings together two prestigious universities to deepen your understanding of Venice—a city with a rich history and an environment unlike any other.

You experience the unique culture, art, and history of Venice through workshops, excursions, and field trips, as well as participation in the local community. With a diverse array of course offerings to choose from, you will have the opportunity to engage in a multi-disciplinary exploration of Venice and of historical and contemporary Western society.

Program Structure

The first and last (eighth) weeks of the program provide essential cultural context to frame your academic experience in Venice. You will participate in a variety of required activities and workshops on topics that in past years have included Italian fashion and design, Venetian mask-making, the traditional rowing technique, Voga, and Venetian cooking. 

From the second through the seventh week of the program, you enroll in two of the courses listed below. Please note that final course placement is dependent on availability and is determined by the HSS Registrar's Office upon your enrollment in the program.

Courses

Any two courses taken in the Venice program count as two semester-long courses (4 credits each) of degree credit. Consult with your department prior to enrollment regarding the availability of concentration credit.

ENGL S-36V counts toward the Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding General Education requirement. ENGL S-36V also fulfills the General Education Study of the Past requirement. HIST S-35 and HUMA S-125 meet the General Education requirement for Ethical Reasoning. For information regarding department credit for economics courses, please see the Harvard economics department website.

Course times will be posted below once available.

ECON S-1059 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: An Introduction to Complexity in Economics and the Social Sciences (34456)

Paolo Pellizzari
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

This course provides an introduction to complexity with a focus on economic and social systems. As we work towards a formal and shared definition of complex phenomena—a topic conspicuously absent from much of the literature in the field—we explore ideas, models, and examples from biology, chaos theory, financial markets, computational science, genetics, and sociology. The course guides students in exploring the seeming paradox of the fact that complex machinery is not needed to generate complexity, which instead is ubiquitous and can be produced by very simple rules of behavior. Students also generate computational models to acquire hands-on experience with complex system simulation and control.

Prerequisites:ECON S-10ab or the equivalent, and MATH S-1ab or the equivalent.

ECON S-1936 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Redeeming Keynes (33314)

Stephen A. Marglin
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

This course explores the birth, death, and resurrection of John Maynard Keynes's 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 views the present economic difficulties through a Keynesian lens.

Prerequisites: introductory economics at the level of ECON S-10ab. A
year of college calculus is useful even though mathematics are used very sparingly.

ENGL S-36V Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Venetian Art and the Bible (33841)

Gordon Teskey
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

William Blake called the Bible "the great code of art." Nowhere was this statement truer than in the famous Italian centers of art, Rome, Florence, and Venice. But the biblical culture of Venice was special because of her rich contacts with the East: with Islam, with the Greek culture of the Eastern Mediterranean, and with the Holy Land itself. The great cathedral of Venice, Saint Mark's, is named for the city's patron, who wrote the oldest and most venerable of the Christian gospels. The Bible provided the artists of Venice with a rich fund of subjects for painting and sculpture. This course gives students an outline of the contents and structure of the Bible similar to what most people in Venice would have had during the period when its greatest art was produced. The aim is for students to be able to look at a work of Venetian art and read not only its biblical subject but also its biblical thinking, especially the subterranean connections between episodes. We also consider how extra-biblical subjects such as saints' legends and episodes from the apocrypha are themselves extensions of biblical reading. Meeting times are about equally divided between classroom discussion and field trips to sites around Venice. Among the more important of these are Saint Mark's cathedral, the Doge Palace, the Basilica dei Frari, the Scuola di San Rocco (with its amazing Tintorettos), the Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo, the Basilica della Salute (with Titian's biblical paintings in the sacristry), and the Accademia gallery, with its great hall containing Veronese's gigantic and exuberant Feast in the House of Levi and Titian's large but intimate Pieta, with its subtle biblical meanings adopted to personal expression. The course's final class concludes in this room, in front of these contrasting visions of the meaning of life, seen through the lens of the Bible.

ENGL S-122 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Shakespeare's Venice—Jews, Blacks, Muslims, and Christians at the Origin of the Modern World (33365)

Shaul Bassi
Stephen Greenblatt
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

A great early modern metropolis and a richly symbolic landscape, Venice is the setting of two seminal plays by Shakespeare, a comedy and a tragedy. The Merchant of Venice and Othello have made the Jewish moneylender Shylock and the Moor Othello the emblematic ethnic and cultural outsiders, figures who both foreshadow and challenge the modern notion of a multicultural community. This course analyzes the Shakespearean texts, reads their principal sources, and charts their controversial critical and theatrical histories. We examine the rich cultural and literary material that informs the plays, including the representations of Africans, Jews, and Muslims, and their multiple resonances in different times and places, including modern adaptations in fiction and film. Our presence in Venice is crucial to our understanding: we explore why the setting for these plays had to be here and not elsewhere, and we visit Venetian sites that illuminate the biblical, classical, and ethnographic contexts that forged Shakespeare's notions of cultural and religious difference.

Note: Professor Greenblatt will lecture for two weeks of the course.

ENGL S-177V Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: American Literary Expatriates in Europe (32606)

Glenda R. Carpio
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

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.

Prerequisite: none.

ENVR S-133 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Earth's Climate—Past, Present, and Future (32299)

Carlo Barbante
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

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.

Prerequisite: none.

GOVT S-1745 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Introduction to International Business Law (33633)

Fabrizio Marrella
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

In today's global village, business decisions are no longer local. Even the smallest company may engage in transactions that have international legal implications. As the world gets smaller the ability to access foreign markets grows ever wider. Companies may seek new sources of supply overseas, sales may cross national borders to customers located abroad, and joint ventures and other forms of direct investment in a foreign country abound. Resolving disputes arising from such operations may lead to multistate litigation and/or to arbitration. Many legal systems may become relevant in arbitration including transnational principles (such as the Unidroit Principles) or the lex mercatoria, the ongoing formation of a global law for international commercial contracts. This course is designed to introduce students to the problems affecting cross-border transactions from a legal standpoint. The course explores the international private and public law dimensions of business transactions. We examine the legal framework of international commerce, pointing out the potential constraints posed by laws, cultures, ideologies, currencies, and government policies to effective international business negotiations.

HARC S-148 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Ancient Rome and Venice: The Classical Past and its Legacy (33638)

Lorenzo Calvelli
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

While the area of the Venetian lagoon has been highly frequented and exploited since the first millennium BCE, Venice can be considered the most important Italian city that did not grow on top of an ancient Roman settlement. Once the city began to develop in the early Middle Ages, local statesmen and intellectuals supported the idea that their hometown was born from the ashes of the Roman Empire, thus promoting their political independence from any earlier form of government. Such ideological distancing from the ancient world was oddly paralleled by a massive physical presence of objects dating to the Roman times, including both artworks and plain building materials, which could be found in and around Venice and are still visible today. This course explores the relationship of Venice and the ancient Roman world through a double methodological lens. On the one hand, it focuses on the primary sources that help us reconstruct the history of the Venetian territory from the first millennium BCE to the time when Venice became a leading power in the Mediterranean Sea. On the other hand, it investigates how classical antiquities were approached, reused, and exhibited in Venice and in the territories of the Venetian empire from the Middle Ages onwards. The course combines class lectures and field trips to different locations in and around Venice (museums, churches, and public spaces) in order to get a real experience of the presence of antiquities in the city and in the surrounding islands.

Prerequisite: None; an essential understanding of Latin would be useful, but the language basics necessary to meet course requirements are covered in class.

HARC S-149 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Italian Art and Archaeology in the Renaissance and Beyond (34511)

Myriam Pilutti Namer
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

Italian art is characterized by an astonishing variety of expressions, forms, and settings. Visitors from around the world have been dazzled by its vast range of works of art, archaeological sites, monuments, sculptural and architectural complexes, parks and gardens—a unique cultural heritage spanning millennia. This course introduces students to the richness of Italy's cultural heritage and explores the extensive influence that it has exerted on artists, architects, travelers, intellectuals, and even politicians in the post-Classical era. Naples, Florence, Rome, Verona, Padua, and Venice are considered as case studies to explore world famous sites such as Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Roman Forum; ancient monuments such as the Arena of Verona; and prestigious collections such as those contained in the Uffizi in Florence and the Vatican Museums in Rome. Students examine individual works and monuments with an eye to the context in which they were produced. We examine the history of their survival and reception, drawing on a range of significant examples such as Piranesi's drawings of the Roman Forum, Michelangelo's imitations of ancient Greek sculptures or Titian's sketches of antiquities preserved in Venice and Rome.

Prerequisite: None.

HIST S-35 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Nature (33015)

Joyce E. Chaplin
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

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.

Prerequisite: none

HUMA S-125 Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: The Ethics of Identity (33883)

Jay M. Harris
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

This course engages with the ethical challenges presented by personal and group identities. Built around K. Anthony Appiah's book, The Ethics of Identity, in conversation with his predecessors, interlocutors, and opponents (among them Kant, Mill, and Rawls), the course focuses on contentious contemporary issues regarding inclusion and exclusion, and on how we can engage with our multiple identities in ethically responsive ways.

MATH S-1BV Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Calculus, Series and Differential Equations (33800)

Robin Gottlieb
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

The language of mathematics has evolved over time, but Galileo's famous statement that, "the book of the universe is written in the language of mathematics," is as true today as it was then. In this course, students deepen their foundation in modern mathematics and learn more about mathematical applications in other disciplines. The course focuses on three related topics which together form a central part of the language of modern science: applications and methods of integration, infinite series and the representation of functions by power series, and differential equations, with an emphasis on modeling and qualitative analysis. The material introduced in this course has applications in physics, chemistry, biology, environmental science, astronomy, economics, and statistics.

Prerequisites: Students are expected to be familiar with trigonometry, inverse trig, exponentials, and logarithms, and have a basic understanding of elementary calculus, including the notion of a derivative, differentiation using the product, quotient, and chain rules, and definite and indefinite integrals.

Note: Priority is given to students in the Emerging Scholars Program.

MATH S-1BV Study Abroad in Venice, Italy: Calculus, Series and Differential Equations (33805)

Brendan Kelly
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

The language of mathematics has evolved over time, but Galileo's famous statement that, "the book of the universe is written in the language of mathematics," is as true today as it was then. In this course, students deepen their foundation in modern mathematics and learn more about mathematical applications in other disciplines. The course focuses on three related topics which together form a central part of the language of modern science: applications and methods of integration, infinite series and the representation of functions by power series, and differential equations, with an emphasis on modeling and qualitative analysis. The material introduced in this course has applications in physics, chemistry, biology, environmental science, astronomy, economics, and statistics.

Prerequisites: Students are expected to be familiar with trigonometry, inverse trig, exponentials, and logarithms, and have a basic understanding of elementary calculus, including the notion of a derivative, differentiation using the product, quotient, and chain rules, and definite and indefinite integrals.

Note: Priority is given to students in the Emerging Scholars Program.

Where You Live and Study

The lagoon city of Venice, la Serenissima, was for centuries a cultural and commercial center of Europe, and a vital link between East and West. Now it is the site of an educational crossroads and this multidisciplinary program that brings together students and faculty from Harvard University and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

Accommodations

You stay in the newly renovated dormitory "We_Crociferi." All rooms are doubles or triples and have air conditioning and internet. With the exception of breakfast, which is provided in the dorms, you are responsible for your own meals. All rooms include a kitchenette so that you have the opportunity to cook meals.

Venice has many restaurants, bars, cafes, and pasticciere. You have the opportunity to shop at the local markets and frequent the restaurants and bars in your neighborhood. Cafeterias offering low-cost meals are another popular option.

Application

Early application is strongly encouraged. Each program has unique requirements included in the online application. Beginning your application early is the best way to ensure that you have sufficient time to review and complete the application requirements by the deadline.

A complete online application includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • A statement of interest
  • Your most recent transcript
  • Program-specific requirements (if applicable; may include letters of recommendation, audio or video submissions, etc.)
  • A $75 application fee (per program)

Interviews may be requested at the discretion of the program.

Apply Now 

Applications are due by 11:59 pm ET on January 31, 2019. You may apply to up to two programs; each program requires a separate application and fee. Harvard College students applying for funding from the Office of Career Services (OCS): Please note that the OCS funding application is separate.

If you have questions about the application, please contact the Harvard Summer School Study Abroad Office by email at summerabroad@summer.harvard.edu, or by telephone at (617) 998-9602.

Cost & Expenses

The program fee includes:

  • Tuition
  • Accommodations
  • Scheduled program activities
  • Some meals (the program will provide further details)

You will also need to budget for a number of expenses not covered by the program fee. The amounts listed below for these out-of-pocket expenses are approximate, and you may incur additional expenses not noted here. Your actual expenses will depend on a number of factors, including personal spending habits and currency exchange rates.

  • International airfare ($1,300 - $1,600)
  • Ground transportation ($200)
  • Meals ($2,000)
  • Personal expenditures, communications, course materials, and miscellaneous ($600)

If you have specific questions about personal budgeting, please contact the program directly.

See Funding and Payment for information on how to submit payments and funding options.

Additional information

Program director

Glenda Carpio

Faculty

  • Carlo Barbante, Laurea, Professor of Analytical Chemistry, Ca' Foscari University
  • Shaul Bassi, PhD, Associate Professor of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies, Ca' Foscari University
  • Lorenzo Calvelli, PhD, Tenured Lecturer in Ancient History, Ca' Foscari University
  • Glenda R. Carpio, PhD, Professor of English and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
  • Joyce E. Chaplin, PhD, James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History, Harvard University
  • Robin Gottlieb, MSc, Professor of the Practice of Mathematics, Harvard University
  • Stephen Greenblatt, PhD, Cogan University Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University
  • Jay M. Harris, PhD, Harry Austryn Wolfson Professor of Jewish Studies, Harvard University
  • Brendan Kelly, PhD, Preceptor in Mathematics, Harvard University
  • Stephen A. Marglin, PhD, Walter S. Barker Professor of Economics, Harvard University