Dean Rhodes, chair of modern and classical languages and literatures and associate professor of Spanish, led the Spain/Morocco class, which cross-listed for history and modern and classical languages and literatures (MCLL) credit. “This past term, 22 students were in the course, 11 men, 11 women, and we had a great time,” Dean Rhodes commented. “There were a number of history majors in the course and it really does work well for those majors since the course, at least the first part in Spain is essentially history. The emphasis of the course changes a bit once we enter Morocco to a more cultural exchange as we explore both historical but more importantly the current Muslim/Islamic world.” IMG_2445

Students traveled to Spain and Morocco to study the historical connection between the two neighboring countries and cultures as well studying present day realities and trends. While living with host families in Granada, Spain, students attended lectures and participated in field trips studying the Moor’s contribution in Art, Literature, Architecture, Thought, etc. to the development of Spain during the al Andalus period from 720 – 1492. The problems and crisis in contemporary Spain brought about by the Moroccan immigration issue was also studied prior to traveling to Morocco to examine the issues that push migrants to Spain.

While living in Morocco, the group visited a variety of social service and justice agencies working within the country in attempts to keep people from migrating. In Morocco, the group studied Islamic issues as they relate to historical as well as current tensions and misunderstandings between the Muslim world and the West, the rise of Islamic terrorism, local grass roots movements working for social justice and change in Morocco and the historical as well as current role of women in Islamic society. The students lived with Muslim families in Rabat, the capital city of Morocco, and Amizmiz, a small, rural city in south-central Morocco. Toward the end of their stay in Morocco, students spent 2 ½ days hiking through the High Atlas Mountains in central Morocco, lodging in local Berber villages at night. The pervasive emphasis during this May Term was to provide ample opportunities for face-to-face encounters of the GC students with the local people of both Spain and Morocco. The course ended in Madrid where the group spent one day visiting historic sites, several museums and reflecting on the trip.