May Term - Intensive Learning for History Majors

The College provides a wide array of Intensive Learning opportunities, including travel courses as well as on-campus courses. The majority of these courses are offered in May, during a three-week term, although some travel courses may run a little over or a little under the three-week period.






Examples of Past Intensive Learning Courses:

Pausanias' Tour of Greece 
Pausanias, a 2nd century AD Greek living under Roman rule, visited sites of past glory and wrote an informative travelogue and cultural history of ancient Greece. Students will travel in his footsteps, a journey that will take them to Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Delphi, among other sites. Students will experience firsthand the monuments of ancient Greece and modern presentation of them and confront the landscapes that Pausanias describes. In reflecting upon their own reaction and Pausanias' account of the ancient Greek past and its remains, students will interpret their responses to Greece ancient and modern. By immersing ourselves in Pausanias' account, relevant modern scholarship and visiting the landscapes Pausanias once beheld, we will be able to consider the interplay among the physical and imagined pasts, and think about the ways we construct identities through the conversations we choose to have with those pasts and how we conduct them. (Instructor: Dr. J. Hawke)

American Tourist in Rome 
This unique course, taught by an Italian professor and a historian, combines both language instruction and historical study to prepare students for meaningful travel to Rome. Students will spend a week on campus in language study to gain basic communication skills in Italian. They will then spend two weeks in Rome where they will have the opportunity to practice their skills. While in Rome we will read American travelogues and fiction from the 19th and early 20th centuries to explore how Americans have imagined and responded to "the Eternal City" in the past. Students will have the opportunity to experience the same sites visited by earlier American visitors, compare their responses, and write their own travelogues to articulate a twenty-first century perspective on being an American in Rome.  (Instructors: Dr. M. Henold and Professor G. Chapman)

The Civil War in the West
This course is an examination of the Western theater of the American Civil War. Students will explore the causes, major events, and outcomes of the campaign. The centerpiece of the course is a nine-day expedition to cities, towns and battlefields along the Mississippi. (Instructors: J. Selby & M. Miller )

Capitals, Cities and Countrysides of Argentina and Chile
In South America, first time visitors may find bewildering the casual way inhabitants of capital cities dismissively refer to the rest of the country as "the interior."  This course will explore the history behind this pronounced rural/urban division in Latin America.  In this travel course to Chile and Argentina, we will learn about both the pressures that created such an enduring division and the resulting consequences such centralization creates for both the countries and the people who call them home.(Instructor: I. Wallace Fuentes)

Historical Archaeology
This course is designed to teach students the methods and theories of archaeological fieldwork in a hands-on setting.  Students will have the opportunity to learn about the practical skills of surveying, excavating, and recording by engaging in fieldwork both at the Tanyard House on the southeastern edge of the Roanoke College campus and at the Blue Ridge Center near Harper's Ferry.  Students will also learn about the theories guiding the interpretation of material culture through readings and lab exercises on topics in historical archaeology.  A day trip to Poplar Forest, the former retreat home and working plantation of Thomas Jefferson, and an overnight trip to Monticello, Ash Lawn, and Montpellier, the respective homes of Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and James Madison will expose students to the intricacies of historical archaeology in action.. (Instructor: W. Leeson)

History of Hawaii
This course surveys the origins and evolution of ancient Hawaiian society and culture through the contact period, the years of the Hawaiian monarchy from the rise of Kamehameha the Great to the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani, and the socio-political transformation of Hawaii as an American territory and state. We will spend 19 days in Hawaii from Monday May 9 to Friday May 27 and visit the four islands of Hawaii (the Big Island), Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Students will learn about the cultural and natural history of Hawaii through a series of wide-ranging excursions which will include visits to Pearl Harbor, 'Iolani Palace, Mission Houses Museum, and the Bishop Museum as well as day-trips to the Volcanoes National Park, Honaunau Bay coral gardens, Waimea Canyon, and Waikiki.. (Instructors: M. Miller & W. Leeson)
 Photos from the 2009 trip to Hawaii

History Detectives
In this course students will explore the history and development of urban spaces in the 19th and 20th centuries through the study of a historic Roanoke neighborhood. Through readings, tours, guest lectures, and most especially intensive archival research into particular residential streets and buildings, students will study neighborhood change over time. In the process, students will practice the basic skills of historical archival research, and will learn how to trace the history of people and property in the historical record. Specific topics of interest will be urban planning, historic preservation, suburbanization, and urban renewal. A research fee of $50 will be charged for each student. (Instructor: Henold)

A "New Deal" for Roanoke: The Impact of the New Deal on Roanoke, VA
The New Deal helped rescue a nation from a severe economic depression and literally transformed the landscape of America. It created structures and institutions that have endured into the 21st century, including such places in the Roanoke Valley as the Veterans' Administration Medical Center and the Blue Ridge Parkway. This course specifically examines the social, economic and political impact of the New Deal on the Roanoke Valley.  (Instructor: J. Selby)

China: Kungfu and Its Cultural Values
This course is designed to introduce the student participants to the riches of Chinese martial arts (kungfu): their origin, history, cultural context, and spiritual values. Instead of viewing martial arts merely as sport or entertainment as most Westerners do, students will be able to study the rich culture that produces and nourishes the martial arts and the people who practice them. Students will also be exposed to the chivalrous spirit of xia or xiake (whose closest English translation is "chivalrous man" or "hero") and his role in maintaining order and justice in a world of outlaws. This is a travel course to China. Travel destinations will include the Shaolin Temple, the cradle of Chinese martial arts, and the Chen Family Village, where Tai Chi was originated. Participants will also visit some Buddhist temples, Taoist shrines, and the Confucius house and tombs, as well as a couple of ancient capitals. No Chinese language skills needed. 


 Photos from the 2009 trip to China
 Photos from the 2008 trip to France
 Photos from the 2009 trip to Hawaii

Learn more about the Intensive Learning program.

Katrina King: Roanoke helped me discover so much about myself

Katrina King: Roanoke helped me discover so much about myself

"My professors really helped me find my path," King says. She hopes to work in an art museum after graduate school.

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