J-Term, January 2 - 24, 2013
Dr. Brian Pennington, Professor of Religion, Anderson Hall 206 (865) firstname.lastname@example.org
· Visit Hindu temples & healing centers, mosques, synagogues & churches
· Jeep tour, hike and boat ride in Periyar Tiger Reserve
· Opportunities for yoga, cooking, dance & musical instruments
· Visit spice markets and spice garden
· Kathakali Dance Drama Performance
· Explore Jain Temple & caves
Traveling to India will introduce students to the diversity of contemporary South India and address global issues of social structure, class, religious identity and gender. The course will include many opportunities to engage with locals to learn about this rapidly changing society. This J-Term program is in partnership with Elon University.
The program begins and ends in Chennai, where we will engage in lectures, demonstrations, and presentations from local experts and professors, break into small-groups according to student interest for Directed Study opportunities (e.g. yoga, cooking, dance, music), take advantage of live dance and music performances, and explore the city on several walking tours.
Leaving Chennai, we will travel southward along the coast to visit Dakschinachitra (a center for art, crafts, architecture, and performing arts) and tour the eBay India Office before reaching Mahabalipuram,where we willmeet with a local artisans and engage in faculty lectures and student presentations in an open-air, beachside classroom.
We will take the Pandiyan Express overnight train to Madurai to visit the Meenakshi Sundaresvarar Temple, Jain caves, and Murugan Temple. We will stay to learn about the Muslim community in Madurai, including conversations with Muslim artists and community leaders, visits to a mosque, Islamic school, Vidiyal Children’s Home, and a Hindu temple and healing center that attracts people from other faiths.
En route to the Periyar Tiger Reserve, we will stop at Blue Mango, an NGO that provides training and work opportunities to marginalized women (especially widows, survivor’s of domestic violence, and women who are HIV-positive). . We will spend the next day at Periyar Tiger Reserve with a local guide from one of the area’s indigenous communities. We will observe wildlife from Jeeps, hike, and go on at least one boat ride on the large lake in the center of the Reserve. The following day we will take an overnight houseboat through the Kerala backwaters where we can observe how daily life unfolds along the waterways.
We will spend the next days in Cochin where we will visit the oldest European church in India as well as the Cochin Synagogue and its surrounding Jewish community. We will attend a lecture with an official from the Communist Party of Kerala who will address why this state has achieved the highest human development indicators in the country.
Next, we travel to a village outside Palakkad where we will spend time with host families, learn about local agricultural practices and industries, and visit the Malampuzha Dam and Snake Park. That evening we will host a Kathakali dance drama performance and spend the night with our village hosts. our host families.
We return to Chennai with additional opportunities for Directed Study, free time for independent exploration of the city, and closing discussions.
Jan 2 In transit: USA to Chennai, India
Jan 3 In transit: USA to Chennai, India
Jan 4-7 Chennai: Directed Study opportunities such as yoga, cooking, dance, musical instruments; Attend seasonal concerts, recitals, and performances; Walking tours including temples, cathedrals, spice markets and “Bazaar Trails”: Lectures: Languages & Literatures of India; Women and Law
Jan. 8 Ideal Beach Resort, Mahabalipuram: Visit Dakshinachitra center for arts, crafts, architecture, and folk and performing arts of South India; Lecture and presentations in open-air, beachside classroom
Jan. 9 Ideal Beach Resort, Mahabalipuram: Visit 7th century rock-cut monuments of Pallava dynasty and lecture from traditional sculptor-artisan; Lecture and presentations in open-air, beachside classroom
Jan. 10 Pandiyan Express to Madurai: Visit eBay India office; overnight train to Madurai
Jan. 11 Madurai: Visit Meenakashi Sundaresvarar Temple; Optional visit to Jain caves and Murugan Temple
Jan. 12 Madurai: Discussion with Muslim artist and visit to mosque and Islamic School;
Visit Vidiyal Children’s Home; Visit to Muslim dargah (tomb/shrine) and Pandi Koyil (Hindu temple and healing center); Dinner and presentations at hilltop Taj Garden Retreat
Jan. 13 Thekkady: Visit Blue Mango (NGO for marginalized women); Travel to Periyar Tiger Reserve
Jan. 14 Periyar: Jeep tour with indigenous guide, hike, and boat ride in Tiger Reserve
Jan. 15 Thekkady/Periyar: Boat ride on Periyar Lake; overnight on houseboats through the Kerala backwaters
Jan. 16 Cochin: Reading and relaxing on houseboats; visit oldest European church in India
Jan. 17 Cochin: Visit Cochin synagogue and explore surrounding area (known as “Jew Town”)
Dutch Cemetery and lecture with Communist Party of Kerala official
Jan. 18 Village near Palakkad: Visit Spice Garden; visit local tourist attractions (Snake Park and Dam);
Kathakali Dance Drama Performance; Homestay with host family
Jan. 19 Village: Spend time with host families; overnight train to Chennai
Jan. 20-22 Chennai: Directed Study opportunities such as yoga, cooking, dance, musical instruments; Visit the Government
Museum; Faculty-led discussions; Free-time for exploration
Jan. 23-24 In-transit: Chennai to USA
Optional Activities: Jain caves and Murugan Temple
The price includes: Roundtrip airfare, local transportation, housing, 2 meals/day, travel visa& travel insurance
Not included: Additional spending money, tips, travel vaccinations, passport (approximately $130 if you don't have one)