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SEA Summer Session

Historic Seaports of Western Europe

Explore Western Europe by sea...The historic seaports of Ireland, France, Portugal, and Spain all have stories to tell. Celebrate their past, present, and future as you explore each one from the platform of a traditional sailing vessel. Learn about the rich maritime traditions of these ancient cities and address how they have evolved over time as the result of globalization. Visit four distinct nations for a taste of their unique, vibrant cultures, drawing comparisons from each to create a truly global summer experience.

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Summer 2016 | Western Europe

Application Deadline: April 15, 2016

What?

This voyage will sail along the coastal waters of Western Europe, combining several short cruise legs with a single longer passage. Port stops in France, Portugal, and Spain will offer first-hand interactions with communities intricately tied to ocean resources and maritime trades both historically and today.

Where?

Cruise Track: Cork, Ireland to Cádiz, Spain
Destinations: Cork, Ireland > Douarnenez, France > Lisbon, Portugal > Cádiz, Spain

When?

July 6 - August 4, 2016

Brief shore component in Cork aboard ship
July 6 - August 4: In Cork & At Sea

Who Should Apply?

This program is ideal for Humanities or Social Science majors who are interested in learning more about the oceans from a historical perspective. We welcome students of all majors to apply.

Program Description

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The marine environment has had a major historical role in shaping the human experience of Western European ports. In this program we will examine the major historical transformations in European maritime activity in the eastern North Atlantic, paying particular attention to the development of fisheries (late medieval to the present), trade (early modern to modern), and nautical technology.

Three separate 3-day port stops in France, Portugal, and Spain will offer first-hand interactions with communities intricately tied to ocean resources and maritime trades both historically and today. Each port we visit will be a focal point of regional maritime history, where we will explore social, political, economic, environmental, and cultural changes.

Students will begin the program on board the SSV Corwith Cramer in Cork, Ireland, a port city that maintains a long history with the sea. After a brief orientation to the ship, program, and city while dockside on the River Lee, we will set sail along the coastal waters of Western Europe, combining several short cruise legs with a single longer passage. After a four-day sail downwind to western Brittany, students will arrive in the ancient fishing town of Douarnenez, France, where they will visit a maritime museum, tour ancient Celtic and Roman sites, and sample the glorious local cuisine. They will then sail across the Bay of Biscay, around Cape Finisterre, and down the Portuguese coast to Lisbon (chances are very good for encounters with charismatic megafauna along the way including finbacks, pilot whales, and dolphins!). They will partake in many of the splendors Lisbon has to offer including walking tours of the old neighborhoods, visits to world-class museums, the sounds of traditional Fado music, and amazing food. Finally, another four days of sailing will bring them to the ancient Spanish city of Cadiz, near the Straits of Gibraltar, where the program and students' final projects will conclude.

Historic Seaports of Western Europe is designed for students representing a wide diversity of backgrounds and interests, but especially those who want to understand environmental, political and cultural changes within a historical context.

Course Description & Syllabus

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Academic Credit

Summer Session II carries 4 semester hour credits from Boston University for successful completion of the program.

Course Descriptions

Maritime History & Culture (300-level, 4 credits)

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Explore impacts of European maritime ventures on the societies they contacted in the Atlantic or Pacific, with focus on the resulting social, political, economic, and cultural changes. Investigate responses documented in the post-Colonial literature of indigenous people.

Syllabus

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"SEA Semester was the perfect environment to learn about a vastly important but often overlooked part of our world, the oceans. The classroom time was very engaging and I learned a great deal in this more traditional academic environment. Of course, the sea component will probably be the most memorable aspect of my undergraduate education."

Evan Oleson
Economics Major
Williams College