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Second-Year Grant from Woodrow Wilson Foundation Expands Teachers As Scholars Program
Detail of Japanese map from Edo period.

Second-Year Grant from Woodrow Wilson Foundation Expands Teachers As Scholars Program

Grant to UCLA International supports new seminars in 2002 -- focusing on the politics and poetry of maps, on coming of age in Africa, and on Islam & the West

Jonathan Friedlander Email JonathanFriedlander

The Practice, Politics and Poetry of Maps
February 23, February 28, March 21, April 11


This enrichment seminar will explore what maps reveal about human actions and imagination, both in the past and present. Looking at historical maps provides a clue to how various societies have viewed the world. Analyzing borders and boundaries tells us how societies, including our own, view themselves in relationship to the rest of the world. The role of maps in art, poetry, and literature tells us that maps can reflect a society's basic beliefs and emotions.


We will look at maps in their historical context, using maps from different periods, from early human history to the present, and from different regions and cultures. We will compare maps from Polynesia, Mesoamerica, East Asia, Southwest Asia, and Europe.

 How do various types of maps provide us with different views of the world? In what ways can maps be deceptive? What problems confront cartographers in our technologically changing, globally interconnected world? What do maps reveal about the societies that produce them?


How have cartographic imagery and maps of imaginary places functioned in and enriched Western and non-Western literature and pictorial art? What are the psychological meanings of real and imaginary maps? By the end of the seminar you will understand maps and their role in human societies from many perspectives. 


The End Of Childhood: African Perspectives
March 30, April 17, May 15, June 5

The questions surrounding this theme are profound and far-reaching. The seminar will explore the meaning of “the end of childhood” and how it’s expressed in Africa. Can it be defined simply as coming of age, or acquiring experience?  Is it the loss of innocence? How is it related to war, revolution, resistance, and social turmoil?

Participants in this seminar will explore how cultures in various African countries throughout history have dealt with the question of when childhood ends and adult life begins. How do the various cultures deal with the “rites of passage” to adulthood? How have political and social realities influenced transition from childhood? How has “coming of age” been portrayed in literature, and what are the important literary works that focus on the process of “growing up”? 

Are economic factors in the emerging global economy thrusting adult responsibilities onto children? Do modern African realities advance or delay the age at which minors assume adulthood?

We will read and discuss a variety of academic and literary works on the subject. Teachers will consider a number of key critical-thinking activities related to standards-based learning: comparing and contrasting cultures, framing questions for research, evaluating primary resources, and explaining the influence of geography and historic events on culture.

The multicultural approach will allow teachers to examine and understand key issues from the points of view of the many cultures and backgrounds of their own students. Training in various new media technologies will enable the participating teachers to keep in touch with the scholars, and with each other, as well as to contribute to a website that will highlight both teacher and student work and serve as source material for future participants in the seminar.

The Clash Of Civilizations: Islam and the West

April 6, April 18, May 16, June 6


Over the last several months, there have been a number of attempts to understand the catastrophe of 11 September.  Most conspicuously, journalists, policy-makers, and the general public have sought to understand the crime by applying Samuel Huntington’s thesis as presented in his Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order. According to Huntington, the world is divided into a number of "civilizations," each of which has its own unique characteristics and values which are incompatible with those held by other "civilizations," inevitably leading to conflict.  The purpose of this three-day seminar is to determine whether this thesis accurately represents the international situation, and, if not, to pose alternatives.

Participants in this seminar will read and discuss the thesis itself, as well as its most devastating critique, presented in Edward Said’s Orientalism, a book ironically published two decades before Huntington’s.  Said not only dismisses the idea of incommensurable civilizations, he traces the evolution of the idea of distinct "civilizations" from its roots in ancient Greece through the present day. We shall also look at various short works (by Andrew Sullivan, Muhammad Khatami, Sayyid Qutb, Salman Rushdie, Edward Said, James L. Gelvin) that have been written in answer to the crime of 11 September in an effort to ascertain the usefulness of the "clash of civilizations" thesis for understanding recent events and the world in which we live


For further information call (310) 206-8631 or visit the UCLA Teachers as Scholars website.

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