Wake Forest University in Vienna: Flow House Summer Session I
Intro to Religion: Symbols, Dreams and the City
Karlskirche in Vienna WFU's Flow House Venus of Willendorf
Location Although Vienna is famous for its music—Mozart, Brahms, and Beethoven all lived and worked home—it was also home to wonderful artists and patrons of the arts. Vienna’s best loved artist is Gustav Klimt, who was part of a vibrant artistic scene at the beginning of the 20th century visual art collections. The city’s world class museums have collections that span prehistoric to contemporary art. Vienna is a culturally diverse and vibrant city. It is home to the Vienna Boys' Choir, the famous Lipizzaner stallions, and countless coffee houses (an integral part of Viennese life). Located in the heart of Europe, students may easily travel east to the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary and west to France, Italy, Spain, England, and Switzerland.
In 1998, Wake Forest purchased a three-story villa in Vienna. The acquisition was made possible through the generous donation of Vic and Roddy Flow of Winston-Salem and the House was named in their honor. Built in 1898, the house was formerly the office of the U.S. Consulate.
Flow House is situated in a northwest section of Vienna, one block from the Turkenschanz Park. Located in the prestigious 19th district, the area is well-known for its embassies, diplomatic residences, and distinguished private homes.
Summer Session I: mid May - Mid June 2015
Academic Program REL 101: Introduction to Religion (D)
REL 390: Topics in REL: Symbols, Dreams, and the City (for REL majors and minors)
Taught in the cosmopolitan city of Vienna in the summer of 2015, this course offers an interdisciplinary study of community, meaning, and value as expressed in religious experience across centuries. On the basis of select site-specific case studies, we will engage with a wide spectrum of religious or spiritually inspired texts and practices that have shaped and are shaping a vibrant contemporary cityscape. We will take advantage of our location by exploring Vienna’s unique religious east/west axis and its legacy as the historical gathering place for a diversity of cultures from pre-history to the present such as Islam, Buddhism, Christian Orthodox Communities, Roma People’s Lifeways, and Ashkenazi and Sephardic Judaism.
The focus of our course on dreams and symbols is honoring one of the founding fathers of religious studies and one of Vienna’s most famous citizens, the creator of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Through Sigmund Freud’s towering presence, scholars in religious studies have learned to appreciate the power of dreams and the rich meaning of symbols. Initiating a critical study of religion, Freud has raised questions about religion as illusion, as infantile desire, and a collective denial of violence. Our course will integrate readings of Freud’s classical studies of religion with a visit to the Sigmund Freud house, and explore the psychoanalytic impulse in Viennese fin-de-siècle culture and its impact on American film (e.g., Arthur Schnitzler’s novella Dream Story and Stanley Kubrick’s last film, Eyes Wide Shut). Special emphasis will be place in Sigmund Freud’s Jewish heritage in an anti-semitic climate.
Another famous figure of Austrian history is the prehistoric religious icon called the Venus of Willendorf, who was found in the Wachau region outside of Vienna. We will explore prehistoric symbols and the origins of religious evolution through readings and several field trips, and traced their commemoration and resurgence in contemporary neo-pagan (Neuheidentum), esoteric (shamanic), and feminist spirituality movements.
Vienna is also known as the “city of catacombs and graves” and a rich culture of mourning the dead through its arts, including music, literature, and painting. Mozart’s Requiem and Milos Forman’s film Amadeus open a window into the intersection of spirituality, city, and creative genius. Visits to famous cemeteries and catacombs will offer a meditative exploration of Vienna’s culture of death.
As a globally networked urban hub, we close our summer course with an exploration of urban issues for contemporary Viennese religious immigrant communities of Muslim, Hindu, and Roma heritage and visit cultural festivals and other community events as time permits.
Seminar Format: Reflections on methodology and the contemporary relevance of religion will emerge through intense engagement with texts, events, site-specific research, and field trips. For each class session, students will prepare discussion points, reflective insights, and a summary of assigned readings and films. The instructor will provide introductory lectures as necessary; our main focus will be on the discussion, comparison, and reflection of experiential explorations of Vienna’s religious landscapes and secondary and primary materials. Several films and regular field trips will complement the readings and highlight the emotional, everyday life complexities behind sometimes abstract spiritual as well as academic teachings.
Flow House can accommodate sixteen students. There are five student bedrooms on the top floor. A classroom, spacious kitchen, library with state-of-the-art technology, dining room, and living room are located on the middle floor. The house is wired for Internet access and students may bring their laptop computers. A three-bedroom faculty apartment is on the first floor. The house contains separate laundry facilities for faculty and students.
The total cost of summer study abroad can be broken down into four categories:
*Program Fee - Usually covers room, in-country travel, excursions, some meals and other costs associated with the program. *Tuition – Students on WFU summer programs pay WFU summer school tuition per credit hour. The summer 2014 rate was $900/per credit hour. Expect a small increase for summer 2015. *Airfare (estimated) – Varies per location. Students are responsible for their own airfare unless otherwise noted. *Personal Expenses (estimated) – These will vary depending on the students' spending habits, cost of living in the destination country, and the number of meals included in the program fee. This may also include visa fees, vaccinations, academic supplies/books and other miscellaneous daily expenses.
Program Fee (estimated) - $2,900
Tuition (3 hrs, estimated) - $2,700
Airfare (estimated) - $1,700 Estimated Personal Expenses - $1,500 Estimated total cost -$8,800
The faculty director is responsible for the selection of each group based on the following criteria:
*Social and emotional maturity
*Interest in Vienna
*Seriousness of the student in pursuing the academic and cultural aims of the program
None. Open to all majors. There is no foreign language requirement.
Students may apply for scholarships through the Center for Global Programs and Studies.
Contact Information Dr. Ulrike Wiethaus, Professor of Religion
Phone: (336) 758 7169
Gustaf Tschermakgasse 20
1190 Vienna, Austria
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