“Made in Italy: Intercultural Encounters in the Veneto” — an exhibit of ethnographically informed work by students from the course — will take place Oct. 9-12 in Deering Commons.
During the course, students learned Italian and explored the human ecology of the Veneto region: spanning Venice with its canals and the sea, to flat agricultural land, to rolling hills with vineyards, to the craggy peaks of the Dolomites; shaped by histories of war, amazing forms of tradition and community, and currently, rapid development and globalization.
As has been typical of COA’s other cultural programs abroad — such as in Mexico, Guatemala, and France — this course emphasized immersive, experiential learning in the local language. The focus of this particular program was ethnography and anthropological fieldwork.
In Italy, students observed various cultures of work: bread baking, cheese making, neurocognitive rehabilitation, veterinary practice, community revitalization projects, care for persons with disabilities, beekeeping and honey production, wood artisanship, social support for migrants, and garment production.
The exhibit will showcase work that they presented to the very communities in which they worked, but with the question of how such intercultural encounters shape and reshape ourselves and others, both abroad and “at home,” as part of a larger journey of educational and life experience.
The exhibit on campus is a re-translation of the exhibit the students produced in Italy, “Visti Da Fuori,” which appeared at the Villa Rossi in Santorso, Italy, May 31 and June 1.
Students in the course whose work is featured include Taylor Thomas-Marsh, Addie Namnoum, Delphinia Remaniak, Casey Acklin, Jacquelyn Jenson, Olivia Bolus, Annarose Maddamma, Mel Steinberg, Samantha D’Onofrio, Katja Flukiger and Tara Allen.
On Thursday beginning at 6 p.m., an opening reception with coffee, tea and biscotti will be followed by a Q-and-A with students and faculty, a slide show and film screening. A similar program will be offered again at 4:15 Saturday, Oct. 11, discussion with interested families, students, and alumni.
Visiting faculty member Salvatore Poier hails from the Veneto, and his specialized, local knowledge of the region made the course possible. He holds a Ph.D (2009) from the University of Milan (Statale) in philosophy and sociology of law. His research focuses on the critical study of intellectual property law and information technology. He offers courses at COA on social theory and piracy.
Cabot — who holds a Ph.D. (2010) and M.A. (2005) in cultural anthropology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a B.A. in religion and the humanities from the University of Chicago (2001) — joined COA’s faculty in 2011 after a postdoctoral appointment in the Program in Hellenic Studies at Princeton University.
Her teaching engages a range of topics within anthropology as well as issues of relevance to students interested in sociocultural theory, law, ethics, advocacy and activism, and social science methodologies. Her most recent research project included 20 months of intensive ethnographic fieldwork in Greece and examined asylum seeking and legal aid practices in Athens. Her work has been funded by the Fulbright Foundation, The National Science Foundation, the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation.
Cabot’s book, “On the Doorstep of Europe: Asylum and Citizenship in Greece,” was recently published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Michael Herzfeld of Harvard University described it as “original, vividly written, and ethnographically rich.”