University Honors Program

University Honors Program

Mediterranean Roots of Western Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective

Spring quarter honors seminar with study tour to Greece and Turkey (15HIST399H)

***This seminar and study tour have been canceled due to low enrollment.***

The course provides an overview of the foundations of Western culture and society from the perspective of culture, society, architecture, design, fine arts and the political structures involving the regions of ancient and modern day Greece and Turkey. The ten-week, quarter-long seminar will contain lectures from four instructors representing different areas of interest and expertise: 

  • from an historical perspective, the course will include a focus on how human societies changed their modes of interaction through conflict and peaceable exchange at different points in time and space, challenging the so-called Islamo-Christian divide, and learning how contemporary Mediterraneans view each other and themselves in the 21st century;
  • from an architectural perspective, the course will include a focus on and the built environment of buildings and cities with the inclusion of artifacts and artistic products;
  • from a business perspective, the course will include a review of the evolution of international trade, the World Trade Organization, the advent of Regionalization, the concept, genesis and evolution of the European Union (EU),  the current challenges to the Eurozone, and, the evolving global economy.

The course culminates in a required study tour to Greece and Turkey, detailed below. 

Background information:
Guardian interview with Henry Finkel, about the Bosphorus.

Itinerary (Subject to Change)

Travel dates are expected to be Tuesday, June 5 - Sunday, June 17. These are subject to change, but travel will fall within this date range.

In Greece, the group will visit Athens and likely see the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, and also participate in an excursion to the island of Eyina.

In Turkey, the group will visit Istanbul. Sites and activities may include the Grand Bazaar, Spice Market, Topkapi Place, the Hippodrome area,  Sultanahmet Square (Aya Sophia, the Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Kulliyesi complex, and the near by 6th C cistern), and SS Sergius & Bacchus (Kucuk Ayasofya Camii). The group will not visit all of these sites, but this is a sampling of what you might expect to see.

Please note that the group will depart during finals week. It is each individual student's responsibility to make arrangements with instructors of their other classes if there are conflicts with final exams or assignments. Students must communicate with these instructors as early as possible (before the quarter begins if at all possible) to discuss and determine whether alternate arrangements can be made for the final exam/assignment.

Cost is expected to be $3700 per student. This will be offset by an honors grant of $1000, making the actual expected cost $2700. All participants will automatically receive the honors grant.

Costs include airfare, most ground transportation, accommodations, some meals, admission fees, and program fees.

Costs do not include passport, ISIC card, insurance, and most meals.

Students are required to purchase an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) from UC International for $22. This is not included in the total expected cost.

Participants can apply for grants from UC International

Application required.

Application deadline extended to January 30, 2012! Submit applications to  Applicants will be notified of their status prior to spring quarter registration. Applicants may be contacted for an interview with the faculty directors.

University Honors students must be in good standing with the UHP to participate.

UC undergraduates who are not in the University Honors Program are welcome and encouraged to apply to participate, provided the student has a cumulative university GPA of 3.4 or above. Graduate students are not eligible to enroll. 

A waiting list will be maintained.

Contact one of the faculty directors - Dr. Elizabeth Frierson (, Hank  Hildebrandt (, Constantine Polychroniou (, or Ufuk Adak ( - or Debbie Brawn in Honors (