HONR 299 Making the Human in Venice

“Making the Human in Venice” will take students to the Veneto province of Italy for Maymester and will have as its textbook the Venetian empire itself. On a typical day, the class might begin in a classroom for lecture and discussion of a particular building, art work, or sculpture, and then move out into Venice itself to experience first-hand that place or object. Theory, in other words, will always meet up with practice, as students quite literally wander through the landscape of their study. A case study of Tintoretto’s last supper paintings, for example, leads to a tour of the original works.

Following in the footsteps of earlier travelers, we will discover the history of the Venetian empire on its streets and in its piazzas, in its many museums, monuments, and palaces, as well as its pizzerias and gelaterias. This is, in other words, a course for all of the senses:  as we take in the incomparable sights, sounds, scents, and tastes of the Veneto, we will get a feel, in the most literal way, for this beguiling region. Venice is an idea best understood with the mind and the body.

In our attempts to understand how the history, politics, art, and culture of Venice are entangled—and entangled, too, with the powerful fantasies produced about Italy by outside observers—we will take up the interests and methodologies of a number of disciplines, including history, literature, art history, architecture, the history of science, social anthropology, and music appreciation. An interdisciplinary approach to the study of Venice introduces students not only to a variety of academic fields, but also to the basic practices of cultural critique. Perhaps most importantly, this approach asks students to think analytically about their own experiences as travelers, about the complex ways that culture is produced, and about the mutually constitutive relationship between reality and representation.


Course Description


  1. -Dino Franco Felluga

Locations and Dates

CIMBA campus

Paderno del Grappa

May 16-May 30, 2015

San Servolo

Venice, Italy

May 30-June 13, 2015

Links of Note

Purdue U Honors College


San Servolo Servizi

Venice International U


Felluga: felluga@purdue.edu


Pictured: Piazza San Marco