College of Charleston
Center for International Education
Charleston, SC 29424
Spring: November 1
Summer: March 15
Fall: April 1
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CofC in Austria and Germany 2017: Religious Studies, Environmental Studies, and Urban Studies

Term To Study: Summer 2017
Application Deadline: Feb 06, 2017
Program Starts: Jun 05, 2017
Program Ends: Jun 29, 2017
Program Category: Multi-Country
Program Type: Faculty-led
Program Fee: $3,750
Program Countries:

Program Locations:

Austria Without locations
Germany Without locations
Contact Phone: 843-953-7661
Contact Name: Center For International Education
Contact Email:
What is Included: - Lodging
- Some meals
- Ground transportation
- Entrances into sites
- Overseas medical insurance
- $50 non-refundable application fee (will only be reimbursed if a student is not accepted into the program or if the program is cancelled)

* Program fee subject to change
What is not Included: - Tuition for six credits and associated fees
- Round-trip airfare to/from Europe
- Some meals
- Passport fees
- Personal expenses
Estimated Costs: In addition to the program fee, students will be charged for tuition and fees as follows:
* 2016-17 in-state tuition rate for six credits is $2,844 (plus Library, Technology and Part Time Fees)
* 2016-17 out-of-state tuition rate for six credits is $3,696 (plus Library, Technology and Part Time Fees). The out of state tuition for classes associated with travel are discounted from the Fall and Spring rates.
Program Description


Instruction will begin on the College of Charleston's campus on June 5, 2017. Travel dates are June 16-29, 2017.


Students take the following two courses:

RELS 298/ENVT 352: Nature Ethics and Ecovillages in Europe (3 credits)- This part of the program introduces students to the academic study of religion and nature, and also to the environmental humanities. This will be done through investigating the values and reasons that motivate some humans to live in intentional communities with a focus on ecovillages in Europe. Students will become familiar with key religious studies theories that help them to understand human-nature interactions, focusing on religious environmentalism and nature-as-sacred forms of religiosities. This exploration will be undertaken within the context of contemporary issues including the environmental crisis, sustainable agriculture, environmental justice, globalization, urban planning, sustainability, and concepts of ecotopia. Specific goals of the course are as follows:
1. To introduce students to the academic study of religion, including a brief exposure to key theorists and various methods for studying religion, focusing especially on religion and nature/ecology and this theoretical approach to the academic study of religion.
2. To gain a basic level of understanding and knowledge about how humans live in community, past and present, and the role of religion in how humans structure community life and the built environment.
3. To develop an appreciation for the myriad and often contentious views about economics, resource use, and architectural planning in today’s globalized world.
4. To help students encounter religious traditions outside of those in which they were raised/are most familiar with, thus helping to build citizenship and religious literacy skills.

Specific objectives of the course are as follows:
1. To facilitate the development of critical thinking skills regarding the study of utopias (and by default, dystopias).
2. To investigate and analyze how association with communities, and narratives about communities, act as a marker of identity, status, and privilege within and between communities and acts as a boundary marker between sacred/profane, prohibited/required, in-group/out-group.
3. To question how visions of utopia can both reinforce and/or subvert power dynamics based on gender and race in a community and in society.
4. To explore how various religious communities have and continue to grapple with social and environmental ethics in regards to structuring their built and social environments.
5. To gain a working knowledge about the historical development and current manifestations of the “ecovillage milieu,” which includes an on-site visit to an ecovillage.
6. To develop comfort in working with small groups and participating in class discussions, while also engaging in interdisciplinary discussions about religion/environmental humanities issues.

URST 313: Sustainable Urbanism (3 credits)- This is a course offered through the Urban Studies Program that is dedicated to studying the role of urban design, planning, and culture in fostering more sustainable living conditions. The students will be issued several course readings that outline the possible roles of urban design, transportation policy, and food security in increasing the sustainability of urban environments. Discussions will be held with students after encountering the different features of the European cities and ecovillages visited. A specific goal of these discussions will be linking the readings, eco-village practices, and local cultures that the students experience with the larger problems and prospects related to sustainability of Western cities as they currently stand. Students will be asked to critically appraise what sustainability actually means in the urbanization process, which is a direct outgrowth of capitalist societies and is often at odds with values of sustainability. The specific course objectives for URST 313 “Sustainable Urbanism” are as follows:
1. Identify the “systems within systems” that make a sustainable city.
2. Explain core concepts and theories within urban studies and urban planning regarding what makes a city sustainable.
3. Critically evaluate the role of cities and urbanization in the process of creating sustainable societies.
4. Communicate ideas effectively through writing, presentation and public speaking


This study away opportunity introduces students to sustainable urbanism and the Global Ecovillage Network in Austria and Germany. Students will spend time at a co-housing community in Austria, and two of Europe’s leading and visionary ecovillages in Germany. On the trip students will be exposed to permaculture, intentional communities and how they collaboratively undertake consensus decision making, alternative energy, alternative education, and sustained efforts for reducing a community’s ecofootprint. Students will also participate in walking tours of Vienna, Austria and Berlin, Germany that focus on sustainable urbanism and efforts of European cities to generate resilient infrastructure in the face of human population growth and global warming.

Students may participate in farming activities at the ecovillages, and may camp in tents at some of the ecovillages. Students will also participate in leisurely walking tours in various European cities.


Dr. Todd LeVasseur
Department of Religious Studies

Dr. Todd LeVasseur is Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) on Sustainability Literacy at College of Charleston, and is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Religious Studies and Environmental and Sustainability Studies program. His classes and research focuses on human/nature interactions within the context of sustainability, where these interactions are viewed through the lens of religion and the humanities, broadly. He has led two Summer I classes to Earthaven ecovillage in North Carolina, and in 2000 was a participant in the Global Ecovillage training at the Findhorn ecovillage in Scotland.

Dr. Kevin Keenan
Department of Political Science and Urban Studies

Dr. Keenan is Director of the Urban Studies Program at College of Charleston, and is an Associate Professor of Geography in the Department of Political Science. He has taught World Regional Geography, History and Theory of Urban Planning, Transportation Policy, Urban Applications of Geographic Information Systems, and Urban Geography. Each of these courses include several readings and class discussions on the role of city design in fostering sustainable living conditions, structures, and values in western societies. Dr. Keenan's research focuses on the creation of vulnerability in cities, and he is increasingly studying the broad range of phenomena that create conditions of insecurity.

Note: For questions regarding on-site program details and course content, please contact the program directors. Any inquiries regarding application processing, billing, or scholarship opportunities can be directed to the Center for International Education(contact information listed above).

Quick Facts

Population: 8219743
Capital: Vienna
Per-capita GDP: $ 42400
Size: 83871 km2
Time Zone: (GMT + 01:00 hour) Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris

US State Department

Travel Warning: YES
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College of Charleston Center for International Education