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International Programs

Crossing Borders


Program Dates

Spring break 2015


SPA 3750: Crossing Borders (aka Convivencia: Journey to al-Andalus) 4 cr.

A study-travel course throughout Spain to examine “la convivencia” (co-existence) of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Medieval Spain (711-1492). Students explore the sites, history, and art of these three religious groups, and learn how they understood one another and interacted. By visiting places such as the Jewish quarters and synagogues, the Muslim mosques and tea houses, and the walled Christian cities, we observe how these diverse flavors still intermingle on the Peninsula. Included are visits to the Alhambra, Mezquita, the Giralda, and other historical and cultural sites. Lectures given during the Spring semester. Travel takes place during spring break. Taught in English. No prerequisite. Open to all students.

Students may receive Religious and Theological Studies credit with special permission. Course satisfies the X(Experiential Learning) in the LS Core, a JCM minor requirement, or a Spanish major/minor requirement with permission from instructor.


As we explore this formative period in the history of Western civilization, we visit Cordoba, the center of Islamic rule in Spain; Sevilla, the favored city of Christian monarchs; Granada, the city of the Alhambra built by Nasrid kings; and Toledo, a center of creativity – the old capital of pre-Islamic Christian Visigoths, which in the 11th and 12th centuries became the intellectual capital of Europe. We visit Ronda, a dramatically sited town in the mountains of Sierra de Grazalema and walk the surrounding pueblos blancos - white villages that dot this magnificent mountain region.