ISL South Africa: A Study in Transitional Justice has moved from winter interterm to summer!
Stay tuned for more details! ISL South Africa provides DU students the opportunity to integrate academic study with community engagement in Cape Town, Republic of South Africa (RSA). Open to undergraduate and graduate students of all majors, this DU International Service Learning program integrates academic knowledge with service, cultural immersion, and practical field experience. The program is directed by Professor William Gowensmith from the DU Graduate School of Professional Psychology and his wife Deborah Gowensmith, who together through the years, have led numerous student service learning experiences in RSA.
ISL South Africa: A Study in Transitional Justice is a course designed to expose, teach and give students first-hand experience with the history and present challenges of South Africa and how that correlates to both the United States and the global community. This course will expose students to course topics through academic and experiential approaches. Prior to departure students will attend five classes to prepare them for their experience in the RSA. Classroom study will include RSA history and an examination of policy implications on both small and large scale change in the country. Learning will be conducted through discussion, lectures, group projects, readings, videos and art projects. All material will be filtered through the lens of social justice and restorative relationships.
While in Cape Town, students will engage in service learning for approximately 32 hour per week. Possible service placements include public health centers and hospitals, HIV/AIDS organizations, environmental organizations, institutes focusing on political and psychological responses to national trauma and restoration, and other non-profit/community-built social justice organizations. Field placements will prioritize policy implications, both for the organizations themselves and for the people and places they serve. Students will also attend lectures by local scholars and community leaders. Academic topics will include the history of the RSA (ethnicity, immigration, HIV/AIDS, increased crime rate) and cultural aspects of the RSA.
An optional two day safari will be made available at the end of the program at a small additional cost to the student.
The RSA has a long and rich history of culture, politics, oppression, and hope. The Boer War near the turn of the 20th century was a culmination of decades of tension and turmoil amongst colonizing countries and indigenous peoples. Ultimately, the British and the Dutch peoples (known as "Whites") consolidated power, using religion, finances, and firepower to take economic and political control of the RSA for themselves. This systematically implemented and enforced apartheid, depriving "Blacks" (people of African descent) of their rights. Conflict ensued as the South African government and opposition movements used violent tactics to achieve their goals. Soon the country descended into an undeclared civil war. RSA was nearly torn apart, only to become one of the most democratic nations on the African continent after the first free and fair elections in 1992. Today, RSA is a country of contrasts: free to discuss ethnicity and racial issues with ease and honesty, but still facing incredible disparities across ethnic and racial lines. As a result, RSA is a crucible for social justice education.
ISL South Africa is directed by Professor William Neil Gowensmith from DU's Graduate School of Professional Psychology and his wife Deborah Gowensmith. While this will be the Gowensmiths first trip to South Africa with DU students, the pair have been leading service-learning trips to South Africa and working with organizations in and around Cape Town for the past decade.
Contact Information: William.Gowensmith@du.edu