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2013 Global Seminar


The Global Ghetto


“The Global Ghetto” will be taught in Rome, Italy, at St. John’s University, Rome Campus, and in Warsaw, Poland, at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews from June 10 – July 19, 2013.  The course is led by Mitchell Duneier, professor of sociology at Princeton University.

This seminar traces the birth and spread of the ghetto as a social form and metaphor throughout world history. It begins in Rome with one of the earliest and most famous restricted Jewish residential zones in a European city, and ends with other kinds of neighborhoods including gay ghettos, Chinatowns, and barrios. Along the way, students will explore the early modern Jewish ghettos of Frankfurt, Prague, and Venice; the Nazi-created ghettos in Poland during World War II; the Jewish immigrant ghettos of early 20th-century New York and Chicago; and the black ghettos in northern U.S. cities from World War II to the present. The course explores how the social form and metaphor emerged in different historical moments and what people inside and outside have made of the experience.

The first three-and-a-half weeks of the seminar will be held in Rome and Venice, and the final two weeks in Warsaw. In Rome, students will reside and take classes on the campus of St. Johns University. In addition to regular academic work, they will have an opportunity to engage in voluntary social-service work and humanitarian efforts with the lay Catholic Community of SantEgidio. In Poland, the seminar will be taught in cooperation with the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews. At each location, day trips will take place in and around the two host cities: to the Rome ghetto, the Vatican, the remains of the Warsaw ghetto, the Warsaw Jewish cemetery, the Krakow Jewish quarter (Kazimierz), the Schindler factory, and the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and death camp. In Rome, students will take a daily class in conversational Italian.
The course fulfills the Social Analysis (SA) requirement and is open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Admission is by application and interview.
For the syllabus, please contact Professor Mitchell Duneier at

Throughout the Aspire campaign a number of alumni and friends generously supported the Global Seminars.