Romantic Poetry, International Organizations and Radicalism in the Swiss, French and Italian Alps
Professor Robert Barsky
Credit: 3 hours Eligibility: NO PREREQUISITES. The program is open to all students in good academic standing, and with consent of instructor AXLE: HCR (we can work with students in need of specific credits given the diversity of the material)
Despite (or perhaps because of) the conservatism of the Swiss and the image of Switzerland as a place of political neutrality, banking and watch-making, the Swiss Alps have sheltered and inspired generations of radical creative and political work, by a host of artists, Romantic poets (i.e. Wordsworth, Shelley and Byron), anarchists (Bakunin, Kropotkin and the Jura Federation), and, in Ascona, an incredible group of visiting artists and writers (Mary Wigman, Hermann Hesse, D.H. Lawrence, Isadora Duncan, C.G.Jung, Franz Kafka, Paul Tillich and Max Weber).
One reason for this is that the conservative Switzerland is tightly guarded, and ruled in accordance with international legal instruments and laws that have made it a safe haven for persecuted persons, and a fertile ground for international organizations charged with upholding human rights. Another reason is the sheer grandeur and inpenetrability of the high Alps has led to the establishment of specific kinds of political regimes that have been largely protected by repeated incursions and allowed for a certain protective neutrality.
In this Maymester, Professor Robert Barsky will make this link between radicalism and creativity, safe haven and international law, medicine and international engagement, by exploring institutes, specialists and natural settings in the Alps of Switzerland, Italy and France. Beginning in Geneva, the students will be introduced to the international legal and non-governmental organizations that uphold international laws, notably the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the UN, and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. There, students will meet with high-ranking officials from those organizations, and witness firsthand the kinds of work that is directed from the Geneva offices.
While based in Geneva, we will also undertake a day trip to Lausanne, where students will also have access to archives of work from political radicals, notably Reclus, Kropotkin and Bakunin, as well as documents relating to Swiss experiments in radical reform, including the work of the Jura watchmakers. The class will then visit Montreux, where they will encounter the worlds of Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley and others through visits to the regions so dear to all of them, including the Chateau Chillon and the Villa Diodati.
We will then move to the area around Lucano, Locarno and Monte Verità, where a remarkable set of radical communities created monumental works. Artists and other famous people attracted to this hill included Hermann Hesse, Carl Jung, Erich Maria Remarque, Hugo Ball, Else Lasker-Schüler, Stefan George, Isadora Duncan, Carl Eugen Keel, Paul Klee, Carlo Mense, Arnold Ehret, Rudolf Steiner, Mary Wigman, Max Picard, Ernst Toller, Henry van de Velde, Fanny zu Reventlow, Rudolf Laban, Frieda and Else von Richthofen, Otto Gross, Erich Mühsam, Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach,Walter Segal, Max Weber, and Gustav Stresemann, and Gustav Nagel.
And finally, on to the awe-inspiring region of Mont Blanc, Chamonix and the Mont Blanc pass, where students will stay to enjoy the settings that so inspired poets and writers, most notably those of the Romantic era. A range of other activities characteristic of Switzerland and France, including boating, skiing, and alpine exploration will comple-ment the academic work and inspire new reflections into this sublime world.
Cost per student is approximately $8,000. Fees include tuition, accommodation, occasional group meals, public transportation between sites, and tickets for cultural activities. It does not include regular meals, incidental expenses, and airfare (BNA-Geneva), for which a common itinerary will be developed. Fees and dates are subject to change. Upon acceptance into the course students will reserve their seat by paying a $500 deposit, which will be applied to the total course fee. Course being offered is contingent upon enrolling at least 10 qualified students by the end of January.
Lord Byron's "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" http://www.archive.org/stream/childeharoldspi20byrogoog#page/n10/mode/2up
Lord Byron's "Don Juan" http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21700/21700-h/21700-h.htm
William Wordsworth "The Prelude" http://www.bartleby.com/145/ww287.html
David Ellis's Byron in Geneva (2011)
International Migration, international health, and Human Rights Law texts (available online)
The Maymester begins in Geneva, there is no Vanderbilt segment this year.
Sunday, May 6th, we will meet up at Hotel Cornavin, in Geneva at 4PM in the restaurant upstairs. Participants book their own flights, but can work with Vanderbilt's travel agent if desired. I will provide every participant with a 15 day train pass, good for travel anywhere in Switzerland, and a one-week public transportation pass, good for travel anywhere in Geneva.
Hôtel Cornavin, Gare de Cornavin, 1201 Genève
T: ++41 22 716 12 12 Fax: ++41 22 716 12 00
Sunday May 6th Orientation in Geneva
People will be arriving at different hours, but I expect that we will meet for brunch at noon, and then a Boat tour of Lake Geneva! We then have our first discussion at 7PM, followed by a cheese fondu supper.
Monday, May 7th, 2PM, International Red Cross (ICRC)
Benjamin Wolf , Bea Vanhove, Odile de Lastelle, of Visitors' Service
International Committee of the Red Cross
19 avenue de la Paix
for the 25 students of Vanderbilt University, United States accompanied by Professor Robert Barsky
and for 26 students from the MCI Management Centre Innsbruck, Austria accompanied by Dr Natascha Zeitel- Bank, Lecturer International Health Organizations
Auditorium, building 3
1.50 p.m. Arrival of the visitors at the ICRC and welcome by
Ms Bea Vanhove, Visitors' Service
2.00 p.m. Film: Panorama 08
2.15 p.m. "The ICRC and its activities in the field - a focus on health", presentation
by Ms Elisabeth Le Saout, Medical Doctor, Deputy Head of the Health
Unit, Assistance Division
Questions – Answers
3.15 p.m. Break
3.30 p.m. "International humanitarian law", presentation by
Ms Anna Leshchinskaya, Legal Attaché for the Revision of the
Commentaries of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional
Protocols of 1977, Legal Division
Questions – Answers
4.30 p.m. End of the visit to the ICRC
Tuesday, May 8th United Nations High Commission for Refugees AND the International Organization for Migration AND Doctor's without Borders
10:00AM-1PM, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, tour and discussion with senior researchers, Guido Ambrosio and Jeff Crisp, including lunch, organized by M.J.Angelika Montillot, Coordinator, Visitors' Centre, Division of External Relations
94, rue de Montbrillant
1211 Genève 2, Suisse
Tel.: +41 22 739 88 12
2:30-4:00PM, International Organization for Migration
Kristina, Director of International LawInternational Organization for Migration (IOM)
17, Route des Morillons
CH-1211 Geneva 19
Tel: +41.22.717 9111 ; Fax: +41.22.798 6150
7PM, meeting at Hotel with Medecins sans frontières, for a meal at the buvette des Bains de Pâquis
Nina Privitera, Médecins Sans Frontières / Ärzte ohne Grenzen
Rue de Lausanne 78, 1211 Geneva 21
Wednesday, May 9th United Nations AND World Trade Organization
10:30AM-3PM, United Nations, tour followed by closed conference discussions with Catherine Fegli, United Nations Officer.
Guided tour followed by discussion, organized by Catherine Fegli (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Sophie Aleksa.
We will enter at the Pregny Gate of the Palais des Nations at 14, avenue de la Paix. Valid identity documents are required. Public transport: lines 8, 28, F, V and Z stop at "Appia"; lines 5 and 11 stop at "Nations"; Tramways 13 and 15 Terminus "Nations".
4PM-8PM, World Trade Organization, meet at Hotel
Thursday, May 10th United Nations Watch AND Red Cross meetings
10:00AM-1PM, United Nations Watch, Meeting with Director at the Hotel Cornavin
Leon Saltiel, Deputy Director, United Nations Watch
tel: +41-22-734-1472; fax: +41-22-734-1613
2:30-4:00PM, International Labor Organization
Secrétariat SERVSEC, Département des services centraux, de la sécurité et du protocole
Bureau International du Travail
Tel. +41 (0) 22.799.67.77
Fax +41 (0) 22.799.77.89
5PM-9:30, Meeting with International Red Cross Field Director Dominique Oliva, including supper.
Friday, May 11th World Health Organization
09.00 Arrival WHO reception (Avenue Appia 20)
09.15 – 10.00 Introduction WHO
10.00 – 11.00 Health and human rights (including migration)
11.00 – 11.15 Break
11.15 – 12.15 WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel
12.15 – 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 16.00 Meetings with World Health Organization Officials
Saturday, May 12th Travel to Ascona
For book lovers, Foundation Bodmer, one of the best collection of autographs bibliophiliacs haven in beautiful romantic Cologny of the Shelley house hold; http://www.fondationbodmer.org and then departure by train for Ascona and the Monte Vérita.
Sunday, May 13th Exploration of Ascona
Monday May 14th- Sunday May 20th, Monte Verità, Ticini, Locarno, and the Swiss Alps
Monte Verita (the Mountain of Truth) attracted those concerned with 'life', with what it is to be human; they congregated to experience nature, the spiritual, and in some cases the feminine. Key figures included Gusto Gräser, Naturmensch, poet, Taoist and rebel; Otto Gross, intent on fighting 'the Goliath of German patriarchy', applying psychoanalysis to obtain liberation from the ego and seeking the sacredness of love; Rudolf Laban, the 'magician' of 'salvation-through-dance'; and Mary Wigman, who expressed herself through nature, the great god Pan and the demonic. Hermann Hesse, D.H. Lawrence, Isadora Duncan, C.G.Jung, Franz Kafka, Paul Tillich and Max Weber were among those who visited - or were familiar with - the 'life-experiments', die Neue Zeit, of Ascona.
May 20-27, Hiking and writing (sublime) poetry at Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc, at 15,781 feet the highest peak in Europe, marks the border between France and Italy.
The mountain was first climbed in 1786 by Jacques Balmat and Michel Gabriel Paccard, and in 1787 by Balmat and, later, Horace Bénédict de Saussure. Although the expeditions were separate, Balmat and Saussure are celebrated together in a commemorative sculpture in Chamonix. There were five successful expeditions, two of them British, between 1787 and 1816 when the Shelley party visited Mont Blanc. Although Percy Bysshe Shelley was well aware that the mountain had been scaled, yet his poem "Mont Blanc," written during the summer of 1816, represents the summit of the mountain as never having been intruded upon by a human being. In the novel, Victor characterizes its perpetual snowcap as the "bright summit of Mont Blanc" (1.6.5 and note).
In search of the Swiss sublime, Maymester 2011.
Testimonial about the Maymester, from a student who did an internship following her meeting the lead international lawyer for the IOM during our course in Geneva:
"Basically, I worked as a law intern in the Migration Law Department at the International Organization for Migration. The amount of responsibility given to me was incredible. In my first week, I completed a 12 page Methodology section for a tender proposal concerning research on underage migrants in the EU/Schengen states and third country nationals for protection against trafficking. A big project that I worked on throughout my time at IOM was a handbook for implementing the UN-approved Human Rights Based Approach to programming guidelines. Another intern helped me research and write the introduction information on Human Rights treaties, etc., but I had the opportunity to write the majority of the handbook, which was really exciting. The handbook is due to be published and distributed to IOM's different field offices around the world! My work also consisted of finding sources for various citations, creating power points, and editing many, many papers. I'd have to say that the editing was my favorite part. I edited and wrote different portions of an IOM, WHO, and UNHCR publication on the health of migrants, as well as other parts of papers mostly addressing health care access for migrants in various States. I also did research for training programs in South Korea and Japan on each respective country's human rights history and treatment of migrants and refugees. At the end of August, I had the chance to attend the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which was a multi-day symposium with various governments and representatives from civil society and NGOs discussing issues such as Labour Mobility, Gender, Family, and Migration, and Irregular Migration. I was a rapporteur for an Authors' Workshop with some amazing leaders in the field on Reducing the costs of migration and maximizing human development, Social protection for temporary migrant workers, and climate change, migration, and development, which was incredibly interesting. Also, I wrote a few letters to governments and Ministers of Health of the Netherlands and of Poland making respectful cases for various migrant and health related issues, such as the Polish pro-life bill and platform. As an English student with a big love for adjectives, all the writing and editing this summer sharpened my writing skills and helped me develop a declarative "voice" of directness and word economy.
The internship challenged me and developed my understanding of international law, States, intergovernmental systems, the UN, and the interplay between them all in an incredible way. My bosses, Ms. Kristina Touzenis and Ms. Paola Pace, were unimaginably patient and supportive. As an undergraduate, I had very little experience in law (I am a HOD major in the International Development track and an English and French minor!), and Kristina and Paola were always available to answer my endless questioning. I feel so grateful to have worked with such an intelligent team of people this summer. Aside from my bosses, my fellow interns were also inspiring people. Every month or so we had IOM intern personal development and interest meetings (One meeting was a casual question and answer and career development and network building session with the Director General of IOM and a few other higher-ups; Another was on the Somali drought at the UNHCR.) The UN intern community was strong and, as one would imagine, really international. All UN interns were invited to weekly drink nights at various bars in Geneva, where conversation topics ranged from the latest happenings in the Democratic Republic of Congo to global governmental conspiracy theories and UN gossip to the new Coldplay single. I was the youngest intern there (the average age was around 24 or so) with the least experience, and t to have had the chance to rub shoulders with people who I considered so knowledgeable and amazing was priceless. I cannot emphasize enough how much I learned and how grateful I feel to have had such an enlightening experience this summer!"
For more information, please contact Robert F. Barsky.
copyright Robert F. Barsky, 2006