David Bartholomae

There and Back Again

Tuesday, 07 May 2013 10:18

bj dave final 3

I am writing this final posting in Pittsburgh.   It is hard to accept that the semester has come to a close.   We had a great adventure and an unforgettable semester--amazing!   (I’m still buzzing with all that we learned, all that we saw, and all that we did.)   And I’m grateful to everyone who helped to make this trip such a success—our 14 remarkable students (brave, patient, funny, smart, eloquent, resourceful); my colleagues, Michael Goodhart, Clara Heck, and Joyce Bartholomae, who helped to define the trip’s ambition and character; and the faculty and staff at Pitt who created and who manage this remarkable program (with a special nod to Vanessa Sterling and Nancy Condee).

bj dave final 4

The PittMAP concept is brilliant.   Provide a focused curriculum to insure that the trip is truly a study trip. In our case, we were studying the politics (and not just the economics) of poverty, looking at efforts by governmental and non-governmental agencies to address the needs of the poor in these three major, emerging economies:   Brazil, India, China.   Provide a focused curriculum, and put the group on a university campus long enough that they can become more than tourists.   With four or five weeks in each city, we got to know people and neighborhoods. The students could follow their interests in politics, sports, culture, and the arts; they found soccer games, favorite beaches, running trails, museums, clubs, and concert venues.   They created side trips and had private adventures.   They made friends, some of the them lasting friends, and partied with students from every corner of the globe. Over the course of our 120 days, we were offered a rare and precious opportunity to enter into the life and rhythm of three great cities: Florianopolis, Hyderabad, and Beijing.

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The long line of blog posts preceding this one has told the story of our travels. As you have seen, much of what we learned, we learned off campus--in the cities and through the excursions (or field work) enabled by our local support groups.   We visited clinics, schools, villages, government offices and NGOs.   We met with writers, social service providers, activists, and corporate executives.   And we found our way to the prime tourist sites: out of the way beaches on the island of Florianopolis, the Taj Mahal in India, and China’s Great Wall.  

bj dave final 6The highlights for me include our visit to a Guaraní village on the mainland of Santa Catarina, our meeting with the journalist and Dalit activist, Mallepalli Laxmaiah, the trip to Burgula, a rural village outside Hyderabad, an evening with Evan Osnos, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and our visit to the Longhai School, a school for children of migrant workers in Daxing District, Beijing.

I’ve been working with undergraduates since 1973. And I’ve worked with study abroad programs in Spain and England.   PittMap has provided the most memorable and important and productive semesters of my teaching career.   I’ve very grateful to have had the opportunity of spending this semester with this program, these colleagues, and these fine students.    To our readers: please help spread the word.   There will be new PittMAP groups forming every spring semester—each with a different faculty, a different focus, and a different itinerary.   The program provides a once in a lifetime opportunity and you can find it through the Study Abroad Office at Pitt.

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India

Monday, 25 February 2013 02:53

in bart 2

We arrived in Delhi on February 11th after a long trip from Florianopolis—43 hours of travel with two overnight flights!   We spent 3 very busy days in Delhi meeting with representatives from the Right to Food Campaign, the Campaign for Dalit rights (Dalits were once referred to as the “untouchables”), the National Rural Employment Guarantee, and a campaign from the Centre for Policy Research concerned with government accountability.   And, as you see above, we took a day to visit the Taj Mahal. On Friday, February 15th, we arrived in Hyderabad, where we are living on the campus of the University of Hyderabad (see below), one of the leading central, or state funded universities in India.

in bart 4

I began with smiling faces in front of the Taj Mahal.   To be true to our experience here on the ground, and out of respect for the concerns of our curriculum, I’m also including an image of the difficult and arresting poverty we have seen every day since we arrived. For all of us, it has been intense and difficult and confusing and unsettling.

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We will continue to sponsor course related excursions.   Last weekend we visited a rural village (Burgula), next weekend we will tour the Old City, one of the historic Muslim neighborhoods of Hyderabad.   We will continue our course work and a series of guest lectures or visits with local activists, entrepreneurs, and academics.   In the image below, Dr. Narasimha Reddy, emeritus professor and former dean of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Hyderabad, is presenting a lecture on “The Agrarian Crisis in India.”

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And so it begins

Friday, 11 January 2013 10:50

group irfam 1-9

 

We have arrived!   Chegamos e tudo bem.  

So what is PittMAP?     From 1981 to 2006, Pitt was the host to Semester at Sea, a study abroad program housed on a cruise ship. Each semester, the ship went half way around the world. At sea, students were taking courses. When the boat docked, they would be taken by buses for local excursions, usually to tourist spots. And then--back to the boat. When the University of Pittsburgh severed its ties with Semester at Sea, the Provost, James Maher, established a committee to develop an alternative. And the alternative is PittMAP.

There are many advantages to PittMAP. Perhaps the most significant of these is the fact that we travel by plane, and so we spend our time on the ground, on a university campus in a host city. We have plans, to be sure, to visit some of the tourist sites. But with five weeks on the ground, the students will get a chance to become part of a neighborhood -- to have a favorite coffee shop, to make acquaintances, to deal with merchants, to try out the language, to manage a foreign currency, to feel the pulse and rhythm of the city, to experience the daily life of another culture. This is a remarkable gift. We are grateful to be here in Brazil, in Florianopolis, our first stop of the semester. We’ll be here until Feb. 9, when we’ll begin the long journey to Hyderabad, India.

br 11 2Our classes here are at Unisul (Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina) in the central district of Florianopolis.   “Floripa” is an island off the Brazilian coast, south of Sao Paulo, with a population of about 400,000.   The picture at the head of this entry was taken at the Plaza 15 de Novembre, about a block from the hotel where we are living.   The fig tree behind us is over 120 years old!   The gentleman kneeling in front is Rodrigo Franzoni; the woman standing on the far left is Dina Hahn.   They are the coordinators from ISA, our local sponsoring agency.

The picture below features our classroom at Unisul.   The teacher is Professor Jose Baltazar de Andrade Guerra, Dean of the Unisul School of Business.   His course is “Comparative Economic Systems.”   The first class is considering the relative positions of the US, the EU, Brazil, China and Russia in the current global financial crisis.   And so it begins!

 

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Three Campuses/Three Continents

Thursday, 07 July 2011 11:40

I am writing this final posting in Pittsburgh.   What an amazing semester!   (I’m still buzzing with all that we learned, all that we saw, and all that we did.)   And I’m grateful to everyone who helped to make this trip such a success—our 22 remarkable students (brave, funny, smart, eloquent and resourceful); my colleagues (Peter Veldkamp, Svitlana Maksymenko, Joyce Bartholomae, and Lauren Scott); and the faculty and staff at Pitt who created and who manage this remarkable program (with a special nod to Vanessa Sterling and Nancy Condee).  

three_BA_large-1_irfam

The PittMAP concept is brilliant.   Provide a focused curriculum to insure that the trip is truly a study trip.  In our case, we were studying issues, research, and practices relating to Global Health, with particular attention to infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS.   And put the group on the ground long enough that they can become more than tourists.   With five weeks in each city, we got to know people and neighborhoods.  The students could follow their interests in politics, sports, culture and the arts; they found soccer games, fencing matches, running trails, museums, jazz clubs, and concert venues.   They made friends, some of the them lasting friends, and partied with students from every corner of the globe.  Over the course of our 120 days, we were offered a rare and precious opportunity to enter into the life and rhythm of three of the world’s great cities:  Buenos Aires, Cape Town, and Beijing.  

three_ba_small-1_irfamThe long line of blog posts preceding this one has told the story of our travels.  The images in this posting show our three campuses:  the University of Belgrano (in Buenos Aires), the University of Cape Town (the medical school campus), and Capital Normal University in Beijing.    So much of what we learned, however, we learned off campus, in the cities, through excursions (or field work) enabled by our local support groups.   We visited hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical laboratories and biological research centers; we met with government agencies, physicians, nurses, and public health officials.    And we hit some tourist stops along the way.  We visited Iguazu Falls, climbed Table Mountain, and walked a piece of  China’s great wall.    

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The highlights for me include a visit to the cattle market in Buenos Aires (the Mercado de Liniers), the opportunity to eavesdrop on a meeting of regional public health officials at the Ministerio de Salud,  and an afternoon visit with Malena Araneo, a young woman who works for the World Bank and who provided, I think, a way for our students to imagine themselves working in a global environment.  In South Africa we visited one of Cape Town’s historic black townships, Langa.  The poverty was staggering; the living conditions unforgettable.  And later in the visit we had a presentation from a young, black PhD student in economics, Cecil Mlathsheni, who grew up in a township, who is affiliated with the South African Labour and Development Research Unit, and whose research considers poverty and unemployment in the townships, including the one we visited.   We had a presentation by Stavros Nicolaou, a senior executive from Aspen Pharmaceuticals, telling the remarkable story of his successful struggle to bring affordable ARV drugs to South Africa.  Our students attended lectures with 2nd year medical students.   

Three_campus-1_irfam_large_bj

In Beijing, we visited an organic farm on the outskirts of the city, toured studios and galleries of China’s contemporary art scene, met with the former director of the Chinese version of our CDC, and watched while one of our own, Kerri Bell, received acupuncture as part of a presentation at Guanganmen, a hospital that features traditional Chinese medicine.  None of us will forget the pharmacy in the hospital’s basement, where medicinal potions are concocted from herbs and roots and things that creep and crawl and fly.    White coated lab assistants worked at long wooden tables in a room with a thousand drawers.   We entered a laboratory with steamers and pressure cookers and ran up against a wall of pungent smells. three_bj_small-1_irfam

I’ve been working with undergraduates since 1973.   This was by far the most memorable and important and productive semester of my teaching career.   I’ve very grateful to have been a part of PittMAP.   To our readers:  please help spread the word.    There will be new PittMAP groups forming every spring semester—each with a different faculty, a different focus, and a different itinerary.   The program provides a once in a lifetime opportunity and you can find it through the Study Abroad Office at Pitt. 

PittMAP Live From Buenos Aires

Thursday, 13 January 2011 10:51

11pittmapgroupMeet the University of Pittsburgh travelers blogging from Buenos Aires as part of the PittMap global health study group, gathered soon after their arrival in South America at the Rio de la Plata.

PittMAP: A Brief History

Wednesday, 12 January 2011 08:17

From 1981 to 2006, Pitt was the host to Semester at Sea, a study abroad program housed on a cruise ship. Each semester, the ship went half way around the world.   At sea, students were taking courses. When the boat docked, they would be taken by buses for local excursions, usually to tourist spots. And then--back to the boat. When the University of Pittsburgh severed its ties with Semester at Sea, the Provost, James Maher, established a committee to develop an alternative. And the alternative is PittMAP.

There are many advantages to PittMAP. Perhaps the most significant of these is the fact that we travel by plane, and so we spend our time on the ground, on a university campus in a host city.     We have plans, to be sure, to visit some of the tourist sites. But with five weeks on the ground, the students will get a chance to become part of a neighborhood -- to have a favorite coffee shop, to make acquaintences, to deal with merchants, to try out the language, to manage a foreign currency, to feel the pulse and rhythm of the city, to experience the daily life of another culture.   This is a remarkable gift. We are grateful to be here in Argentina, in Buenos Aires, our first stop of the semester. We’ll be here until Feb. 9, when we’ll board a plane for Cape Town, South Africa.

20110114DogWalkers_350Our classes are at the University of Belgrano, a modern campus in a residential neighborhood, a neighborhood with a mix of old homes and new high rise apartments on tree lined streets. Across from our classroom building is the Australian embassy, home (the plaque says) to Albert Einstein, March 25th to April 23rd, 1925, on his visit to Argentina. And we pass the professional dog-walkers, each walking 6-8 dogs on a leash (image left). The students are taking a writing course and courses in international economics and global health (including a course taught by faculty from the local medical school). Our side trips include a visit to the Argentine Ministry of Health, to the Argentine equivalent of the CDC and the FDA, to the central cattle market (Mercado de Liniers), and to a meeting with a representative of the World Bank. This Friday we are scheduled for tango lessons!  But more on all of these in a later posting.