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  • Locations: Rome, Italy
  • Program Terms: Winter Quarter
  • Homepage: Click to visit
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location Rome, Italy
Winter 2018
January 3 – March 10, 2018
 Estimated    Program Fee  $7,515
 Prerequisites  N/A
 Program      Directors Edgar Kiser, Steven Karceski
 Program Manager Katherine Kroeger |
 Application    Deadline May 15, 2017
 Information  Session(s) TBD. Contact program director for more information.
  General This program combines lectures about Italian history, art, food, politics, and economics with visits to the places these things happened: we'll go to museums and churches in Rome, Venice, Florence, and Naples, we'll watch Italian films related to program themes, you'll learn to cook Italian food, and we'll discuss Italian politics during their next election.
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships


Program Description

The goal of this program is to enhance student understanding of contemporary Italy using the tools of sociological, political, and economic theory. Italy is a great case for understanding how a rich, and in many ways conservative society faces the many challenges of our global era. Globalization and Europeanization have tested Italy's willingness and ability to adapt to the changing realities of today's interconnected global economy and society. Italy's slow food movement, for instance, provides a fascinating example of the resilience of Italian culture, but also its reluctance to adapt to modern influences. How is Italy's deep-rooted sense of history both a bedrock of stability and a barrier to needed change as the country moves into the 21st century? These themes of historical legacy and contemporary challenges form the framework for this Sociology-European Studies program in Rome.

The program will focus on contemporary challenges in Italian politics, economics, and culture, with the three core courses also providing historical background and perspective on these issues. The Italian political and economic systems have been unstable and unreliable. While managing to avoid the worse effects of Europe's current economic and financial crisis, Italy is saddled with a huge debt and an unproductive workforce. Despite these challenges, Italy retains considerable strengths and great potential. Notoriously inefficient state-run assisted industries stand in contrast to Italy's dynamic small and medium-size companies, nimble producers of high quality products that have made the "Made in Italy" label famous. The image of La Dolce Vita sells around the world, yet many groups, including the young and immigrants, remain marginalized. Italians continue to mistrust their government and increasingly worry about their future. All of these themes provide an exceptional opportunity to understand a society and polity wrestling with the challenges of globalization..


Rome, Italy


Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples


The Rome Center will arrange for shared housing for the students. Housing for students is located within 20 minutes of the Rome Center.


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements

UW undergraduate students interested in sociology, European studies, political science, economics, history, international studies, and art history. There are no prerequisites for the course. Professor Kiser will provide students with all of the necessary background in social science theory and history. There is a fair amount of walking involved, but nothing excessive.


15 Credits


SOC 401 or JSIS 488 (5 credits)

Italy's political system is one of the most interesting in the contemporary world, with a rich history, a complicated and colorful present, and a promising but uncertain future. It has been ruled by city-states, monarchies, fascists, and different forms of democracy. Contemporary Italy is facing pressing political challenges. It only became a unified nation in the 1860s, and still bears many of the marks of its fragmented, divided past. Both the Catholic church and the mafia have played unusually important roles in shaping its politics. Italy has a perennially sclerotic government, gridlocked by partisanship, corruption, and unstable coalitions. They need to formulate immigration policies that are in line with EU requirements, but that also mollify an increasingly xenophobic electorate. Italy is full of the fascinating transformations, combinations and contradictions that make the study of the relationship between politics and society so interesting.

Learning Goals: 

Students are expected to know the history of Italian politics and contemporary political issues. Evaluation is based on an essay exam.

SOC 401 or JSIS 488 (5 credits)

The contemporary Italian economy is in many ways a product of its history, shaped by periods of empire, city-states that dominated medieval and renaissance Europe, late state formation that both reflected and reinforced economic fragmentation, and a period of fascism in which the state directly controlled much of the economy. In the post-war era, it initially experienced rapid economic growth, much of it based on small, flexible enterprises. More recently, it has suffered from economic stagnation, accompanied (caused?) by the rise of neoliberalism. The contemporary Italian economy is facing challenges stemming from globalization and outsourcing, which is seen as a direct threat to the "Made in Italy" brand. There is strong resistance to EU regulations, which are seen as encroaching on traditional methods of production, especially in the food industry. A more recent challenge comes from the increasing immigration started by the recent political upheaval in North Africa, in a cultural context in which immigrants are seen as draining an already strained social infrastructure. In many respects Italy is a fascinating case for exploring the relationships between economy and society.

Learning Goals: 

The students are expected to learn some basics of economic theory, and be able to use it to analyze the evolution of the Italian economy over time. Evaluation is based on an essay exam.

SOC 401 or JSIS 488 (5 credits)

Italy is justifiably known and loved for its food, wine, art, and architecture. We will explore the historical evolution and contemporary varieties of each of these, both in class lectures, and in trips to museums, walks around the city, and dinners in restaurants. Each week we will watch an Italian film linked to the main themes of the program, and discuss it both as a work of art and as a window into Italian culture. We will analyze the role of religion in Italian life, the importance of the family, changing gender roles, and the fascinating regional differences across Italy (which we will see and taste first-hand on weekend trips to southern and northern cities), and the bizarre world of Italian television. Students will also be provided with lists of Italian short stories, novels, and poems, for additional reading. Throughout the course, we will explore the many ways in which Italian culture has shaped and been shaped by Italian politics and economics.

Learning Goals: 

Students are expected to develop knowledge an appreciation of Italian art, architecture, food, and film, as well as being able to trace the development of Italian culture over time (renaissance and baroque art, neorealist film, etc.). Evaluation is based on an essay exam. In addition to the essay exam, students will be evaluated on a project about Italy. They will choose the topic, present their findings to the class, and write a 10-page paper on their topic at the end of the quarter. Overall, I want them to have both a general overview of Italy (from lectures and site visits, and evaluated by the exam), and in-depth knowledge of one aspect of Italy (evaluated by their presentations and the 10-page paper).

Program Directors & Staff

Edgar Kiser, Department of Sociology, Program Director

Edgar Kiser is Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and International Studies. He has written and taught about many aspects of European history and political economy, and has directed several study abroad programs in Italy and Spain.

Steven Karceski, Department of Sociology, Teaching Assistant

Steve Karceski is a graduate student in Sociology working on environmental taxation.

Program Expenses

Cost: $7,515

Estimated Program Fee of $7,515, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($350), airfare, food (about $15/day), UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,200 - $1,600* roundtrip

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable Study Abroad Fee $350 January 19, 2018
Program Fee Balance $7,515 January 19, 2018


There are a variety of scholarships available to help fund your study abroad experience. Visit the Global Opportunities page for more information and application deadlines.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program director.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most forms of financial aid can be applied to study abroad. You can verify that your financial aid award will apply to your program costs by contacting the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid or scholarships awarded as tuition waivers or tuition exemptions might not apply so you will need to verify that these funds are eligible for use with study abroad by contacting the funding office.

Financial aid and most scholarships are disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (at the beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid will not be available to you prior to your departure. If your program starts after the first day of the quarter, your financial aid will be disbursed at the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare, health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you are making plans.

Revision Request

In some instances you may qualify for an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds). Check with the Financial Aid Office about your options. To request a revision in your aid, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

  1. Revision Request Form
  2. Budget of student expenses for your program: The UW Study Abroad Office will upload this budget to your study abroad account after a signed contract has been submitted to the UW Study Abroad Office. You can request an unofficial copy of this budget by emailing

Visit the Finances section of our website to learn more about disbursement, revising your aid package, short-term loans and scholarships.

Application Process

The application includes a Personal Statement, three short answer questions, two recommendations from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $350 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable and non-revocable once a contract has been submitted, even if you withdraw from the program. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the UW Study Abroad Office. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the Program Director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the UW Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.