As an undergraduate, I had a Classics professor who sometimes spoke of the humanities’ task as the search for the strange in the familiar, and the familiar in the strange. The idea stuck with me, and in my own classes I have attempted to create an environment in which students re-evaluate their preconceived notions, and simultaneously establish connections to what may seem remote or exotic. Since most of my courses revolve around the cultural histories of cities, normally this is a rather safe exercise. How might a 19th-century urban dweller find our sartorial habits unusual? How might we draw parallels between Brasília’s development and that of more traditional capitals?
Next fall, five years after President Shirley Tilghman published the fall 2007 report “Princeton in the World,” which delineated measures for expanding the University’s international presence, the University will announce a formal academic partnership with the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, according to history professor and Council for International Teaching and Research Director Jeremy Adelman.
Between 2012 and 2015, Princeton and USP faculty will study “Race and Citizenship in the Americas,” supplemented by a series of major yearly conferences and smaller workshops with faculty and students at the schools, according to the project proposal announced Thursday. The project will facilitate the hosting of graduate schools at the two universities, with the ultimate goal of “strengthen[ing] and broaden[ing] Princeton’s academic and institutional ties with Brazil.”