COI approves Morocco FSP

by Jack Vaitayanonta | 11/21/94 6:00am

The proposed foreign study program in Fez, Morocco cleared a major hurdle last week but will face two more before it can become a reality.

Last Tuesday the Committee on Instruction approved the program for only one year, said Registrar Thomas Bickel, who presided over the meeting.

Last month the Committee on Off-Campus Activities also granted the proposed program, which will be associated with the Asian Studies Program, provisional approval for one year.

The FSP must now gain the approval of the Committee of Chairs of the Arts and Sciences, which has a meeting scheduled for Dec. 5. The program also needs to secure funding from the College.

If approved, the FSP will be Dartmouth's first culturally-oriented off-campus program in the Middle East. Last May a group of Asian Studies professors proposed forming the Fez FSP, citing a lack of programs in the region.

Anthropology Professor and Asian Studies program Co-chair Dale Eickelman, the driving force behind the program, said he was "cautiously optimistic" the proposal would gain approval and funding.

The FSP, if approved, will be first offered Fall term 1995. Students will take one anthropology and two Asian studies courses related to the culture in Fez.

Eickelman said the original proposal was modified to satisfy concerns of members of the COI.

He said changes include requiring students to take one of five prerequisites to help deepen their experiences in Morocco.

A source on the COI confirmed that the Committee was concerned about the lack of a common background of knowledge in addition to the program's intellectual rigor.

In Fez, students will take three courses -- Anthropology 43: Thought and Change in the Middle East, and two currently untitled Asian studies courses called Discovering an Islamic City: Fez and Arabic as a Cultural Experience.

"I think that [students will] find both the courses and the FSP intellectually and personally challenging and exciting," Eickelman wrote in a BlizMail message.

To qualify for the Fez FSP, students must complete one of the following five courses: Anthropology 43, History 69: The Eye of the Beholder; Introduction to the Islamic World, History 71: Social History of the Contemporary Middle East, Religion 8: Topics in the Study of Islam, or Religion 22: Modern Islam.

Students who take Anthropology 43 at Dartmouth will pursue an independent study in Fez instead of the course.

Students will also be eligible if they have completed the first-year language sequence in Arabic.

Eickelman said prior knowledge of French -- the most widely-used European language in Morocco -- is not a prerequisite but is useful.

Eickelman, who has worked periodically in Morocco since 1969, said he plans to lead the program in its pilot year, which he hopes will allow a maximum of 15 students to go on the FSP.

Materials including drafts of the syllabi for the two Fez courses, relevant sections of the FSP proposal and a student guide to studies in Fez will be available in the Asian Studies Program library in Bartlett Hall and in the Office of Off-Campus Programs in Wentworth Hall by Nov. 30.