Diverse Narratives in the Shenandoah Valley

Intercultural in the Local Context

Today more than ever before, people are both traveling across borders and encountering people from other ethnic backgrounds at home. On the local level in Virginia, people from diverse backgrounds are in contact with one another on a daily basis in school, work, church and community events. 

In this intercultural seminar, students explore the historic communities of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, as well as the lives and communities established by immigrants who have come to the Shenandoah Valley in recent years. We will learn how these distinct communities have found “home” in the Shenandoah Valley as well as some challenges and difficulties.  We will reflect on our assumptions about immigration and immigrants, and consider the ways in which human mobility and globalization touch all of our lives. Interactions with local communities help us understand diverse experiences in the larger social, historical, and political context.

The central Shenandoah Valley has been home to people of diverse cultures for generations:  African Americans and Mennonites/Brethren are two historic people groups on whom we will focus, in addition to immigrants who have arrived more recently from Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Classwork, reading, writing, and a significant experiential component all serve the following goals: Students will....

  • Experience different religious traditions, food, and cultures represented in the local population 
  • Increase their capacity to engage with others across differences
  • Reflect on similarities and differences in worldviews and behaviors, and how our social identities shape us
  • Consider migration/immigration patterns of the past, present, and future with special emphasis on the opportunities and challenges of immigration in the Shenandoah Valley.


Seminar Leaders: Debbi DiGennaro and Matthew Bucher
Dates: May 6 -31 – M/W/F 11:00 am - 3:00 pm, plus several extra excursion dates
Estimated Cost: $1650 includes Tuition & Excursion fees
Enrollment: 16 students*

*Limited Eligibility – Advisor approval is required
This seminar is offered only to students with family, health-related concerns, or other circumstances which make educational travel difficult or impossible.

Course Title:

ICSSC 201 Intercultural Social Science: Local Context 3 SH

Text Here...
visit graphicVisit
apply graphicApply