The Global Ghetto

This seminar traces the birth and spread of the ghetto as a social form and metaphor throughout world history.

Rome and Venice, Italy: June 11 - July 20

Application Deadline: February 13, 2018

About the Seminar

 We begin in Rome with one of the earliest and most famous restricted Jewish residential zones in a European city, and end with other kinds of neighborhoods including gay ghettos, Chinatowns and barrios. In Venice, we will explore the origins of the Jewish ghetto, which will celebrate its 502nd anniversary in 2018, and study The Merchant of Venice on the occasion of the 402nd anniversary of the death of Shakespeare. Along the way, we will examine the early modern Jewish ghettos of Frankfurt, Prague and Venice; the Nazi-created ghettos in Poland during World War II; the Jewish immigrant ghettos of early 20th-century New York and Chicago; and the black ghettos in northern U.S. cities from World War II to the present. The course explores how the social form and metaphor emerged in different historical moments and what people inside and outside have made of the experience.

We will spend the first four weeks in Rome at St. John's University and the last two in Venice, studying in a classroom located in the Jewish Ghetto and residing at the We Cruciferi dormitory. From Venice, we will visit the Risiera di San Sabba Nazi concentration camp near Trieste.

In addition to regular academic work, students will have an opportunity to engage in voluntary social-service work and humanitarian efforts with the lay Catholic community of Sant’Egidio.

A class in conversational Italian is required during the time in Rome.

Faculty Director

Mitchell Duneier is Maurice P. During Professor and the Chair of the Department of Sociology at Princeton University.  A Recipient of the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, he is the author of Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, The History an Idea, as well as the urban ethnographies, Sidewalk and Slim’s Table.    

Seminar Manager

Caroel Frantzen can be reached at  at or by calling 609-258-5978.

Distribution Requirements

The course fulfills the Social Analysis (SA) requirement and the departmental requirements for Sociology (SOC). 

Costs and Financial Aid

PIIRS Global Seminars range in proice from $6,000-8,000. PIIRS provides generous funding to students admitted to the Global Seminars who receive term financial aid. Possibilities for additional financial support may be available through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). Princeton Subsidized Student Loans, available from the Office of Financial Aid, are also highly recommended over charging costs to a credit card. Please consult Financing Options for Students and Parents 2016–17, specifically pages 1–2 and Table 3, and contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information

To ensure a place in the seminar, a $500 nonrefundable deposit will be charged to participants’ accounts on April 1; the balance of the course fee will be charged to accounts on May 15.

NB: Students who accept a place in a Global Seminar and then, before the seminar begins, withdraw or cannot participate because they are no longer enrolled at Princeton will lose the nonrefundable deposit and any unrecoverable costs. There are no refunds after the start of the program.

This seminar enjoys support from the Office of Religious Life for its community service projects on this seminar.

The Fish Benoist Family Global Seminar.

PIIRS Global Seminars are made possible in part by the generous contributions of alumni and friends and ongoing efforts of the Office of Development.