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College News

Join Catawba for South Africa Trip

September 15, 2005

Category: Academics, Alumni, Sociology, Students


Catawba College honors students enrolled in a class entitled "Origins: Humans, Races, and Racism," will cap their classroom experiences with a trip to South Africa in late December.   Members of the Salisbury-Rowan community, alumni and friends of the College are invited to join them as they visit that country to examine how biological and sociological forces contribute to notions of race and to the perpetuation of racism.  

The trip is slated December 26 through January 4, with departure from Dulles International Airport to South Africa and back.   It includes guided tours of such sites as the Apartheid Museum, the Soweto township, Nelson Mandela's residence, the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, the Sterkfontein Caves, the Transvaal Museum, the Royal Natal National Park, and the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve in Zululand.   Ten different meals, lodging, airfare, all transfers, and guided tours of these various sites are included in the $4,000 costs.   Deadline for payments and reservations is October 3.   Holbrook Global Field Expeditions is coordinating the trip for the College.  

Dr. Maria Vandergriff-Avery, assistant professor and chair of Catawba’s sociology department, and Dr. Joe Poston, assistant professor of biology, are team-teaching the course which can be used to fulfill a natural science or a social and behavioral science general education requirement.   Some topics to be discussed during the course include human evolution, the genetics of racism, race and social institutions, life on the color line, and the country of South Africa.  

Dr. Poston explained why a trip to South Africa was the perfect way to conclude the semester-long class.   "The wonderful thing about South Africa is that it provides opportunities to explore both the biological and the sociological elements of our course," he said. "The recent abolishment of Apartheid, combined with important discoveries of human ancestors, make the destination an ideal one."

For more details on the trip, or to make arrangements to sit in on a class, contact Dr. Vandergriff-Avery at 704-637-4258 or Dr. Poston at 704-637-4443.