Study Sociology Abroad in Rome, Winter 2022

The popular Sociology study abroad trip to Rome is back! Dr. Steve Pfaff and Maria Vignau Loria will lead a study abroad trip to Rome, winter quarter of 2022. The UW Sociology Department also has travel scholarships available for qualifying students. The hope is that any interested student, regardless of their financial situation, will learn more about the opportunity.

The program has been updated extensively to take COVID precautions. This blog post contains the important highlights of the trip. The UW Study Abroad website has additional information! If you have further questions, feel free to contact Dr. Pfaff ( or academic advisor, Susanna Hansson (

Program Overview

This program enhances understanding of contemporary Italy and Europe using the tools of sociology and political economy. Italy is a model case for understanding how a rich, and in many ways conservative society, faces the many challenges of our global era. Protective of its industry and culture, the twin forces of globalization and Europeanization have tested Italy’s willingness and ability to adapt to fast changing realities and today’s economic and public health challenges. Italy’s slow food movement, for instance, provides a fascinating example of the resilience of Italian culture, but also its reluctance to adapt to modern influences. How is Italy’s deep-rooted sense of history both a bedrock of stability and a barrier to needed change as the country moves forward in the 21st century? How are Italian politics and institutions responding to ongoing economic challenges as well as the more recent crisis associated with the Covid-19 pandemic? Themes of historical legacy and contemporary challenges form the framework for this Sociology/European Studies program in Rome.

The program will focus on contemporary challenges in Italian politics, economics, and culture, with the three core courses also providing historical background and perspective on these issues. Since the 1990s, the Italian state has been compromised by unstable and unreliable political coalitions and weak governments. While managing to avoid the worse effects of Europe’s current economic and financial crisis, Italy is saddled with a huge debt and an stagnant productivity. Despite these challenges, Italy retains considerable strengths and great potential. Notoriously inefficient state-run assisted industries stand in contrast to Italy’s dynamic small and medium-size companies, nimble producers of high quality products that have made the “Made in Italy” label famous. The image of La Dolce Vita sells around the world, yet many groups, including the young and immigrants, remain economically marginalized and alienated from the institutions and party system. Italians continue to mistrust their government and increasingly worry about their future. All of these themes provide an exceptional opportunity to understand a society and polity wrestling with the challenges of globalization and two decades of economic turmoil.

Important Dates

  • Priority Application Deadline (for Sociology Dept Scholarships): 5/21/2021
  • Application Deadline: 9/1/2021
  • Decision Deadline: 9/13/2021
  • Program Start: 1/3/2022
  • Program End: 3/18/2022

Possible Travel Restrictions due to COVID-19

For the 2021-22 academic year, study abroad programs will likely include the following limitations: 

  • Programs will be limited to taking place in one country (no international border crossings)
  • Student personal travel during program dates will be limited to the host country 
  • All program excursions/field trips will be limited to day trips (no overnights) 

These restrictions on travel are being considered to reduce complications due to factors such as differing levels of pandemic control between countries, possible border crossing restrictions and/or quarantine policies, regional lockdowns within the host country, etc.

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