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Active Learning and Research
PSYCH 157: Cultural Psychology of Urban Living
Clark students and students from sociology department at the Higher School of Economics in Russia jointly explore urban living from the perspectives of both cultural psychology and sociology. The course is crosslisted through the program in Communication and Culture.

Comments from students

Clark student Kaoru Kawashima

Both interdisciplinary and intercultural insights offer me chances to see things in comparative terms. Cultural psychology is often concerned with subtle matters, which I may not notice with my subjective eyes. Culturally comparative approaches are particularly useful in this regard.

The course is, by and large, openly structured, and most of the time is devoted to discussions. Also the research is entirely up to you, from the topic selection to its scheduling. So it's challenging in that I am responsible, for myself, to take the initiative to actively explore and learn, but at the same time, the freedom in the intellectual exploration and communicaton is very much enjoyable.

Also, I found the collaboration with the Moscow class particularly beneficial because of another dimension that has emerged from this encounter. The students there are organizing a worldwide network of undergraduate sociologists, which is to have its first student forum through the International Sociological Association in September, 2008. We on the Clark side were all invited to the forum, as one of the topics of discussion is about bridging sociology and cultural/social psychology. I think this kind of relationship development and networking are a rare opportunity and it is really exciting.

Russian student Sania Ramonov

Almost every joint class I left classroom with a feeling that I broadened my knowledge as I found out something new and important—some new ideas that need to be put to practice. First, during these classes I almost experienced other social reality, completely different from Russian socio-economic reality. But second (I think it is more important), I saw and learned to see this reality through the eyes of observers belonging to different cultures. And they give different accounts of this reality—it is very exciting to compare these subjective opinions.

Clark student Maggie Lajoie

I find it absolutely fascinating to be able to discuss cultural psychology/sociology with a group of people from another country while they are still in their country. The video bridge enables them to show us pictures of the locations or objects they are studying. The Russian students bring in a different cultural point of view as well as a sociological point of view not always heard in psychology classes.

This course is structured to allow each student to explore areas of their own interest within the broader subject of cultural psychology in the urban setting. We are able to discuss our projects at each stage in class and receive feedback from the professors and students in both classes. The feedback at each stage is so crucial to the learning process because our classmates have fabulous ideas and were able to contribute from their own experiences morphing the paths our projects took.

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Professor Pokrovsky (center) and his students visit Clark at Academic Spree Day 2007. Professor Valsiner is at far right.


Russian students via the video bridge.

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