July 20, 2017
Three students recently returned from an Honors Abroad trip to Dublin, Ireland with Dr. Mikio Akagi, assistant professor of the History and Philosophy of Science in the Honors College. The session, “Disagreement in Dublin,” provided an opportunity for students to participate in an academic research workshop and hands-on learning experiences.
Dr. Akagi is affiliated with “When Experts Disagree” (WEXD), an interdisciplinary research project based at the University College Dublin and the Dublin Institute for Advanced Study and funded by the Irish Research Council. The WEXD project investigates disagreements between scientists, particularly what scientists say about science and knowledge and how non-experts and policymakers should understand the disagreements.
TCU students Erin Dianis, Edaise Germany, and Justin Sanchez met Dr. Akagi in Dublin to attend the WEXD academic workshop, “Disagreement in Science and Beyond.” The workshop provided space for researchers interested in disagreement in science and between experts to share their works-in-progress, receive feedback from other experts, and brainstorm other directions to investigate. Students had the privilege to see a behind-the-scene example of academic collaboration. Moreover, students were able to learn from influential leaders in philosophy: Paul Boghossian, Huw Price, and Michela Massimi.
In addition to providing an opportunity for students to attend the WEXD workshop, Dr. Akagi focused the “Disagreement in Dublin” session on the 1916 Easter Rising, a week-long uprising by Irish idealists to win independence from Great Britain 101 years ago. Students learned about the 1916 Easter Rising as a violent expression of disagreement, which was a contrast to the peaceful dialogue from the WEXD workshop. Justin Sanchez, a senior nursing major, described the experience as “not only eye opening but extremely educational. I was able to learn from world renowned philosophers about different methods of disagreement as well as learn about the history and the struggle of the Irish community.”
Dr. Akagi and students toured important sites from the Rising (e.g. the General Post Office, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin Castle, Mount Street Bridge), observed bullet holes that remain in buildings, noted areas where buildings that were destroyed have been rebuilt, and handled 100-year old weapons and artifacts. The group visited Kilmainham Gaol, the prison where most of the leaders of the Rising were later executed. Importantly, while Dr. Akagi provided contextual information, students were able to primarily learn Irish history from Irish people. Dr. Akagi also used the timing of the trip, which coincided with the 4th of July, “to reflect on another country’s struggle for independence, and how Ireland’s story is similar to or different from that of the United States.”
Finally, while in Dublin, the group explored Christchurch Cathedral, saw the Book of Kells and the old Trinity College Library, and took a coach tour to the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast to see some of the Irish countryside. Erin Dianis, a senior early childhood education major, appreciated the cultural immersion, as it provided an opportunity to “meet people from all around the world and learn more about my heritage.” Similarly, Edaise Germany, a sophomore pre-business major, “loved having the opportunity to experience the world of philosophy at such a high level, as well as having been able to explore Ireland.”
Honors Abroad trips encourage students to cross cultures and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to become global citizens.
To learn more about Honors Abroad, visit the Honors Abroad page.