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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Program Terms: January Term
  • Program Cost: January Term
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Subject Areas: Theology Program Sponsor: UST
Program Description:
UST: Theological Roots of Nazism and Apartheid 
  Nelson Mandela WindowNelson Mandela Window, Regina Mundi Church, Soweto, South Africa

Program Highlights

  • Jewish Museum and Holocaust Center in Cape Town
  • Paarl Monument
  • District 6 Museum
  • Robben Island (site of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment)
  • Catholic Church in Stellenbosch
  • Meet significant apartheid struggle leaders, including Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
  • Plus: Table Mountain, Boulders Penguin Colony, Kirstenbosch Gardens, and Aquila Safari
  • Prerequisites: THEO 2xx-3xx (old core); none for new core (THEO 100 is recommended)
  • Fulfills: THEO 451 (old core); THEO 227 —or—IH and GP (new core)

Academic Overview

Course Description
The Nazi party in Germany and the Apartheid government in South Africa both exploited Christian theology to support their political agendas. This course will examine how theological rationales were used to lend legitimacy to each political system, as well as how resistance movements tapped into Christian theologies to help overcome both regimes.
View the program's photo and video page on OneStThomas!

Program Structure
Before departure, we will study the historical and theological contexts that gave rise to Hitler. We will study the Lutheran roots of the dominant German population at the turn of the century, and the rise of nationalism during the Weimar Republic. We will survey Hitler’s biography and explore Nazism’s “Final Solution” to the so-called “Jewish Question.” Then we will learn about the “Church Struggle," as the Protestant and Catholic Churches had internal struggles with the extent to which the churches should collaborate with or resist the political regime.
Once we arrive in Cape Town, we will shift gears to study the historical and theological contexts that gave rise to the apartheid government. We will study the Calvinist roots of the Afrikaner (Dutch South Africans) population and the rise of nationalism after the Boer Wars in South Africa at the turn of the century. We will survey Verwoerd’s biography and investigate how the government implemented a torture campaign as its answer to the so-called “Native Question.” Then we will learn about the “Church Struggle,” as the Protestant and Catholic Churches had internal struggles with the extent to which the churches should collaborate with or resist the political regime. Finally, we will look at the constructive work of “Black Theology” that helped to overthrow the apartheid government.
Most days will include a classroom session and a site visit with an evening reflection.
20%     Attendance and Participation
50%     Worksheets
15%     Midterm Exam
15%     Final Exam
Location and Tentative Dates
January 8         Depart Minneapolis for Cape Town via Amsterdam
January 9        Depart Amsterdam for Cape Town
January 10       Jewish Museum and Holocaust Center in Cape Town
January 11       Paarl Monument
January 12       Resistance Art
January 13       District 6 Museum
January 14       Catholicism, Apartheid, and AIDS in Stellenbosch
January 15       Table Mountain and Penguin Colony
January 16       Township of Guguletu
January 17       Center for Reconciliation and Social Transformation
January 18       Prepare Final Project
January 19       Presentations 1-10
January 20       Presentations 11-20
January 21       Safari
January 22       Kirstenbosch
January 23       Flight to Amsterdam
January 23       Flight to Minneapolis
Housing and Meals
Students will stay at the Schoenstatt Monastery in Constantia outside of Cape Town.
Most meals are included.

Click on the Program Cost link above for detailed cost information.
Total cost includes: tuition, airfare, transportation and course arrangements as indicated, hotel accommodations and some meals.
Application Procedures & Deadline
  • Select the Apply Now button at the top to start your online application.
  • Log in using your St. Thomas username and password.
  • Complete all application materials by the application deadline. Students are encouraged to apply during the priority enrollment period, April 1-10. Applications will be accepted after April 10 for programs with space still remaining until the final application deadline of October 1.
  • Download and read Short-Term Off-Campus Policies and Procedures.  You are responsible for reading, understanding and abiding by its content.
Priority Application Deadline: April 10, 2021
Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2021
Financial Aid/Scholarships
Students studying abroad during J-Term are generally only eligible for additional loans to help finance their study abroad costs. Please review Financial Aid for Study Abroad. Scholarships may also be available from St. Thomas and some Other Approved Programs. Please refer to our Scholarships webpage for details and review Short-Term Off-Campus Policies and Procedures for additional financial aid information.

For more information
On course content, contact: Prof. Kimberly Vrudny at 651-962-5337 or 
or Fr. Richard Cogill at 651-962-5300 or
On application procedures or logistical information, contact:
Office of Study Abroad | University of St. Thomas
Murray-Herrick 212 | 651.962.6450 | |

Sustainability & Study Abroad: CO2 Emissions for This Program
The flights for this program release 1.5163 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. To put that into perspective, this is equivalent to CO2 emissions from 193,383 smartphone charges. Another way to look at this is that it would take 64.5 bags of waste recycled instead of brought to a landfill OR 57.6 incandescent lamps switched to LEDs to offset these CO2 emissions. We encourage students to make decisions to offset their carbon production from studying abroad. Check out the CoolClimate Network’s carbon footprint calculator to identify and quantify specific behavior changes that can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.

This program is currently not accepting applications.