〈Hokkaido Summer Institute 2019〉”Coptic Culture and Language” was held

The course “Coptic Culture and Language: An introduction to the history and language of traditional Egyptian Christianity” was held as one course for Hokkaido Summer Institute (HSI) 2019 for 5 days from July 8th to July 12th.

In this program, Professor Jacques van der Vliet of Leiden University and Dr. Ewa Zakrzewska of the University of Amsterdam were invited to work together with Professor Satoshi Toda of Hokkaido University’s Western Literature Department to provide an intensive course on Coptic culture and language.

Professor van der Vliet lectured mainly on Coptic history and culture.
Dr. Zakrzewska lectured on Coptic language from a linguistic perspective.
Professor Toda was the lecturer responsible for the course. Professor Toda helped encourage student discussions and move the course forward.

About 60% of participating students were from Hokkaido University while the remaining 40% came from universities abroad. The students who participated in this course came from a large variety of different fields – such as religious studies, history, linguistics, and ethics – and all had their own unique backgrounds and research interests.

Students were given assignments on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th day after class during this 5-day intensive course. Students were on a tough schedule, considering that they were asked to turn in their assignments before midnight of the day the assignment was given. Not one student failed to turn in their assignment during these 3 days. Professor van der Vliet and Dr. Zakrzewska were very impressed with the students’ efforts.

For the assignment, students were asked to write down any of their doubts concerning the course. The lecturers then provided an explanation of students’ doubts and engaged in a discussion with the participating students.

While students expressed how difficult it was to deal with the work given in advance and daily assignments, they all expressed a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction with their new knowledge. Students stated, “I was able to learn about a new culture that I’m not normally able to find out about,” “I was able to get a well-balanced education on Coptic culture and language,” “The content was very fulfilling and the class materials helped a lot,” and “Both the lecturers and my classmates were very friendly so the course had a good atmosphere.”