The University of Zadar is separated into “new” and “old” campuses. The new campus lies outside of the walled peninsula and just beyond the harbor, and is situated within a former Yugoslav military base. Several buildings have been renovated for university use, while others remain in a state of decay or are simply shells of the former buildings. Scars from the war of independence in the early 1990s, or the “Homeland War” as it is referred to here, are also visible in the neighborhood surrounding the campus where several buildings still exhibit some damage from bullets and other artillery. While the renovated military buildings are sufficient for the time being, architectural plans for a newly constructed campus in the same location have been approved. Financial support for the new campus will hopefully come from the European Union, of which Croatia is expected to become a member in July 2013.
The old campus occupies a quiet corner of the walled city, with its gaze permanently fixed toward the sea. In fact, only a seaside promenade separates the university buildings from the waves of the Adriatic—a more impressive campus location, I have not seen. Departments are housed on both campuses, with the younger departments typically assigned to the new campus. Students may spend more time on one versus the other depending on their degree plan, but most migrate fluidly between the two for class meetings (about a 15 minute walk).
I have an affiliation with two departments here—Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology on the new campus, and Archaeology on the old campus. Fulbright grants can be strictly teaching, strictly research, or a combination of the two. Mine is a combined teaching/research grant, so I will be teaching one course with the remainder of my time devoted to research. The class I will teach, “Human Impacts on Ancient Environments,” will be offered through the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology on the new campus, even though the curriculum is mostly centered on archaeology. Workspace is very limited on both campuses, but the Archaeology Department was able to offer me a small desk in one of their shared offices. It works well enough for me, as I am able to read, write, and collaborate with others easily enough. Cell phone reception is very poor in the office, but I learned the first day from other faculty in the office, as well as students and faculty in the neighboring lab, that standing on a chair next to one of the windows not only boosts the signal substantially, but provides a nice view of the sea while you complete your call. When in Rome (or a former Roman colony, as the case may be)…
Although classes don’t begin until March, I have been spending time in my office space on the old campus regularly, primarily engaged in research. Apart from archaeology and anthropology, I have met several members of the Marine Sciences program here, who invited me to give a talk at their monthly interdisciplinary research seminar. I offered a presentation titled “The Archaeology of Environmental Change: Current Challenges and Opportunities to the Interdisciplinary Study of Humans and the Environment.” There was good attendance, and I was happy to see a nice mix of disciplines represented, including archaeologists, marine scientists, historians, agronomists, and cultural anthropologists. All seemed very interested in collaboration or the general sharing of ideas, and as a result, my coffee calendar is full for the next month.