Printing, Propaganda, and Progress

Held in Germany and Switzerland, this program explores the impact of technology on Western Europe and Christianity since the invention of the printing press in 1440.

This information is based on the most recent offering of the program and will be updated when offered next. (Anticipated Summer 2025)

Program Overview

The printing press is arguably the most revolutionary and profound agent of change the world has seen in its political, social, religious, and economic affairs since the phonetic alphabet. How Johannes Gutenberg, the son of a religious economist and himself a goldsmith, combined the technologies of paper, oil-based ink, hot-metal type, and the screw-type wine press to achieve the medium of the book, the world’s first mass-produced commodity, and what its immediate and long-ranging effects were, will be the primary focus of the course. Along the way we will also learn about the genealogy of the interchangeable part, the invention of the clock, representative money, the rise of capitalism, and other techniques contributing to the modern world as characterized by market economies of mass production. How these changes in media forms affected the religious practice, and subsequent heritage of Germany, Switzerland, Western Europe, and the globalized world as a whole will be traced through a technology and culture tour that focuses on the rise of the machine and its impact on subsequent world history.

  • Sponsoring Department(s):  Communication
  • Program Leader(s): Dr. Read Schuchardt
  • Term: Summer 2025
  • On-Campus Program Dates: TBD
  • International Program Dates:  TBD
  • Estimated Cost: TBD
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Eligibility: Open to Wheaton and non-Wheaton students; although the program was created primarily for Communication/Media Studies majors, it is useful, applicable, and of relevance to Philosophy, Education, Economics, Political-Science, Art, Theology, and German language majors as well.  Each year, about half of the students are from academic areas other than Communication.
  • Highlights:  One month of travel, two weeks in Germany and two weeks in Switzerland, with on-campus instruction prior to travel.

Program Fees

The estimated program fee covers tuition, room and board for the on-campus week (meals available M-F only), two weeks of lodging in Germany and two weeks of lodging in Switzerland, museum and/or site entry tickets at all scheduled museum/site visits, schedule guided tours, German and Swiss Rail Passes, and two meals per day while in Europe.

Estimated Additional Expenses: Students will be responsible for the cost of international airfare from Chicago to Frankfurt and the return from Zürich to their home. Students will also be responsible for:

  • The cost of textbooks and course materials
  • Saturday and Sunday meals while on-campus 
  • Transportation costs from Wheaton College to Chicago O’Hare airport on day of departure (shared cab)
  • Transportation costs from Frankfurt International Airport to Koenigshof Hotel (train)
  • One meal per day (on average) while in Europe
  • Passport or visa fees, if applicable
  • Personal expenses

Expense Estimate
International airfare TBD
Textbooks/Course materials TBD
Additional meals TBD
Ground transportation to O'Hare TBD
Ground transportation to Frankfurt Hotel TBD