Oberlin-in-London Program

Fall 2023 Courses

All participants will take the course taught jointly by Professors Peters and Wilburn (which counts as the equivalent of two full courses), one disciplinary course taught by one of the faculty members, and a course on either London history or the London stage. 

Students majoring in any subject are encouraged to apply. Courses will fulfill specific major requirements for Biology, Classics, English, History, and Religion. 

BIOL/CLAS 952. The History of Medicine: Germs, Sex, and the Brain. 

(counts the equivalent of two full courses)

This course will explore the history of medical practice though the lenses of infectious disease, sexual and reproductive health, and mental health and wellness. For each area, instruction in the biological and physiological aspects of health will be paired with an historical survey of medical knowledge and treatment. We will explore critical events, such as the cholera epidemic in the 19th century, inoculation and vaccination, and modern pandemics, including HIV/AIDS, and will complement classroom study with weekly visits to important sites such as the Old Operating Theatre and the Wellcome Collection. The course will delve deeply into societal attitudes to illness and social class, relating these to social determinants of health and the global nature of disease, paying special attention to health disparities, and population-level factors such as access to clean air and sanitation.  Counts toward the BiologyClassics, and History majors, and counts as a System Elective for Global Health

Two full courses. NS and SS credit, CD. Maureen Peters & Drew Wilburn.

BIOL 951. The Biology of Cancer. 

This course, tailored especially for life science majors and other students preparing for pre-health careers, will investigate the disease of cancer from the smallest to the largest biological perspectives. London has an important place in the history of cancer research and is the home of important biomedical research centers, such as the University College London Cancer Institute and the Francis Crick Institute. We will learn about cutting-edge advancements and persistent challenges via attending research lectures and visits from research scientists to our classroom. We will also use cancer as a powerful case study to consider health-related societal/cultural issues and how the responses might differ in the US and UK. Counts toward the Biology major and as a Mechanism Elective for Global Health.

Full course. NS credit. Maureen Peters.

CLAS 950. Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion. 

This course will trace the history of magic and witchcraft in the United Kingdom, with a special focus on the ways in which magic has been contrasted and opposed to established religion (particularly Christianity). We will focus on the ways in which outsider approaches to the divine (such as wise women and cunning folk) provided meaning to their adherents, while simultaneously drawing the ire of the state and church. A special focus of the course will be on the role of ritual specialists in the treatment of disease and illness. Through readings, discussion, materials from the British Museum and site visits, the course will move through six major periods, from Stonehenge and the Druids to modern spiritualism and Harry Potter. Counts toward the Classics and Religion majors and as a Representation and Reflection Elective for Global Health.

Full course. HU credit. Drew Wilburn. 

LOND 907. A History of London

This course explores the history of London from its Roman origins to the present day and examines how royalty, trade, religion, and transport have shaped the city’s pattern of growth over 2000 years. Taught through a combination of classroom study and weekly walking tours and site visits.

Full course, SS credit. Counts toward the History major. Staff.

LOND 908. The London Stage

This course aims to expose students to contemporary British theatre in all its variety. At its heart will be discussion of productions in the current London repertory, with plays ranging from classical to contemporary, and venues including subsidized, commercial, and fringe theatres. Field trips required. 

Full course, HU credit. Counts towards the English major. Staff.