Oberlin-in-London Program

Fall 2024 Courses

All participants will take the course taught jointly by Professors Neilson and Schmidt (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 Art History and Geosciences, as well as count towards ARHU, NS, and CD requirements.

ARTH 920 & GEOS 920
Geoaesthetics: Art, Geosciences, and Earthly Matter

(counts the equivalent of two full courses)

Where did artists from the past get their materials–stone, wood, clay, pigments, etc.–and how are their understandings about materials different from ours today? What would it mean for us to consider the vitality of matter as agents in works of art and in our understanding of the world? We will explore the entanglements of matter (the earth’s physical substances) and the materials of art and architecture in examples from ancient through contemporary times. We will consider understandings of matter different from ours today.

Students will conduct small group research projects using a variety of methodologies that bridge Geosciences and Art History to explore lessons we might learn from past attitudes to materials and matter for our contemporary understandings of the world. We will attempt to develop a humanistic approach to the earth attentive to indigenous epistemologies, the agency of nonhuman life forms, and ways of being that have been marginalized by colonialism, capitalism, and practices of environmental extraction to offer new ways of thinking in the Geosciences. Just as importantly, the long-time approach of the Geosciences will offer new ways of thinking about materials of works of art and the discipline of Art History more broadly, allowing us to breach the assumed binary between natural and human history. Many of our discussions will take place in London’s many vibrant museums, including the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Library, and Kew Gardens.

This course will count as credit towards the Art History major, fulfilling the requirement of a 200-level course and the area requirement (this course will count as an “other” field: one that is outside the Art History department’s areas that has been approved by the department chair), and the Art History minor. It will also count towards the Geosciences major (as a 300-level elective). Prerequisites: No prerequisites.

Two full courses. NS and HU credit, CD. Counts toward Art History major and minor as well as the Geosciences major and minor. Christina Neilson & Amanda Schmidt.

ARTH 925
Fashion and Identities of the British Empire 

This course will examine the significance of fashion in expressing and determining people’s place in society across the British Empire, including the British Isles, India, Jamaica, parts of Africa and the West Indies. We will trace the long, complex and fraught history of multiculturalism in Britain through the medium of clothing. We will explore how the political ambitions of the British Empire were exercised and expressed through styles of clothing and the fabrics they were made from (where they came from; their industries; their social and political significance). And we will examine the many cases of resistance expressed by people in the British isles and its colonies through fashion. The course will focus in particular on the early modern era (c.1500–1750), but this material will be brought into dialogue with contemporary issues.

This course will count as credit towards the Art History major, fulfilling the requirement of a 200-level course and the Renaissance-Baroque area requirement, and the Art History minor.

Full course, HU credit, CD. Counts toward Art History major and minor. Christina Neilson

GEOS 926
The British-Irish Ice Sheet and the formation of modern British topography 

Landscapes surround us all and often seem to be static, unchanging backdrops for our day-to-day activities. Yet, if we begin to look closely, landscapes are anything but static features; they are continually evolving at a variety of temporal and spatial scales. Earth Surface Processes, or geomorphology, is the study of landscapes, their forms, and the history and processes of their development. Geomorphology bridges the time scales of geology (millions to billions of years) and civil and environmental engineering (hundreds of years) to study the Quaternary (the last approximately 1.4 million years of Earth time). In Britain, modern processes are overprinting a landscape shaped by the British-Irish Ice Sheet and, in mountainous areas, alpine glaciers. Thus, any understanding of the modern landscape of London and surrounding areas must start with an understanding of the glacial processes during and prior to the last glacial maximum. This class will study these processes and how we can learn about them now, long after the glaciers and ice sheet have retreated.

Full course, NS credit. Counts towards Geosciences major and minor as a 300-level elective or in place of GEOS212 (Earth Surface Processes). Amanda Schmidt

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. Katy Layton-Jones

LOND 908
The London Stage

This course aims to expose students to contemporary British theatre in all it 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. Gemma Miller