Oberlin-in-London Program

Spring 2020 London Program


There will be two separate curricular tracks this semester. Roughly half the students will enroll in courses in British Modernism and the London stage (taught by David Walker), as well as a class in the history of London (taught by Katy Layton-Jones). The other students will take courses on social class in Britain (taught by Marc Blecher), as well as a class in theater and politics (team-taught by Donna Vinter and Marc Blecher).

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Marc Blecher, Politics

“London has become my second home, thanks to the opportunities I've had to teach on the London Program in 1993, 1998, 2003, and 2012. So I can't wait to turn a new group of Obies on to my favorite city. All its thrilling cosmopolitan sophistication aside, London has also profoundly shaped my work as a social scientist and citizen, offering fresh perspectives on politics, society, economics, and international affairs that provide invaluable antidotes to many conventional American nostrums. My research specialty is Chinese politics (focusing especially on workers), but my teaching spans wider questions of class power and inequalities. London is, for me, a natural setting to explore those issues, since so many Brits actually still think and talk about them.” More about Marc Blecher...

David Walker, English

“This will be my seventh time teaching on the London Program, and I’m excited about the chance to introduce another group of Oberlin students to a city I know well and love. My teaching interests center on twentieth-century literature, drama, and creative writing. In Oberlin I regularly offer courses on modernist fiction, Shakespeare, contemporary poetry and drama, and playwriting. I also have considerable experience with theater as an actor, director, and frequent playgoer, including leading groups of Oberlin alums on London theater study tours every other summer for the last 20 years. The first time I taught on the London Program, I felt as though it was the sort of teaching I was born to do, and I’m no less passionate about it now.” More about David Walker...

Resident London Program Faculty

Donna Vinter, adjunct faculty and Resident Director, spent a formative year in London as a graduate student working in the British Library to complete a thesis on English medieval drama. Within a year of obtaining her Ph.D in English Literature from Harvard University (1976), she was back living in London for good and working in the study-abroad sector. She has been running the Oberlin London program since 2007. Her passion is for dramatic literature and theatre of all kinds, but her teaching experience has particularly centered on Shakespeare and Renaissance drama, and modern and contemporary drama. In addition, she has strong academic interests in the nineteenth and twentieth-century novel, in modern Irish literature, and in British cultural history generally. She has taught for a number of American programs in London, including for American, Pepperdine, Northwestern and Lawrence universities and Grinnell College, and is a founding member of the Association of Study Abroad Programs in the UK.

Katy Layton-Jones obtained a degree in fine art and art history at Goldsmiths College, London and went on to complete a Ph.D. on nineteenth-century British History at the University of Cambridge. Her research and publications relate to British social and cultural history from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries. In particular, her recent work has focused on urban themes such as the representation of parks, public spaces and the built environment. In addition to teaching History of London for the Oberlin-in-London and Grinnell-in-London programs, she is a lecturer at the University of Leicester and the Open University. She lives in London and knows all its haunts…