Oberlin-in-London Program

Spring 2020 Courses

There will be two separate curricular tracks this semester: English and Politics. Students will enroll in one or the other.

English Program

ENGL 966. The London Stage

(Counts as the equivalent of 1.5 full courses.)

An exploration of British and world drama from the Renaissance to the present, emphasizing the relation between drama as literature and as a script for theatrical realization. The syllabus will be based on plays being produced in London and Stratford-upon-Avon; on average, two plays a week will be read, discussed, and seen in production. The course will be conducted largely by discussion with the instructor and with actors and other guests involved in theater. Students will rehearse and perform scenes for analysis, keep a performance journal, and write several short papers. Counts toward the Pre-1700 requirement for ENGL majors, textual studies requirement for CRWR majors, and dramatic literature requirement for THEA majors.

HU credit, CD, W-Adv. David Walker.

ENGL 972. Modernism in England

(Counts as the equivalent of 1.5 full courses.)

A study of the modernist aesthetic as practiced in England during the first half of the twentieth century, emphasizing thematic, cultural, and stylistic developments and focusing as much as possible on works reflecting life in London. The syllabus is likely to include poetry by Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot; stories by Elizabeth Bowen and D.H. Lawrence; and novels by Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, Evelyn Waugh, Molly Keane, and Graham Greene. Literary study will be complemented by attention to the visual art, architecture, music, and dance of the period. Counts toward the textual studies requirement for CRWR majors.

HU credit, W-Adv. David Walker.

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.

Politics Program

POLT 911. Class, Gender, Race and Politics in Britain

(Counts as the equivalent of 1.5 full courses.)

Class is a fundamental social cleavage, but it is more invisible than gender, race or ethnicity, especially to Americans, given our history and ideology. In this seminar, we use London as a living laboratory to study class in relation to the economy and politics. We also explore class’s intersections with gender and with race and ethnicity. Readings begin with theory but move quickly to substantive studies of the UK.

SS credit, CD. Marc Blecher.

POLT 912. Research Workshop: Class and Politics in Britain

(Counts as the equivalent of 1.5 full courses.)

Students will conduct field research, including interviews, participant observation, and site visits, related to the themes of POLT 911, focusing on an arena of London or British life of interest. Frequent consultations will help with research arrangements. Students will present project proposals and successive drafts to the class. We will publish a bound volume of the papers (see Blecher and Rettew, eds., What the English Know As Class [CreateSpace Publishing, 2013]).

SS credit, W-Adv. Marc Blecher.

LOND 910. Staging Politics  

What can theatre contribute to the ways people understand and perhaps even deploy power? What makes a play political? What makes a good political play? In what different ways may political ideas be embedded within compelling stories? How can plays written many years ago be staged to speak forcefully to present-day dynamics of power? This team-taught course—led by one specialist in theatre and one in politics—will study political drama on the contemporary London stage. We will aim to see and discuss a wide variety of plays performed in a wide variety of venues, from humble pub stages to the grandeur of the National Theatre. Their commonality will be that they are plays in which disparities of power are prominently at stake. London theatres regularly treat matters of political concern in contemporary Britain, but also in the wider world—such as class, race and gender inequality and conflict, populism and nationalism, globalization, migration, multiculturalism, human rights, and​ environmental justice. We will see one play weekly, and hold seminars in which we will prepare for an upcoming performance—sometimes by reading the play—and discuss the play we have just seen.

Full course, HU credit. Counts toward the English and the Politics major. Marc Blecher and Donna Vinter.

See Also

London program information in the course catalog