Summer 2011 | Honors Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies
2-credit Spring prep seminar + 8-credit program in Oxford = 10 credits of Honors Core and VLPA, I&S (Or 1 core Honors core class, plus Honors seminar credit)
Variation of credits may be available per preapproval with your department
* All students are welcome to apply, priority given to College/Interdisciplinary and Departmental Honors. *
Thursday, January 6, 3:30, MGH 211B (Honors Suite, Seminar Room)
About the Program
Tony Blair's years as prime minister (1997-2007) represent a tumultuous period in British history. He oversaw a process of devolution that granted greater self-governance to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and he simultaneously sought to integrate Britain more fully into the European Union. He took a courageous stand for some individual freedoms, such as the right of gays and lesbians to form civil partnerships and to serve in the military, but his government also dramatically increased its use of invasive surveillance technologies to track and modify people's everyday behavior. The country fought unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, decried by many as imperialist and anti-Islamic, while at the very same time immigration and demographic trends were making Britain itself more and more multiracial, multiethnic, and religiously mixed. Throughout it all, the increasingly globalized British economy boomed and busted, producing extremes of wealth and impoverishment and progressively undermining the government's ability to sustain what remained of the cradle-to-grave social safety net created in the aftermath of World War II.
In the spirit of previous Honors summer study abroad courses, this one inquires into the ways a nation makes itself intelligible to itself as a people with a shared history and destiny. The contradictions of the Blair years make it an especially interesting object of study. How did writers, artists, and intellectuals define, redefine, or criticize "Britishness" in a period when one could no longer clearly associate the term with a particular skin color, religious confession, place of origin, or sexuality? How was "Britishness" positioned against possible alternatives and enemies? What role did the War on Terror play? What role have Black British, South Asian diasporic, and other minority cultures played in the shaping (or destabilizing) of the New Britain? How has the memory of the nation's imperial past - the era when half the planet's landmass was under British rule - influenced its twenty-first century self-conception?
Oxford represents an extraordinary location for asking these questions. Its museums, libraries, playhouses, monuments, and architecture provide many opportunities to inquire into how the past meets the present and how the British are seeking to make sense of themselves and their place in a swiftly changing uncertain world. It will also provide an inspirational backdrop as we study landmark works by contemporary writers, performers and visual artists such as David Dabydeen, Tracey Emin, Carol Ann Duffy, Mona Hatoum, Sarah Kane, Anish Kapoor, Martin Krimp, David Mitchell, Zadie Smith, and Gillian Wearing.
Students will work with learning partners from the University of Washington Honors Program and UW Libraries, Department of English, the University of Oxford and its Libraries and Special Collections.
Libraries and Special Collections
Students will have access to one of the greatest libraries in the world. Access will be granted to the main Bodleian libraries including the Sackler, which houses texts relating to the classics and the history of art. Further information can be found on the Bodleian Library's website.
- The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology houses the University's extensive collections of art and antiquities. Established in 1683, it is the oldest museum in the UK and one of the oldest in the world. It also houses an exceptional collection of prints which can be viewed by any member of the public upon special arrangement. Free admission.
- The University Museum of Natural History houses the University's scientific collections. With 4.5 million specimens it is the largest collection of its type outside of the national collections. Free admission.
- The Pitt Rivers Museum holds one of the finest collections of anthropology and archaeology. Free admission.
- The Museum of the History of Science is housed in the world's oldest surviving purpose-built museum building. It contains an excellent collection of historic scientific instruments from around the world. Free admission.
- The Bate Collection of Musical Instruments celebrates the development of musical instruments in the Western Classical tradition, from the medieval period to the present.
- The University of Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in Britain. It contains the most compact yet diverse collection of plants in the world. Admission charge.
- The Harcourt Arboretum is an informal garden, where the public can enjoy walks and riding their bicycles. It is six miles south of Oxford and forms an integral part of the Botanic Garden's plant collection. Parking charge.
- The Christ Church Picture Gallery houses an important collection of Old Master paintings and almost 2,000 drawings in a gallery of considerable architectural interest. Admission charge.
- Modern Art Oxford is the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in the Southeast region of Britain. Admission charge
Program Components and Academic Credit
Students will receive 10 credits total (2 credits at UW during spring quarter and 8 at Oxford). Credits will fulfill Honors Core requirements. Other credits may be applicable depending on individual research projects. (Alternative credit may be available to students outside of the Honors Program; this must be arranged in advance with your departmental advisers)
Spring Quarter 2011- 2 credit seminar
The first stage of this study abroad program involves a mandatory 2-credit Honors seminar (dates to be determined) during spring quarter 2011. This preparatory seminar will provide students with an interdisciplinary introduction to contemporary British art, culture, and politics as well as grounding in humanities research methods. Students will decide on project themes and develop proposals that will orientate them during their time in Oxford.
Summer Quarter 2011- 8 credits
During the month long summer program, students will focus on researching topics and exploring Oxford and surrounding areas. The summer portion will include classroom instruction, art and literature events, theatre performances, city walks, museum tours, and weekend excursions that will inform the final projects.
No art, literary, or performance experience is necessary or required. We are seeking students from various backgrounds.
Housing in Oxford
Students will live in the city with easy access to area attractions, libraries and special collections.
Programme In Oxford
Classes will be held at Oxford University and within the city itself. Students will have guided instruction M-F, with most weekends open for study, exploration, and relaxation. Excursions may include: Ashmoleon Museum & a play at the Oxford Playhouse. Short trip into London to visit St Paul's cathedral and see "old" Britain, the Millennial Bridge, and the Tate Modern.
Professor Brian Reed, Department of English
Associate Professor and Director, Graduate Programs
A.B., Harvard University, summa cum laude English Literature, 1992
B.A., Oxford University, 1st-class honours in Modern History, 1994
Ph.D., Stanford University, English and American Literature, 2000
Areas of Specialization
20th Century American Poetry
Activities and Interests
Brian Reed specializes in 20th century poetry and poetics. He is currently at work on a book about the intersections between post-World War II American verse and visual art. His research interests also include international modernism; the avant-garde; postmodernism; experimental fiction; electronic literature; New York of the 1950s; and art music from John Cage onwards. He has written articles on the American poets Robert Grenier, Susan Howe, Ezra Pound, Carl Sandburg, and Rosmarie Waldrop. A volume of essays co-edited with Nancy Perloff, Situating El Lissitzky: Vitebsk, Berlin, Moscow, was published by the Getty Research Institute in 2003. His first book, After His Lights: Hart Crane Reconsidered, is forthcoming from the University of Alabama Press series on Modern and Contemporary Poetics.
Honors Librarian mentor, TBA
An Honors Librarian Mentor will accompany the program director and work with students and librarians at Oxford to support research and program logistics.
This program will cost approximately $3,500 per student. Course costs include accommodations, in-city transportation, classroom and library use at the University of Oxford, field trips and most excursions, admission fees to all state museums and exhibits, and some group meals.
Course fee does not include an IP&E concurrent enrollment fee ($250); airfare ($1,200-$1,400 roundtrip, depending on when and where you buy your ticket); food (about $50 per day), and personal spending money.
IP&E will automatically charge student accounts for all program payments and fees.
Students may use their regular financial aid and scholarship funds for study abroad. The exception is any scholarship in the form of a tuition waiver. Tuition waivers cannot be used to pay study abroad program fees. You may want to check with the Office of Student Financial Aid in Schmitz Hall for more information.
A $350 deposit is required at the time of acceptance. This $350 deposit is non-refundable. Any student withdrawing from the program within 4 months of the program start date will be responsible for a minimum of 25% of the total program fee. In addition, there may be other unrecoverable fixed program costs. Any student withdrawing from the program within 2 months of the program start date will be responsible for 50% of the total program fee. Any student withdrawing from the program within 1 month of the program start date will be responsible for 75% of the total program fee. Withdrawal after a program begins involves the loss of the entire program fee.
Once accepted to the program in order to formally withdraw, you must do the following, in writing:
- Contact the program directors.
- Submit a signed IPE Withdrawal Form to the UW Office of International Programs and Exchanges.
- Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.
- Your withdrawal date is considered the date (business day) your withdrawal paperwork is received by the UW Office of International Programs and Exchanges.
Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from Oxford. You may wish to explore budget fares offered on websites such as Travelocity and Expedia, as well as STA and Council Travel in the University district.
Students and instructors will be making several day-excursions. Students will also have opportunities to travel on their own for two or three day-jaunts.
All participants must have a passport valid for the duration of the program. It may take as long as six weeks (or longer) to obtain or renew a passport.
Selection to the program is competitive and acceptance into the program will be decided based on application materials, interviews, and student's demonstrated motivation to challenge themselves intellectually across academic disciplines and cultures and to work both individually and in groups.
For More Information
For more information, please contact: