Programs > Brochure
Davidson College - England
Cambridge, England (Outgoing Program)
|Program Housing:||Dorm||Language of Instruction:||English|
|Language Prerequisite:||No||Class Eligibility:||05 - Rising Sophomores, 06 - Rising Juniors, 07 - Rising Seniors|
2015 will mark the 33rd anniversary of Davidson College's summer program at Cambridge University, England. Jointly sponsored by the departments of English and History, the six-week program explores the history and literature of Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. A Davidson faculty member will accompany the group to Cambridge as resident director.
The course material covers the period from roughly 1780 to 1850. These turbulent times witnessed crucial stages in Britain's transformation from an early modern to a modern nation, and provide rich ground for an interdisciplinary study of its history and literature. Themes to be considered include: the British response to revolution abroad and the nature of reaction at home; the rise and influence of Romanticism; the creation of a British national and cultural identity; the experience of travel and scientific discovery; and the effects of industrialization and urbanization on work patterns, class relations, gender roles, literary expression and the British countryside. Close attention will be also paid to music, the visual arts, architecture, and landscape design as well as historical and literary topics.
The program is designed to immerse students in British culture. To that end, all teaching is done by British scholars, most from the Cambridge University community, and the curriculum replicates the British educational system by combining lectures and tutorials. Topics of study are specifically chosen which take advantage of the students' presence in Britain and ability to experience their subjects first-hand.
Successful completion of this P/F course will carry one Davidson credit, awarded in either English 370 or History 390 (to be determined by each student). These credits may count toward major requirements in the English and History Departments or toward graduation requirements.
The course stresses interdisciplinary study. All students, regardless of the course credit they choose, will study both history and literature, attending the same lectures, participating together in tutorials, and completing the same reading assignments.
At the heart of the course of study is a series of lectures. Each week, all program participants will gather to hear four morning lectures on a broad range of topics. United by their relation to a set of assigned texts, each week's lectures are conceived as a mini-unit. Thus, for the week in which a Jane Austen novel is assigned, lectures might address such themes as Austen and her writing, the culture of the provincial society in which she lived, and the musical and artistic styles popular when she wrote. Some of the program's lectures will even be delivered "on site," with the Davidson group traveling, for example, to Bath to study its eighteenth-century building program first-hand (and to mingle at the Assembly Rooms, drink tea and eat "Bath buns" in the Pump Room, and promenade along the Royal Crescent -- all as Austen and her characters did.) Other organized study trips might include visits to country houses, landscape gardens, and museums in Cambridge and London.
Students will also meet twice per week in small groups for tutorials led by Dr. Katherine Wakely-Mulroney (English) and Dr. Matthew Neal (History). They will be returning in 2015 for their second year with the program.
The goal of each tutorial session is to discuss a set of texts and to draw connections between those texts and the lectures series and study trips. Tutorials are the most elastic component of the course, and their format may vary depending on the students' interests and needs. Usually, however, the English and History tutors work as a team, leading interdisciplinary discussions with a mixed group of English and History concentrators.
Students will write three papers during the course of the program, and may select paper topics that reflect their particular disciplinary interests. All papers will be graded by the tutors.
One of the most popular aspects of the program is the freedom it affords participants to explore Britain. As Friday classes generally end by noon, students may spend long weekends traveling. Moreover, the fourth week of the program is completely unscheduled, providing an opportunity for more extensive independent travel. Cambridge and the surrounding countryside are especially attractive and culturally rich, but more ambitious travelers can easily find their way, thanks to Britain's national railway system, to points throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Perennial favorites include London, Canterbury, York, the Lake District, Edinburgh, the Scottish Highlands, Ireland and the Welsh coast. Such outings are left to the students to plan and finance.
Housing and Meals
Davidson's base of operations at Cambridge University is Magdalene College, a historically-rich college in the heart of town. Situated in the famous row of colleges which stretch along the river Cam, Magdalene is the home to such wonders as the seventeenth-century Pepys Library.
Magdalene College began life as a Benedictine hostel in 1428, and was re-founded under a grant from Henry VII in 1542. The Davidson group lives in Magdalene's recently refurbished quaside residence, Basing House. We could not have a better location - intimate yet centrally located!
In selecting students for the Davidson College Summer Program in Cambridge, the admissions committee will consider each applicant's entire academic record (paying particular attention to any background courses taken in British history and literature), written statements included in the application, and letters of recommendation. English and History majors are not necessarily given preference in the selection process. Past participants have included Art, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Math, Political Science and Religion majors. Rising sophomores should talk to the program director, Dr. Vivien Dietz, before applying.
Students interested in the Cambridge Program are strongly urged to take at least one specified Davidson course. Such preparation will significantly strengthen a candidate's application to the program and enjoyment of the academic experience in Cambridge. The following Davidson courses are recommended: English 220, 240, 260, 262, 360, 361, 362, 363, 371 or 372, and History 120, 225, or 325. (Courses listed in bold are the most relevant for the Cambridge Program). Please note that not all of these courses are offered every semester or even every academic year.
While it is common practice for those seeking an English credit on the Cambridge Program to take an English course at Davidson in preparation, and for would-be History concentrators to take a History course, other approaches are also welcome. Given the program's interdisciplinary nature, there are advantages to choosing preparatory courses beyond one's usual field of study.
Once accepted into the program, students must commit to a series of mandatory preparatory activities at Davidson. These will include sessions on travel, academic and cultural orientation, and a host of other practical matters. Applicants who will be away from Davidson during the spring semester 2015 must discuss their situation with the Program Director during the application period.
Professor Vivien Dietz
Visa Warning: U.S. residents studying in the U.K. for the summer on the Cambridge Program do not require a visa. Any student who also plans to study abroad in the fall in a country that requires a visa should consider the timing of that visa application process.
Passports must be surrendered as part of the visa application process. Since it may take up to 90 days to receive a visa and have your passport returned to you, participating in consecutive study abroad programs in different countries, particularly between summer and fall, may be problematic or impossible.
Davidson College and consulate staffers cannot guarantee that a visa will be granted by a foreign government in any circumstance or in any time frame. International students should schedule a consultation with International Student Advisor, Jennifer Glass, to discuss their visa status.
Davidson College reserves the right to cancel or modify part or all of a study abroad program should changing circumstances make it necessary to do so. In cases where the college has security concerns, the program director and the Dean Rusk Program Director will gather information and make a recommendation to the Dean of Faculty. The dean will take his decision to the president, who retains ultimate authority to decide whether or not a particular Davidson-sponsored trip should proceed.
Davidson admits qualified students without discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, age, handicap, gender, or sexual preference.
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