In this course, students will use London to investigate the
worlds of the Victorians: their habits, their class divisions, their politics,
their work and leisure activities, their cultural productions. We will spend
much of the course walking around the city, attuning ourselves to sights and
feel of the Victorian Metropolis. The course includes visits to specialist
locations – such as Leighton House – and larger museums – such as the Tate. We
will have a rather frenetic pace the first two weeks of the course,
familiarizing ourselves with the Victorian aspects of the city. Students will discover
the presence of the Victorians in the everyday experiences of London in the 21st
century: crossing bridges, having tea, using the underground system, shopping,
admiring the skyline. The third week of the course, we will concentrate on
independent research projects related to Victorian London. Students will use
local collections to examine sources which illuminate their chosen topics,
prepare an annotated bibliography of sources, and present research findings to
Department of History
Did you study abroad as a student? If so, where? How did that impact you?
I spent a semester abroad in Toulouse, France. This was an incredible experience that not only taught me about French language and culture but about myself as an independent person. I absolutely loved both the structured activities and the ability to discover things on my own.
Why should students from your discipline go abroad?
My course, "The Victorian Metropolis," is an ideal course for students of History, English, Women's and Gender Studies, and the humanities in general. Students in these areas can all benefit hugely from study abroad, as international programs allow them to see human experiences through a variety of different lenses. In an English-speaking location like the UK, students might expect a lot of similarities with US cultures because of the shared language, but they will be surprised to learn about the many differences. The interesting layers of history in the UK -- from Roman roads through remnants of World War II bomb shelters -- provide students with a different experience of history -- and especially urban history -- than they get in Colorado.
What inspires you about London?
How can I not be inspired by London? It was almost impossible to limit my course to a three-week Maymester because of the hundreds of possibilities for studying Victorian history in London. The Victorians simply jump out at you when you walk down the street! London has such an incredible range of museums, architecture, art, parks, and traditions rooted in the nineteenth century, and the fact that 2012 is the bicentenary celebration of Charles Dickens's birth makes it that much more exciting to visit now. I am so eager to share my love of the city with students!
What was the most interesting thing that happened to you in London?
I don't think there is any one thing I could say is the most interesting. I have traveled to London over a dozen times and have stayed in a wide variety of locations: Bloomsbury, Islington, Tufnell Park, Hampstead, Cricklewood, and Ealing. Some of these areas are very chic; others are not. Some have large immigrant populations; some do not. Some feel touristy; others let me experience the city as more of an inhabitant. I think what is most interesting is how vastly different these areas are, yet they all define what London is.
What was the weirdest thing that happened to you in London?
So maybe this is not the best thing to share: I was at a shoe store on a very hot summer day on a research trip. I put my computer bag down, and the next thing I knew, I saw someone walking out of the store with it. I put on my shoes and started running after him. This was at one of the busiest intersections in London: Oxford Road and Tottenham Court Road. I ran like crazy through this enormous intersection, screaming "he's got my bag! he's got my bag!" Here's the weird -- and pleasant -- part: all these people came running out of a pub and chased the guy. They didn't get him, but they got my bag and saved my research! I couldn't believe that in the middle of London all these guys would put down their pints to help me.
What is your favorite favourite food from London?
This is a tough one. Neal's Yard Dairy cheese is the bomb. We get some at Whole Foods, but it's nothing like what you get at the actual cheese shop in Covent Garden. The best part is that you can go into the shop and taste tons of cheese before purchasing. The people who work there are incredibly generous with their tastes. The other thing to be sure to eat in London is Indian food. And the sandwiches at Pret a Manger are great and cheap. Why can't we do prepared sandwiches that are that good?
What is one thing Americans should know about England?
Look to your left to cross the street. I can't emphasize that enough!
Why do you get excited about the subject matter of your Global Study program?
This is an interdisciplinary class focused on Victorian London -- being able to be in the city and see it through history, art, literature, engineering, food, etc. is incredibly exciting. Studying Victorian London provides a terrific window to understand many of the key themes in 19th-century British culture: urbanization, industrialization, wealth and poverty, women's rights, political change, imperialism. London was the hub not just of Britain but of the British Empire, and the Victorians saw themselves as being at the center of the world. The city reflects that sense of greatness in so many ways, but it also teaches about the people who were excluded from this vision.
What do you expect students to learn from "The Victorian Metropolis" ?
I expect that students who take this course will come to appreciate the rich history and culture of London. Because they will undertake individual research projects, they will be able to really delve into something of particular interest to them and to understand London through that interest. I think that is really exciting.