ENGL 344/444: London's Contemporary Theater (5 Credits)
Why do people continue to go to the theater in an era when many of us can watch whatever we want whenever we want on a computer or TV screen? In this course we’ll take advantage of London’s vibrant, world-renowned theater scene to learn how to analyze and appreciate live performance. We will see a variety of plays in a diverse array of venues, from the Globe Theater, where Shakespeare’s plays are routinely performed, to small fringe theaters where contemporary playwrights stage their new works. In addition to reading and watching one play each week, we may take a backstage tour at the National Theater and will take an overnight trip to Stratford, Shakespeare’s birthplace. Such activities will help us consider how the various elements of a performance—lighting, costume, sound, and staging, among others—make watching a performance different from reading a play. Course requirements will include weekly reading assignments and response papers, a short reflective essay, and a final group performance project.
Learning goals include:
Weekly written reviews of theater productions, a self-reflective essay, and final group performance lend themselves to critical writing, reading, and viewing. The work entailed for the group performance allows the student to engage collaboratively as well as individually. The student will emerge versed in critical spectatorship—watching carefully, as well as reading critically. Too, collaborative work fosters real-world and interpersonal skills directed toward specific outcomes created by the team. Writing on deadline, as do journalists for theater reviews, is a skill that will also serve the student well. For English Majors: if taken as ENGL 344, this course counts as a Forms and Genres; if taken as ENGL 444, this course counts as a Senior Capstone. For non-English majors, this course counts as a VLPA.
ENGL 363: Art, Architecture, and Society in London (5 Credits)
This course is interdisciplinary. The material is London itself. The course is taught entirely on the streets and in buildings, ranging from medieval, Elizabethan and Jacobean to Victorian, modern and post-modern. As well as equipping students to look more carefully at buildings, pictures, and sculpture, the course encourages them to consider what it might have been like to live at different times in the past, as a member of different social classes. Field trips to locations like Stratford-Upon-Avon are included, typically via chartered bus with professional drivers. Students stay in established B&B's for any overnight trips. The course is taught in the British University style, culminating with a final examination and student project, as well as weekly journal entries for sites visited. Site visits and walks are on-the-go class lectures; students are encouraged to take notes and ask questions along the way.
Learning goals include:
As well as equipping students to look more carefully at buildings, pictures and sculpture, the course encourages them to do some imaginative re-creation, considering what it might have been like to have lived at different times in the past as a member of different social classes. Student also emerge with a highly educated sense of how to “read” physical space, and understand the context of different historical periods. For English majors: This course is an English elective and meets 5 credits of pre-1900 course-work toward the English major. Non-English majors: This course counts as a VLPA.
ENGL 372: On (Trans-)Languaging in London (5 Credits)
How do languages, cultures, and identities come into contact and conflict in London’s public spaces? How do people from all walks of life (e.g. shopkeepers, immigrants, workers, tourists, etc.) negotiate difference and get things done linguistically as they constantly move in and out of these spaces? In this course, we will be exploring the complexity and dynamics of urban meaning-making through language as we walk, talk, listen, observe, eat, and possibly cycle in and through buildings, squares, parks, restaurants, pubs, coffee houses, markets, shops, stations, streets, and alleyways in the vibrant city of London. We begin by tracing and taking a closer look at the particular social, cultural, historical, political, and economic contexts that have contributed to the rich linguistic realities and demographic composition of present-day London cityscapes. We then investigate exciting new questions about the increasing multilingualism, diversity, mobility, and migration in the city. In this sense, this course gives you insights into how the astonishingly wide range of languages, vernaculars, Englishes, cultures, people, and cities coexist, interact, and get transformed in our modern times. As such, we will be systematically analyzing the forms and functions of the various language usages and creations we observe in our local surrounds in multilingual public signage (e.g. advertisement billboards, commercial shop signs, etc.), wall art, graffiti writing, and UK hip-hop and grime. Course requirements will include weekly journal entries, short writing assignments, and a final group project. You will also be contributing to the collaborative development of our course blog “Translating London on the Move,” designed to compile a collection of authentic materials (text extracts, photographs, voice recordings, video clips, etc.) and ethnographic accounts of the social uses and transformations of language around us.
Learning goals include:
Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of recent debates on urban multilingualism and related key concepts. Weekly ethnographic journal entries and writing assignments immerse students in detailed description and analysis of how different linguistic and cultural resources are used in urban contexts to develop new possibilities of interaction and to create a sense of self and place. The collaborative development of the course blog encourages independent ethnographic research— including active listening, interviewing, transcribing, writing field notes, — and critical engagement with primary materials and each other’s ideas. English majors: This course counts as an English elective and a DIV (diversity). All UW Students: this course counts as a VLPA/DIV course. The UW requires all students to graduate with a DIV (Diversity) course.
HSTEU 490: Contemporary Britain (5 Credits)
This course introduces students to various aspects of life in Britain, from royalty to the homeless, from politics to sport. There is a major emphasis on direct contact with the people and institutions of contemporary Britain, including meetings with homeless people and politicians, visits to Parliament and the media, and individual research projects which encourage students to follow up their own interests. The course also looks at issues such as race, crime, the family and the problems (and delights) of being young in Britain today. The course enables students to gain a deeper understanding of contemporary Britain and equips them better to understand their own society. Students will be assessed based on participation, a mid-term exam, a final exam, and individual projects.
Learning goals include:
Direct contact with the people and institutions of contemporary Britain provides students with knowledge about the complex, specific interrelations of an individual's place in society. Active engagement alongside exams allows focus and exposure to the history of the present moment, and individual projects foster a creative and grounded approach to education. This course counts as an IS (Individuals and Society) general education requirement-- or if already fulfilled, will apply toward general electives toward graduation requirements.