Saturday, July 23, 2011

Art to Look for at the Tate Modern

Tomorrow when you're exploring the Tate Modern, keep an eye out for the following works by post-World War II British artists:

Anish Kapoor, Ishi's Light (2003)

Bridget Riley, Fall (1963)

Francis Bacon, Figure in a Landscape (1945)
These days the Tate Modern is concentrating on telling the story of modern art as a collective and global endeavor. Why do you think the Tate's curators have decided to highlight so few British artists? Why do you think they chose to focus attention on these three artists in particular?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Reflective Research Essay

As part of your final assignment for this program, you will be turning in a three to five page (double-spaced) reflective essay concerning your research experiences in Oxford.

There is no one way to set up this essay. It should, however, offer a narrative that includes: how you chose your topic; how you refined and changed your topic over time; what obstacles you faced, if any, and how you handled them; what sources you found useful (and what ones weren't); what it was like working with others collaboratively (the good, the bad, and the weird); and how you arrived at your final argument and supporting evidence. Throughout, the focus should remain on your /experience/ of the research process, in line with the Honors Program's emphasis on experiential learning. You will have time to share the /outcome/ of your research and your /conclusions/ during the final group presentation.

This essay can be somewhat informal. That is, you can use "I" and use autobiographical anecdotes. You should, however, maintain an appropriately academic tone.

Because of the difficulty of finding a @#$@#$@# printer or copy shop here that charges less than a kidney, you can submit this essay as an electronic file readable on a Windows 7 / MS-Word computer. Preferred file formats: RTF, PDF, DOC, and DOCX. Please e-mail your final version to both Brian ( and Faye (

Ideally, you should submit your essay by 5pm on Friday 22 July. The ultimate final deadline is the time of your group presentation on the 26th. But believe me you don't want to put the essay off that late: you'll hate trying to write an essay and trying to practice your talk at the same time.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oxford Program, week one photos

Upated Syllabus

Howdy Oxfordians! I've updated the syllabus for the summer course -- you'll find the new version under Summer Program Documents listed as Summer Syllabus 29.06.2011.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Week 1-Schedule update, 6/27

First class
Sunday, June 26--2 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (approx)
meet at the picnic benches in front of EF Language School main office
-walk to Christ Church Meadow
-class outside near river

Monday, June 27--meet at 1:45 sharp! at the Information Center in Oxford (see "i" on map) for
Oxford Center Walking Tour (tour will last until 4:00 p.m. )

Tuesday, June 28, meet at 10:45am SHARP in Bodleian Old Schools Quadrangle for 11:00am Library Induction

Wednesday, June 29
8:30-10:30am meet at "THE VINES" classroom (V103), across from EF Language School

Thursday, June 30
10:00am to Noon (tentatively). Class with Faye Christenberry, UW English Librarian Specialist. Meet at the picnic tables out front of main reception at the EF Center.

Evening play at the Oxford Playhouse. Meet at 7 p.m. in front of theatre. (Brian will be at the Eagle & Child from around 6pm beforehand if you wish to join him.)

Friday, July 1
10:00am to 11:30am, Morning Walking Tour, meet at Information Center
. We will be exploring Cornmarket, the Clarendon Centre, and the Covered Market.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Important Housing Update

Hello Oxfordians! Here's a very important update: Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to make a change in housing for the summer program. Upon arriving in Oxford, you should now go to the following destination: the EF Language Center, Pullens Lane, in Headington, Oxford. The local contact is Ruth Chambers, tel +44(0)1865 759660, skype ruth.chambers.ef.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Oxford Is Nearly Here!

Only a week until I leave for Oxford, to get things ready for the rest of y'all. I'm so excited! There will be so much to see & do there. For example, you can visit Winston Churchill's ancestral estate, Blenheim Palace.

You can go punting on the Isis and Cherwell.

Or take a stroll along Addison's Walk in Magdalen College.

The Botanic Gardens should be in full bloom, too.

What an amazing place to spend time! See y'all there soon --

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Dear Group,

A reminder about credit details, per the Oxford website off the Honors Program's International Site:

All students will receive 10 credits total. The 2 credits in spring will be joined with the 8 summer credits once the summer grades are turned in and grade designations are given (after the program and when grades are due). The FSTDY/6 credits is a placeholder only. You will receive 8 credits in summer and 2, of course, for spring.

If students want other designations different than what is listed on the Oxford website (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), then you will need to obtain pre-approval through the departmental advisor of that unit.  English credits can be approved by Professor Reed.

Here's the detailed version off the Honors International Oxford page:
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.

Please contact Julie Villegas with any questions regarding credits.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Welcome Everyone -- The Adventure Begins!

Hello Oxfordians! I'm very pleased to see that Julie has set everything up so nicely & that we are ready to inaugurate the virtual side of Honors Oxford Study Abroad Program.

I thought that I might kick off the first round of posts. It seems to me that the ideal first topic would be -- Your Expectations Concerning Oxford. What do you think it's going to be like? What are you looking forward to? What are you curious about? What do you think it will be like living in the middle of a university that predates the Columbus's arrival in North America?

Me, I'm mostly thinking about the impending Royal Wedding at the moment. Completely distracted by all the spectacle and glitz. But I had dim sum on Sunday with a couple Oxford professors who were in town for the Shakespeare Association of America annual conference, and their perfect table manners and occasional jokes in medieval Latin reminded me just how much I enjoyed my time at Magdalen College. I'm thrilled to have this chance to return & share the magic of the place with y'all.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Program in Oxford

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.