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The London English Study Group

Director Fall 2014: Professor Linck Johnson, Department of English
This study group offers students the opportunity to live and study for a full semester in one of the world’s great cities. In fact, London will be a central “text” of the study group, which is designed to immerse students in the culture, history, and life of the city. Through a study of London novels, including several focusing on immigrants experiencing the dizzying complexity of the city for the first time, students will develop a sense of the physical and historical contexts of British fiction. The impact of World War I on all aspects of British life and culture will be the special topic of a course on modern British literature, in which students will study a wide range of materials and visit museums, monuments, and other memorial sites in London.  In a course on the contemporary London theater, students will study with an acclaimed playwright and attend a play each week. Finally, in a course on the social and cultural history of London, which includes weekly walking tours, students will explore the city and study its development from a Roman settlement into a modern metropolis, a magnet for immigrants who have transformed it into one of the most vibrant and multicultural cities in the world.

Required Courses

All students accepted into the group will take English 290, an introduction to study in London, 0.25-credit on-campus course in the spring of 2014; and four courses in London. Three of those courses will offer credit in the English Department: English 308Y and English 331Y, both taught by the director; and English 332Y, taught by a resident theater specialist in London.  The fourth course will be History 348, taught by another resident specialist in London. In addition to the four required courses, there will be a series of day and overnight trips, as described below under Field Trips. With minor adjustments, the program will follow Colgate’s academic calendar for the fall semester of 2014.

English 308Y: Periods in British Literature: London in Fiction (L. Johnson)
In this course, we will explore the ways in which the city and urban life have been represented by fiction writers from Charles Dickens in the 1830s through the works of immigrant authors in “postcolonial” London. Together, we will examine a series of interrelated topics, including the nature of the modern urban experience and its challenges to traditional modes of literary representation; the relation between the “real” and the imagined or invented city; the role of wealth, class, ethnicity, and race in the social dynamics of urban life; the impact if immigration and consequent development of diverse, hybrid communities; and evolving ideas of national character and identity, of “Englishness” and “England.” This course satisfies the Global Engagements requirement in the Core Curriculum.

English 331Y: Modern British Literature: The Great War and British Culture (L. Johnson)
In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, in this course we will focus on the impact and legacy of the war in all areas of British culture, from the beginning of the conflict in August 1914 to the present. What was known as the “Great War” ushered in the modern era and radically altered the ways in which writers and other artists viewed the world. In addition to novels and stories, poetry, and memoirs, the “texts” for the course will include war monuments and memorials, in both London and Belgium; paintings and exhibitions at institutions such as the Imperial War Museum; films; and, finally, a performance of the acclaimed contemporary play War Horse.

English 332Y: Contemporary London Theater and Culture (M. Punter)
A study of drama, both classic and modern, as represented by plays in production in London during the fall of 2014. All students will see 10-12 plays, focusing on theoretical and technical aspects of drama, as well as on what specific productions reveal about British culture and contemporary London. 

History 349Y: History of the City of London (K. Layton-Jones)
A course in the social and cultural history of England’s greatest city. Every week, students will meet for one session in the classroom and one session in the form of a walking tour of London.

Field Trips

Group poses outside small cottageThe group will take two overnight trips: one to the memorials and museums in and around Ypres, a town in Flanders (Belgium) where three major battles took place during World War I; and a second trip to Bath, with its beautifully preserved architectural history, the magnificent landscape gardens at Stourhead, and the ancient ruins at Stonehenge. In addition to excursions in and around London, the director will also arrange day trips to other sites of cultural, historical, or natural importance, for example to Canterbury, the White Cliffs of Dover, and Tintern Abbey in Wales.

Classrooms, Libraries, and Other Facilities

Classes will be held at Florida State University’s London Study Centre, a complex in the heart of Bloomsbury, just a couple of blocks west of the British Museum and British Library. The complex also houses a modest library and computer facility, which will be available to students. Students will become members of the University College London student union.

Living Arrangements

Students will reside in five- to six-person flats in Bloomsbury, about a five-minute walk from the FSU Centre. Each flat has a bathroom, kitchen, and common room.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheets.

Prerequisites and Selection Criteria

Any Colgate student who has completed or plans to complete at least two English courses at the 200 level by the end of the academic year 2013-14 may apply. Priority will go to declared English concentrators in the class of 2016.

Calendar and Deadlines

The deadline for applications to the Fall 2014 London English Study Group is Friday November 8, 2013. All applications on the Off-Campus Study/International Programs website and are submitted online. Interviews of applicants will be arranged by e-mail, and students will be notified of selections before December 23. Written confirmation of participation is due January 13, 2014.

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through December 2014. All students participating on the Fall 2014 London English Study Group will be required to obtain a U.K. student visa. With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with U.K. visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study/International Programs, 101 Lathrop, and International Student Services, 119 McGregory, to learn as much as you can about the visa requirements. For some students there are significant requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Program Dates

Group poses outside of glass-domed buildingLondon English Study Group program dates: August 28 - December 19, 2014

Informational Sessions

  • Wednesday, October 30 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 31 at 11:30 a.m.
  • All informational sessions will be held in 408 Lathrop Hall

More Information

For more information, contact Linck Johnson at 315-228-7295 or via e-mail at