England 2013

Picture1This five-week program took place in London, England.

The MMW courses examines world history from the 18th century to the First World War, covering covers a period when London was the capital of a world-wide empire and Britain’s political, economic, and cultural influence spanned the globe.  The course presents a global perspective, though emphasized the British Empire and manifestations of empire in London’s palaces and buildings, museums, monuments, parks, and neighborhoods. MMW explores such topics as the Enlightenment, revolutions and progressive movements, religious reforms and revivalism, industrialization, nationalism, anti-Semitism and Zionism, imperialism, modernization, westernization and non-western responses.

The second course (Life, Literature, and Laughter in Imperial Britain) examines culture in imperial Britain by focusing on musical theatre from the 18th century to the First World War.   The course begins with the succession of the House of Hanover to the throne of England and the importation of continental European culture to the Isle of Britain.  The Francophone, German composer Handel wrote Italian operas about Greco-Roman heroes for an English audience who couldn’t understand them.  John Gay’s Beggars’ Opera gave audiences an alternative: a vernacular piece with already familiar tunes that glamorized the life of criminals.  Handel in his turn abandoned opera for his controversial new genre, oratorio, which came to dominate the English musical tradition.  In this period, Britain lost its American colonies and began its long involvement with India and other colonies, developments that culminated in the Victorian Empire of the 19th century.  The course considers imperial ideology, the economic relations between indigenous peoples, colonists and the imperial center, the abolition of slavery, foreign artistic influences, the replacement of the hereditary aristocracy by a new plutocracy, the beginnings of female emancipation, and the contemporary English critique of all of the above in both intellectual circles (Marxism, anarchism, Estheticism/Decadence/Pre-Raphaelitism) and popular entertainment.  The works of Gilbert & Sullivan, both music and libretti, will be analyzed in detail as musical and socio-political satires.

  1. How academic content relates to chosen location and how the site will be utilized in course.

London is an ideal location to teach these courses.   It offers easy access to theaters, palaces, parks, museums, and other relevant destinations which reflect the academic material.   Students on the GS London will have classroom activity three days per week followed by afternoon excursions in the city.  There will be longer excursions in the city on one or two other days each week.  There will be no GS program activity on weekends.

Prof. Herbst began his world history Global Seminars in Paris, France in 2008, before shifting to Istanbul for four programs (2009 – 2012).  He led an additional four non-Global Seminar programs in Istanbul and further afield in Turkey from 2013 to 2015.   Political concerns led to the termination of this prolonged engagement with Turkey and he moved his next program to London in 2013 before shifting focus to the greater Pacific region (2014-2020), offering programs in Thailand and Cambodia, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.