Courses

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All students register for a total of two course units (c.u.)*. Course offerings are subject to change. Course registration is completed by the Penn Summer Abroad office for students who confirm their intent to enroll and submit the required pre-departure documents.

The London Theatre Experience

ENGL 068 / THAR 068 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by Michael Gamer
  • Fulfills requirement: Sector 6 of English Major

London is one of the most exciting theater centers in the world, and the focus of this course will be on live performance. We will attend theatrical productions 2-3 times a week, seeing a wide range of plays produced by companies such as the Royal National, the Royal Court, and the Royal Shakespeare and staged in spaces such as those as well as in the West End (London's equivalent of Broadway) and in Fringe Theaters (what would be off-Broadway in New York City). Every Thursday we will be joined by Times theatre critic Samantha Marlowe, who will lead those sessions and share her knowledge as a theatre critic and practitioner. Tickets will be arranged in advance. Readings for the class will consist of responses to plays and productions. The class may also participate in field trips to other sites of theatrical interest, such as the Royal National Theatre and the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. 

 

The Cultures of Collecting

ENGL 034 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by Dr. Whitney Trettien
  • Fulfills requirement: Sectors 1and 6 of English Major

“Every passion borders on the chaotic,” writes the theorist Walter Benjamin, “but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.” In this course, we’ll examine the chaos of memories contained in London’s extraordinary libraries. We’ll begin with the British Library, the largest national library in the world and the fount from which much literary research today springs. Working directly with early printed books and literary manuscripts, we’ll explore the library’s rare treasures and learn how its staff uses the latest technologies to make these important books accessible to a new generation of readers. At the same time, we’ll turn a critical, historical eye on the British Library as an institution, tracing its origins back to eighteenth-century imperialism and linguistic nationalism. How have the institution’s enlightenment values shaped what “counts” as literature? Who decides what texts are saved and read? With this history in hand, we’ll consider counter-archives where individuals have, over the centuries, saved what otherwise would have been lost. Roaming the back alleys of London, we’ll visit small zine libraries and collections of ephemera, taking a different view on the chaos of memories. Throughout our discussions and site visits, we’ll keep an eye on the ethics of collecting and the passions that drive it. Students will collaborate on producing their own digital collection and through that process gain experience in planning, implementing, and coding a digital humanities project. 

 

Risk

ENGL 205 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by Ms. Lorene Cary
  • Fulfills requirement: Sectors 2 and 5 of English Major

The Zong was not the first or last British slave ship to throw living Africans overboard, but it was the one that sparked a trial against insurers who denied the owners' claim to be paid for their lost profits. This course examines the intersection of the insurance industry, slavery and the Western imagination. We'll read the best recent study of the voyage and trial as well as a novel imagining the case by London-born British-Guyanese author Fred D'Aguiar, the painting "The Slave Ship" by J.M.W. Turner, and passages in contemporary novels that reveal the growing anxiety in English middle-class society about how industrialism was being fueled. We will visit Lloyd's of London and the excellent International Slavery Museum in Liverpool. We will imagine ourselves into the lives of insurers, sailors and Africans in our own writing. We will re-see the legacy of the British genius for figuring out how to ensure living capital. What and who is at risk for us still?

 

Writing for Children: Tales of Childhood

ENGL 121 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by Ms. Lorene Cary
  • Fulfills requirement: Sector 6 of English Major

We will read Roald Dahl, and his autobiography, Boy: Tales of Childhood. The point will be to rediscover nasty and naughty, as well as how, as writers, we mine our own childhoods—not for confession, but for story and meaning, especially children's strong sense of justice, often at odds with adult behavior. Then, we'll travel together to the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden 20 miles outside London. With Dahl as our muse, albeit, an occasionally grumpy one, we will determine what kinds of stories each of us needs to tell and how to structure them. Then, we'll write them, for pre-K, elementary, middle and teen readers, aiming at a clear voice appropriate to the story, and as much order or misrule as each writer’s kid-muse demands. Yes, fun is required. Workshopping happens with student-writer colleagues in pairs and small groups, and then with the real kids. Returning with revisions will be a promise fulfilled, and an important marker in the literary life of everyone involved. A celebration! Tea and cakes are involved.

 

 

 

Penn Summer

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326
summer@sas.upenn.edu

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