Criticism

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Criticism
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Criticism
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Criticism

Study Abroad in the Lake District

Date published: 

May, 2017

This collection grows out of a 2014 conference panel at the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR), in which five of our six authors shared their varied experiences leading study-abroad courses and field schools to various parts of England and France. These experiences ranged from do-it-yourself plans to full partnerships with third-party organizers, with a similar range of flexibility and cost. Taken together, five areas shape the concerns of the five chapters: models of study and the logistics of running them; models of leadership; types of assignments and excursions; forms of collaborative teaching and learning; and the value of international education for humanities-based learning. This volume will provide practical and experience-based information about study-abroad programs as well as critical reflection about methods and motives.

A Do-It-Yourself Study Abroad Tour of the Lakes and Snowdonia

This essay provides guidelines for anyone who wants to plan his or her own study-abroad trip the English Lake District, outlining the advantages and disadvantages of not using a professional touring or educational service. The essay includes information on lodging and transportation, and describes visits to Keswick, Grasmere, Ullswater, Barrow-in-Furness, and Mt. Snowdon.

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Dove Cottage for the Unconverted: General Education Workshops at the Wordsworth Trust

Over the past half-century, study abroad programs at North American universities have shifted from semester- or year-long immersions in another nation’s language and culture to short-term, professionally focused offering sponsored by students’ majors. Acknowledging these trends, this essay shows how immersive literary experiences like the Wordsworth Trust’s rare book and manuscript workshops can continue to play central and formative roles in study abroad programs designed not only for English majors but students with a range of disciplinary and professional interests.

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The Lakes, the Field, and Beyond: Designing Field School Assignments

This essay provides an introduction to the concept of the “field,” and explores how fieldwork can be brought into humanities-based courses to reinvigorate humanities pedagogy. It provides a detailed survey of digital-based assignments, which we promote because they more readily allow for cultural fieldwork to be multi-modal, shared, and archived. This digital approach enables greater integration between the students’ home and field environments, breaking down artificial distinctions between the two and supporting ongoing virtual fieldwork.

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“Much Depends on Dinner:” On Students, Food, and Foreigners

Most faculty organizing abroad programs know to have an opening dinner to help everyone to “bond” at the beginning of a group trip -- and most of us are equally aware of the advantages to having a final meal together before everyone returns home. But instructors do not tend to think about eating and student diet for the intervening weeks. Food and food culture, as we all know, are crucial parts of any ethnography. The food and dining habits of a nation tell us a great deal about its priorities, its lifestyle, and its history. To ignore the food of a nation is to leave that place untried, unknown, untasted. This essay will explore ways in which we can encourage an engagement with the culture in which our students reside by working certain food-oriented events into our field school syllabi and assignments.

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Walking with Wordsworth and Waltzing with Third-Party Providers

In summer of 2014 I led nine students to the Lake District for a ten-day program on British Romantic literature, with a particular focus on long-time Grasmere residents William and Dorothy Wordsworth and Thomas De Quincey. I called the course “Walking with Wordsworth,” and the goal was both to introduce students to the places that inspired particular poetic and prose works of the Romantic period and to encourage students to question whether and how the geographical context matters to the reader’s interpretation of the texts themselves. Planning for the course began a year prior to departure and, per university regulations, required working closely with the coordinator of the study-abroad office at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), who strongly advised using a third-party provider based in Texas with whom UTEP has successfully partnered in the past. This article describes the classroom work prior to arriving in the UK, the lodging, travel, and instructional components of the trip itself, and the benefits of using a commercial provider in planning and managing the logistics of the program. The article concludes that while using a commercial provider adds a necessary bureaucratic layer to the instructor’s planning and comes at some additional cost to the students, its professional resources can offer significant time savings and peace of mind to faculty, especially those planning a study abroad for the first time.

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