International Summer Programme
British Culture, Language, and Society, 1800-present

Sample Programme Synopsis

Lake District: Dove CottageWeek 1: Romanticism, literature and landscape

The lectures and seminars examine the ways in which Romantic poets changed our perceptions of nature – especially through their involvement with the English Lake District. The field trip this week takes us to the heart of the Lake District and across Coniston Water to visit the homes of John Ruskin and William Wordsworth. We also visit the Ruskin Library on campus, the only dedicated Ruskin centre in the country, which houses a large collection of his works and runs specialist exhibitions.

Week 2: Industrialisation, political change, and the novel

Focusing on the emergence of Britain, and especially Lancashire, as an industrial powerhouse, and the evocations and criticism by scholars, writers and artists of the time. We will visit Quarry Bank Mill in Styal – a National Trust property that continues to showcase the machinery of the cotton industry within a restored mill. It is also the setting for Channel 4’s drama The Mill which vividly portrays the hardships of working-class life. This week also features a tour of Lancaster’s own industrial heritage as we visit the canal and view the architectural remnants of the Lancashire ‘powerhouse’.

Imperial War Museum, London - DSC05380Week 3: The Great War and beyond

We trace some of the effects of the World War I on British culture and memory through the rest of the century, up to the present. A visit to the Imperial War Museum in Manchester offers one interpretation of our relationship with war and conflict. On this week’s trip there is also time to explore Manchester itself with its plentiful shops, museums, and great places to eat. Locally, we take a walk around Lancaster to view the lasting legacy of the memorialisation of the First World War.

Week 4: Post-colonial Britain

Focusing on the transformation of Britain since the 1950s, the legacy of the colonial past and the rise of new multicultural communities, new language communities, and new forms of popular culture. We will also visit Liverpool and examine its role as a site of memorialisation for Britain’s slave-trading past, as well as the examining the linguistic origins of the Liverpool accent. This week’s local trip takes us to the Lancaster Maritime Museum on St George’s Quay – a reminder of Lancaster’s former shipping prowess.


For more details see the weekly topics and suggested readings


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