Grinnell-in-London takes place each fall semester. The program’s course offerings include topics that change from year to year, reflecting the interests and expertise of Grinnell faculty members who teach on the program. Other courses—in art, English, history, political science, and theatre —are offered regularly by our London-based faculty members.
Students may choose between traditional classes or classes plus an internship. Internship placements take into account the interests of each student. Several parliamentary internships are available.
The program has two phases. In the nine-week Phase I, students earn 8 to 12 credits in three or more courses. In the six-week Phase II, students take one 4 credit course or participate in an internship and required internship seminar for a total of 6 credits. Students live in flats, homes, or residence halls in London, attend classes at the Grinnell-in-London site, and take multiple field trips in London, the English countryside, other parts of Great Britain, and other European destinations.
Phase I Courses
The Florentine renaissance is widely regarded as an artistic watershed, when artists formulated new ways of representing reality based on direct observation, scientific principles, and classical precedent, with profound implications for the course of European art. Equally important were contemporary developments in Flanders, where artists were likewise engaged in new ways of seeing, and where the oil technique offered unprecedented potential for depicting light and texture. This course will provide the opportunity to study the art of both Flanders and Florence, introducing students to the major artists (Masaccio, Donatello, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Jan van Eyck, and Rogier van der Weyden), and to broader art historical themes such as patronage, iconography, and technique. Students will acquire an understanding of what constitutes the Florentine renaissance, but by also studying Flanders, will be encouraged to question the standard view of Florence’s central position in the art of the 15th century. Approximately 50 percent of classes will take place in London’s galleries, taking advantage of the unparalleled collections of the National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum. An additional three-day visit to Bruges and Ghent, located in Belgium, will offer the opportunity to study Flemish painting in situ.
The science of ecology explores general mechanisms that influence the structure and dynamics of biological communities; however, it does so by carrying out studies in particular places, each one of which has a unique biological and human cultural history. This course will examine the nature of this dilemma through three habitats that have been important in the history of British ecology: the lakes, the woodlands, and the countryside. For each location, we’ll (1) consider its history of ecological study and the relationship to general theories of ecology, (2) consider its cultural history and natural history together with the Literature of Place in Great Britain class, and (3) conduct a one-day “field problem” at the location. The course will emphasize the importance of the development of ecological methods by British ecologists to conservation.
This course will study representative plays from each period of Shakespeare’s career, including histories, tragedies, and comedies. Through close analysis of these plays, both on the page and on the stage, the course will aim to develop an appreciation of the richness of Shakespeare’s theatrical art in its powerful marriage of words and images. Attendance at productions of Shakespeare both in Stratford and in London, including at the recently built replica of the Globe in Southwark, will be central to our study.
This course will draw on the emerging field of ecological criticism to engage a selection of literary readings ranging from 18th-century country-house poems to Ian McEwan’s Atonement, from nature poems to current scholarship on English social history. The course’s units will address three intersections between literary and ecological interests, and each of these units will involve opportunities to visit relevant sites in London and England. The three units will include the Romantic sublime and Lake District environmentalism; tourism, photography, and the moors; and finally, country houses and hedgerows: the changing ideologies of ecology. Course readings will include Romantic poetry, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Atonement, and critical and theoretical readings. The course will include field trips to London museums, the Lake District, and sites in the countryside surrounding London.
This course explores the history of London from its Roman origins to the present day and examines how royalty, trade, religion, and transport have shaped the city’s pattern of growth over 2,000 years. Coursework consists of weekly lectures, guided walks, and discussions of readings from contemporary sources. Students are given an opportunity to investigate an aspect of London history of particular interest to them.
This course aims to familiarize students with the devices used for the regulation of national and ethnic conflicts. It seeks to provide students with an understanding of the tools available to states and policymakers to manage conflict. The course will include a close examination of cases of divided societies such as India, South Africa, Lebanon, and Yugoslavia. Once students have a grasp on the concept of ethnicity, the course will divide conflict management into four main themes: 1) territorial devices; 2) repressive and accommodation incorporation; 3) violence; and 4) solutions within democracies. Instruction and discussion will occur in the classroom as well as out in London at various museums, communities, and sites.
Class discussions and assignments focus on understanding and interpreting internship experiences with an academic perspective.
This course explores the inner workings of the elements that comprise the professional theatre in Britain through a careful examination of contemporary and classic plays in actual performance.
Phase II Courses (6 weeks)
This course will study modern Irish literature written between about 1890 and the present, including fiction, poetry, and drama by such authors as W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, James Joyce, Sean O’Casey, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney. It will introduce the student to the turbulent history of modern Ireland, while considering how these writers foster, invent, reinvent, and critique ideas of Irish national, cultural, and religious identity. It will also look at how the authors engage with themes that speak to the wider modern human experience. We will take advantage of opportunities to see Irish plays and hear Irish music in London, and there will be a field trip to the Republic of Ireland.
Class discussions and assignments focus on understanding and interpreting internship experiences with an academic perspective. Please note that class meetings may begin in Phase I. Enrollment limited to three Parliamentary interns.
Class discussions and assignments focus on understanding and interpreting students’ internship experiences and those of their co-workers within the U.K. work environment. Topics include the meaning of work and changing definitions of work, the emergence of the culture of overwork and pressures that interfere with a viable work-life balance, the growth of the service economy and consequent increased importance of “emotional labor” (work requiring one’s emotional skills), the social costs of low pay, and the impact of European Union legislation on the world of work in the United Kingdom.
Students work 32 hours a week for six weeks at internship sites in London. Applications for internships are made as part of the application for the Grinnell-in-London semester program prior to coming to London. Learning contracts must be approved by the instructor, the internship coordinator, and the work-site supervisor.
- College Catalog