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Designed by the JMU Honors College, Honors Seminars Abroad allow students to explore a new and exciting part of the world for three weeks during the summer while earning six academic credits and fulfilling the Honors seminar requirement. These programs typically travel in May; however, some programs may travel in other summer months. The academic preparation for these study abroad trips begins with mandatory regular meetings in the spring semester. In these meetings, students get to know each other and instructors prepare the groundwork for the upcoming experience through readings, films, and lectures. Once abroad, the seminars combine daily classwork with field trips and events. The Honors College strives to keep Honors Seminars Abroad affordable. The Honors College has limited funds for need-based assistance to support these transformational experiences.

Program Highlights
  • Open to Track I and Track II Honors students
  • Limited enrollment in each program
  • Completion of an Honors Study Abroad fulfills the Honors College six-credit seminar requirement or can count towards Honors elective requirements
  • Includes a required spring semester preparatory component
Summer 2018 Seminars Abroad

You must apply to each program individually. If you apply to multiple programs, you must cover the application fee for both. Apply through the CGE website (follow the links below). Limited study abroad scholarship funds are available for qualified applicants.

Victorian London: Charles Dickens, Jack the Ripper, and the Many Faces of Modernity

Victorian London was the first modern city in the world, and contemporary London is perceptibly the product of the social, economic, artistic, and cultural transformations that characterized the Victorian period. The very texture of today’s London is infused with the Victorian ambition for progress: new modes of transportation, sanitation, accommodation, and recreation from the nineteenth century still structure city life today. Even the aspect of streetscapes and green spaces bear the impress of the Victorian anxiety to legitimize their claim to global dominance through “improvements” to the cosmopolitan urban center of the empire. London is thus an ideal site in which to examine and re-experience some of the ambivalent and even contradictory urges that characterize the essence of modernity in British and American cultures. We are proposing a space-based learning program that will immerse students in the physical sites of modernity’s emergence in London as a way to encourage multi-disciplinary approaches to questions that persist in today’s world.

The literary and artistic works of William Blake, William Wordsworth, Charles Dickens, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Waterhouse, Augustus Pugin, Charles Barry, Robert Smirke and others will introduce students to the many-mindedness of nineteenth-century British citizens regarding the promise and the problems that attend “progress” in modern times. Blake and Wordsworth give two contrasting images of life in London, while Dickens’ novel David Copperfield questions the very idea of “development,” exemplifying the often-contradictory Victorian ideals and practices of class, gender, childhood, work, leisure, and personal and national identity.  Architects Barry and Smirke almost came to blows about what constituted the “modern” architecture of the Victorians. Sally Mitchell’s Daily Life in Victorian England will further enrich our discussions in class, and give students the necessary social and historical contexts to make sense of the literature, art, and architecture of London. We will study these touchstone texts together as a group in the spring semester of 2018 to familiarize students with the fundamental questions that the city of London itself stages in its streets and institutions.

In the semester before the trip, assignments will ask students to note important sites in the literary representations of London and to write interpretive analyses of how London’s features make meaning in various texts, art, and architecture. Once in London, students will reflect on their interpretations and reconsider their analyses after experiencing these places for themselves. Most assignments will require students to analyze texts, spaces, historical discourses, architecture, art, and, ultimately, their own previous conclusions, revising their understanding at every step. Students will have the opportunity to research ideas of interest to them, experience the city for themselves, rewrite their earlier work, and re-present it in new forms, such as maps, photography, and other modern (and highly Victorian) modes of communication.

Application Deadline

November 1, 2017


Dates

Spring 2018 classes:
Wednesdays from 6-8 pm
SSC 4049
January 10 - May 2

Summer 2018: May 19 - June 9, 2018


Directors:

  • John J. Butt | buttjj@jmu.edu | History
  • Heidi Pennington | penninhl@jmu.edu | English

Visit CGE website for more information

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Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

Though an important part of Spain, Barcelona is proud of its independent Catalan identity and language. The city has long been an intellectual and artistic hub and, by the twentieth century, the city saw an efflorescence of modern art, political consciousness, and revolutionary politics. Both the unique aspects of Barcelona and its ties to the rest of the country will be explored during the study abroad program. We will particularly focus on key moments in twentieth century Barcelona history: 1920s urbanization and dictatorship; modernist artists notably Dali, Miro, and Picasso; the Second Republic (1931-1936); the Spanish Civil War; the Franco era (1939-75); and the transition to democracy in 1975; and the post-Franco period.

Through guided visits of the Catalonian Museum of history and the Museum of the City of Barcelona and to key Gaudi sites and many other city locations, students will be exposed to the character of the metropolis, its people, and its history. Students will hear lectures by local academics and a journalist/film maker who will speak to the unique experience and identity of Catalonia. Students will also attend a live concert as a group in the breathtaking Palau de la Musica Catalana. Day trips will also be planned including to the Dali Museum in Figueres, the famous monastery of Montserrat, and local beaches. Course work includes informal lectures, readings, and student writing.

No Spanish language training necessary but is advantageous. All instruction will be in English.

Application Deadline

November 1, 2017


Dates

Spring 2018 classes:
Wednesdays from 6-8 pm
Harrison Hall Room 112
January 10 - May 2

Summer 2018: June 9 - July 1, 2018


Directors:

  • Jessica Davidson | davidsjb@jmu.edu | History 
  • John Tkac | tkacja@jmu.edu | Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Visit CGE website for more information

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