2021 Update: We are currently accepting applications for the Davidson in Cambridge program in Summer 2021. A final decision regarding whether or not the program will run will be made in early spring. Please note that travel and programmatic logistics are subject to change in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions.
2021 marks the 39th anniversary of Davidson College's summer program at Cambridge University, England. Jointly sponsored by the departments of English and history, the five-week program explores the history and literature of Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
The course material covers the period from roughly 1780 to 1850. These turbulent times witnessed crucial stages in Britain's transformation from an early modern to a modern nation, and provide rich ground for an interdisciplinary study of its' history and literature. Themes to be considered include: the British response to revolution abroad; the rise and influence of Romanticism; the creation of a British national and cultural identity; the experience of travel and scientific discovery; and the effects of industrialization and urbanization on work patterns, class relations, gender roles, literary expression, and the British countryside.
The program is designed to immerse Davidson students in British culture. A Davidson faculty member accompanies the group to Cambridge as resident director, but all the teaching is done by British scholars, most from the Cambridge University community, and the curriculum replicates the British educational system by combining lectures and tutorials. Topics of study are specifically chosen to take advantage of the students' presence in Britain and ability to experience their subject first-hand.
The resident director for the Summer 2020 program will be Patricia Tilburg, James B. Duke Professor of History and Core Faculty in Gender & Sexuality Studies. She teaches courses on modern European and French culture and society, such as the history of the body, the rise of modern urban and consumer culture, modernism, and the history of European feminisms, sexualities, and gender. She was the inaugural chair and co-founder of the Gender & Sexuality Studies Department at Davidson, and teaches core courses in the GSS Department, including Feminist and Queer Theories and Intro to GSS. She recently published her second book, Working Girls: Sex, Taste, and Reform in the Parisian Garment Trades, 1880-1919 (Oxford University Press, 2019), and is also the author of Colette’s Republic: Work, Gender, and Popular Culture in France, 1870-1914 (Berghahn, 2009).
Successful completion of this P/F course will carry one
Davidson credit, awarded in either
English 370 or History 390 (to be determined by each student). These credits may count toward major requirements in the English and History Departments or toward graduation requirements in Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric or Historical Thought.
The course stresses interdisciplinary study. All students, regardless of the course credit they choose, will study both history and literature, attending the same lectures, participating together in tutorials, and completing the same reading assignments.
At the heart of the course of study is a series of lectures. Each week, all program participants will gather to hear four morning lectures on a broad range of topics. United by their relation to a set of assigned texts, each week's lectures are conceived as a mini-unit. Thus, for the week in which a Jane Austen novel is assigned, lectures might address such themes as Austen and her writing, the culture of the provincial society in which she lived, and the musical and artistic styles popular when she wrote. Some of the program's lectures will even be delivered "on site," with the Davidson group traveling, for example, to Bath to study its eighteenth-century building program first-hand (and to mingle at the Assembly Rooms, drink tea and eat "Bath buns" in the Pump Room, and promenade along the Royal Crescent -- all as Austen and her characters did.) Other organized study trips might include visits to country houses, landscape gardens, and museums in Cambridge and London.
Students will also meet twice per week in small groups for tutorials jointly led by English and History tutors.
The goal of each tutorial session is to discuss a set of texts and to draw connections between those texts and the program lectures and study trips. Tutorials are the most elastic component of the course, and their format may vary depending on the students' interests and needs. Usually, however, the English and History tutors work as a team, leading interdisciplinary discussions with a mixed group of English and History concentrators.
Students will write three papers during the course of the program (the last a small research project), and may select paper topics that reflect their particular disciplinary interests. All papers will be graded by the tutors.
One of the most popular aspects of the program is the freedom it affords participants to explore Britain. As Friday classes generally end by noon, students may spend long weekends traveling. Moreover, the fourth week of the program is completely unscheduled, providing an opportunity for more extensive independent travel. Cambridge and the surrounding countryside are especially attractive and culturally rich, but more ambitious travelers can easily find their way, thanks to Britain's national railway system, to points throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Perennial favorites include London, Canterbury, York, the Lake District, Edinburgh, the Scottish Highlands, Ireland and the Welsh coast. Such outings are left to the students to plan and finance.
Davidson's base of operations at Cambridge University is Emmanuel College, a historically-rich college in the heart of town.
The Davidson group resides in Emmanuel College's East Court and students are granted access to the incredible Cambridge library.
Open to all Davidson students who are in good standing in all areas. For academics, ‘good standing’ is defined in this case as having a 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher (exceptions may be made in certain circumstances.) Programs are open to non-Davidson applicants, space-permitting. Priority will be given to Davidson students with a demonstrated interest or previous coursework in English 260, 262, 361, 362, and History 120 or 325.
Professor Vivien Dietz, Program Director
Professor of History
Professor Patricia Tilburg, Resident Director 2020
James B. Duke Professor of History
The college welcomes requests for accommodations related to disability and will grant those that are determined to be reasonable and maintain the integrity of a program or curriculum. To make such a request or to begin a conversation about a possible request, please contact the Office of Academic Access and Disability Resources, which is located in the Center for Teaching and Learning in the E.H. Little Library. It is best to submit accommodation requests as early as possible.
Beth Bleil, Director
Office of Academic Access and Disability Resources
Alysen Beaty, Assistant Director
Office of Academic Access and Disability Resources
“The program exceeded my expectations! All of the trips we took as a group helped me understand the authors and texts I was reading, the lectures provided background and fundamental knowledge of culture, and tutorials allowed me and my peers to discuss our ideas about what we were reading and experiencing on a daily basis.”
“It is an amazing program and very well structured. It fosters a close-knit community with the Cambridge tutors and students within the context of academia and social life. You really get to know more about British culture and university system.”
U.S. citizens do not require a visa for this program. Any student who also plans to study abroad in the fall in a country that requires a visa should consider the timing of that visa application process and consult with an Education Abroad Adviser
. Passports often must be surrendered as part of the visa application process. Since it may take up to 90 days to receive a visa and have your passport returned to you, participating in consecutive study abroad programs in different countries, particularly between summer and fall, may be problematic or impossible.
International students should check the embassy website and/or ask the program director if they will need to obtain a visa for this program. They should also meet with International Student Programs
to discuss their U.S. visa status.
Davidson College and consulate staffers cannot guarantee that a visa will be granted by a foreign government in any circumstance or in any time frame.
Davidson College reserves the right to cancel or modify part or all of a study abroad program should changing circumstances make it necessary to do so. In cases where the college has security concerns, the Director of Education Abroad and the program director will gather information and make a recommendation to the Dean of Faculty. The dean will take a decision to the president, who retains ultimate authority to decide whether or not a particular Davidson-sponsored program should proceed.
Davidson admits qualified students without discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, age, handicap, gender, or sexual preference.
Program is contingent upon having a minimum number of participants.