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The London English Study Group

Director Spring 2016: Professor Michael Coyle, Department of English 

Please Note:  Professor Coyle's Spring 2016 London English Study Group has moved to Fall 2015.


First and foremost, this study group offers students the opportunity to live and study for a full semester in one of the world’s great cities. In fact, the city of London will be a central “text” of the study group, which is designed to immerse students in the culture, history, and life of the city. A centerpiece of the program is a course of novels all of which are set in London, but only a couple of which are by writers from England; these various accounts by people experiencing the dizzying complexity of the city for the first time will help students develop a sense of the physical and historical contexts of British literature, as well as of their own experience as visitors. Courses focusing on museums and the theater in London will not only provide access to the cultural riches of the contemporary city; they will also enhance an understanding of the very idea of “culture,” as well as our understanding of the ways in which the past is constantly reshaped by productions of plays and presentations of artifacts in the present.  Finally, through a study of literature and history, students will gain an appreciation of London’s central place in Britain and its former empire, a magnet for immigrants who have transformed it into one of the most vibrant and multicultural cities in the world.

The English Dept. London Study Group will be open to students who have completed at least two courses in English or declared their concentration in English by the end of Spring term, 2016. I expect to admit only 15-16 students, and although this study group will interact with the other Colgate groups who will be in London at the same time, ours will focus on post-colonial London as an invigoratingly heterogeneous society, one in which the empire of old has come home. Classes will ordinarily meet in a Study Centre half a block west form the British Museum.

Students participating in this study group will be eligible to satisfy the Core Global Engagements requirement.

Required Courses

All students accepted into the group will take English 290, an introduction to study in London, 0.25-credit on-campus course in the spring of 2014; and four courses in London. Three of those courses will offer credit in the English Department: English 308Y and English 331Y, both taught by the director; and English 332Y, taught by a resident theater specialist in London.  The fourth course will be History 348, taught by another resident specialist in London. All students will be expected to have an e-reader during the term.

English 389Y: London Fiction Since WWII (M. Coyle)
As this course focuses on 20th century “British” fiction, and on novels set in London, it will consider what it means to be “British” precisely as it considers London as a site for the globalization of the English language. We will read such works as Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent, Buchi Emecheta’s In the Ditch, Beryl Gilroy’s Boy Sandwich, George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia, Doris Lessing’s In Pursuit of the English, Andrea Levy’s Small Island, Geoff Nicholson’s Bleeding London, Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners, Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. The course will include visits from some of these writers. Professor Coyle. 

English 338Y: Museum Theory (M. Coyle)
Britain, and London in particular, is the inventor of our modern idea of the museum.  Quite simply, there is no better place in the world to consider what a museum is and does. In the past twenty years or so it has become increasingly obvious that museums do not merely present a sampling of things as they are and have been, but rather play a very active role in shaping not only our particular ideas about history, but also our very sense of what counts as history, and even of what counts as knowledge. Modern museums can be intense intellectual experiences, and they can also be just fun. Our course is designed to make all of you more aware consumers and consulters of the learning gathered in such institutions, and the second half of the course will be largely student-driven. All students will present on some aspect of one particular museum or gallery.

ENGL 332Y: Contemporary London Theater and Culture (M. Punter)
A study of drama, both classic and modern, as represented by plays in production in London during the spring of 2016. All students will see 10-12 plays, focusing on theoretical and technical aspects of drama, as well as on what specific productions reveal about British culture and contemporary London.

HIST 349Y: History of the City of London (K. Layton-Jones)
A lecture course taught by Dr. Katy Layton-Jones, an expert on the social, cultural and architectural history of the city.  Weekly walking tours led by Dr. Layton-Jones will enable students to move outside the classroom and explore the city’s varied past.

Field Trips

The London English program will travel to four Medieval cities.  A day trip to Oxford is planned as well as three possible separate overnight trips to Bath, Canterbury, and Durham. 

Classrooms, Libraries, and Other Facilities

Classes will be held at Florida State University’s London Study Centre, a complex in the heart of Bloomsbury, just a couple of blocks west of the British Museum and British Library.  The complex also houses a modest library and computer facility, which will be available to students. Students will become members of the University College London student union.

Living Arrangements

Students will reside in five- to six-person flats in Bloomsbury, about a five-minute walk from the FSU Centre. Each flat has a bathroom, kitchen, and common room.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheets.

Prerequisites and Selection Criteria

Any Colgate student who has completed or plans to complete at least two English courses at the 200 level by the end of the academic year 2014-15 may apply. Preference will go to students who have completed Engl. 200 and Engl. 217. Priority will go to declared English concentrators in the class of 2017.

Calendar and Deadlines

The deadline for applications to the Spring 2016 London English Study Group is Friday November 7, 2014.   All applications on the Off-Campus Study/International Programs study groups’ websites and are submitted online.  Interviews of applicants will be arranged by e-mail, and student notification of selections will take place late December 2014.

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through December 2016. All students participating on the Spring 2016 London English Study Group will be required to obtain a U.K. student visa. With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with U.K. visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study/International Programs, 101 Lathrop, and International Student Services, 103C Lathrop, to learn as much as you can about the visa requirements. For some students there are significant requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Program Dates

January 15th - May 7th, 2016

Informational Sessions

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 11:30 a.m.

Both informational sessions will be held in 408 Lathrop Hall

More Information

For more information, contact Prof. Michael Coyle by e-mail at