The United Kingdom: Still United?
The much-debated and highly publicized June 2016 “Brexit” referendum, in which a narrow majority of British citizens voted to leave the European Union, made newly apparent what has, in fact, been a centuries-old dynamic between the British Isles (England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales) and the European continent. This messy divorce, now in its fifth year and counting, has also revealed tensions within the UK itself, such as the uneasy question of Scottish independence from England, and anxiety over Northern Ireland’s position in the UK. Other divisions abound too, typified by “Megxit” and the near breakup of the beloved English Premier League. Add into the mix racial, class and religious tensions; a weakened Labour Party; and concern about the vaunted, beloved National Health Service (NHS) in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic: everywhere you look, divisive challenge abounds. Can the United Kingdom hold itself together?
Honors College students enrolling in the UK program will have the opportunity to answer this question first-hand. In the spring semester, in IDH 4007, we will emphasize coherence and unity, as we study British history, culture, religion, literature and art, and advances in science, technology, medicine and engineering from the pre-Roman and Roman eras, through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Restoration and Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, Victorian and Edwardian ages, the World Wars of the last century, and right up to the present.
This learning about the United Kingdom will then be tested and extended in situ, as participants travel in the summer, under the IDH 4008 rubric, observing first-hand, in London and Belfast, Wales and Westminster, if despair and dismay over Brexit and Megxit is real, or not. “United we stand. Divided we fall”: does Churchill’s famous formulation, spoken in June 1941, still apply in speaking of the UK?
Attend the UK / Japan Study Abroad Honors Hour on Thursday, September 23, 2021 | 3:30-4:45pm! (Room TBD.) Be there!”
SO, WHO IS THIS PROGRAM INTENDED FOR?
Essentially, this program is ideal for any Honors College student with a strong interest in, and curiosity about London and the UK, irrespective of major and course of study at FIU. While common course work, assignments, and travel will emphasize history, culture, the arts and design, politics, and social trends through time, this should not preclude students working in the sciences and engineering, pre-med and nursing, business, or hospitality from enrolling. Quite the opposite, the participation of students from a range of disciplines will only strengthen the course, ensuring its interdisciplinary aspirations. In short, this UK Study Abroad trip aspires to embody the very principles of broad learning and inquiry in a range of disciplines that the FIU Honors College promotes and espouses. Indeed, all are welcome.
WHERE WILL WE TRAVEL WHEN WE ARE IN THE UK?
We will spend two intense, exciting weeks in London, with daytrips to Canterbury, Cambridge, Hampton Court and Lullingstone Roman villa. Then, we’ll head west by northwest, traveling to Oxford, Manchester, Liverpool, and on to Belfast and Northern Ireland. This will be followed up with four amazing days in northwest Wales (hiking up Mt. Snowdon, zip-lining through an abandoned slate mine, scrambling about a ruined castle!). The trip will conclude with a visit to sublime Bath, and a daytrip to Stonehenge and Salisbury. This extended month-long adventure will include travel on trains, buses, trams, taxis, the Tube, and planes!
WHEN IS THE TRIP?
We will be in London from June 5– June 20, and then traveling in the west, Northern Ireland, Wales and Bath from June 20 – July 4, 2022.
LEVEL OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY:
WHY IS THIS A SUMMER C COURSE?
Our travel dates straddle Summer A and Summer B, primarily to accommodate Professor Sutton’s personal schedule. Please keep in mind that while in England and the UK, your job is to see things, experience the country, take in the sights, and explore. You are essentially conducting research, or doing your “field work,” for your independent project for IDH 4008. When you return to Miami in early July, you will have about three weeks (the remainder of Summer B term), to pull together your findings and discoveries made whilst abroad, and craft a beautifully cogent, extended essay or project. Please note that the dates of travel abroad would preclude your registering for face-to-face, on campus courses in either Summer A or Summer B.
HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET AROUND?
While in London, we will travel by foot (plan to walk a whole lot!), by those iconic red double-decker buses, and by subway (London’s Tube.) Most travel outside of London will be by train; small-gauge steam rail could be featured in Wales, as will bus travel. A round-trip flight, Manchester to Belfast, is also planned as part of your itinerary.
WHERE ARE WE GOING TO LIVE WHILE WE’RE IN ENGLAND, NORTHERN IRELAND, AND WALES?
In London, students will stay at the FSU Study Center, or nearby; these flats are well-appointed, with all necessities, and located in Bloomsbury, very near the British Museum. Outside of the capital, students will be lodged in clean, safe hotels; breakfasts are usually included with overnight stays. You will always room with at least one other student on the program—a great way to foster life-long friends.
SO HOW MUCH DOES THIS PROGRAM COST?
The cost of the 2022 UK program is $3,450. This includes lodging for the duration of the trip; local transportation; admission to numerous museums, monuments, and other sites; theatre and concert tickets; and mandatory insurance. Program costs DO NOT include a $500 non-refundable Honors College deposit, nor a $195 Study Abroad non-refundable fee. FIU instructional fee (6 credits, $205.57 per credit), transatlantic airfare, meals, and personal expenses are also NOT included.
United Kingdom: Still United?
Spring 2022, On campus – Thursdays 9:30 am – 12:15 pm: IDH 4007 (3 credits);
Summer C Abroad: IDH 4008 (3 credits)
The program fulfills one year of Honors credit requirements (6 credits)
WHO IS PROFESSOR SUTTON?
Professor James Sutton was born and raised in Michigan; he received undergraduate and Master’s degrees in English from Northwestern and Michigan and holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies (1995) from Yale. His early research focused on the interplay of art, architecture, dramatic performance, politics, and court intrigue in England during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. He currently teaches and studies Shakespeare and his plays’ global appropriation and adaptation, focusing on Slovenia and South Florida. He recently co-edited a book entitled Exile in Global Literature and Culture: Homes Found and Lost, with FIU colleague Professor Asher Milbauer. This publication has led to further inquiry on the relationship of Shakespeare to exile and dislocation. Sutton is an Associate Professor in FIU’s English department, which he chaired from 2008-2016. In early 2017, Sutton spent six months in Slovenia, teaching literature at two Slovenian universities and travelling widely about central Europe. He joined the FIU Honors College—a long term goal—in the fall of 2017 and takes pride in teaching IDH 1001 and 1002 as part of the “famous” Gerstman/McDaniel/Abukhodeir/Sutton POD ever since. Long the co-director of the successful FIU Study Abroad program, “Shakespeare in England,” Professor Sutton created and launched this Honors College UK program in 2019. Although Covid-19 nixed travel abroad in 2020 and 2021, Sutton eagerly looks forward to jump-starting the program once again in 2022. He seeks adventurous, curious students prepared for new endeavors in England and the UK. If you have any questions, please reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.