Arts, Culture and History
Oxford Arts, Culture and History:
Week 1 – Culture
This course looks at British culture moving from a general introduction to the geography and history of the British Isles through to an analysis of modern Britain and where we stand today as a global power. Oxford, and its position in the UK as a whole, as well as educationally, will be considered in the latter stages of the week. The following themes will be visited: a brief history of Great Britain. British politics, as well as recent changes in the UK's foreign policy. The second half of the week will highlight the differences in the university sector between Oxbridge and other UK universities, moving on to a final focus on Oxford as an intellectual city. Oxford's identity as the 'City of Dreaming Spires' will be explored through the themes of the university, and its famous buildings.
Week 2 – Living in Wonderland
An exploration of literature connected with Oxford, notably Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’ adventures and Philip Pullman’s ‘Dark Materials’ sequence, with a study of the city’s outstanding architecture. Iconic buildings from the English Gothic, Baroque and Georgian periods such as the Divinity School, Old Bodleian Library, Radcliffe Observatory and University College quadrangles, and newer buildings including Keble chapel and St Catherine’s College Hall, will be studied in lectures/seminars and on guided walking tours.
Week 3 – British Heroes
Throughout its rich, sometimes violent, imperial and contemporary history, Britain has thrown up a number of heroes which in former times it chose to venerate. We choose a small number of these whose lives we discuss in all their flamboyance. Lawrence of Arabia was a Great War leader amongst other things. William Shakespeare was arguably our greatest playwright. Winston Churchill and the Duke of Marlborough brought unrivalled political and military fame to one British family. Admiral Horatio Nelson saved England from invasion. We will explore their lives through their heroic deeds and scandals.