Why did you decide to study abroad? What do “they” (your parents, friends, the university) expect you will learn abroad? What have you really come to learn? This upper-level ETS seminar provides you with a platform to investigate the questions organizing your semester in London through the analysis of a set of literary travellers’ tales. Together we will look at the structure of their journeys to gain knowledge or experience, and examine the structure of their narratives – the beginnings and ends of their stories, the construction and positioning of their audiences. We will explore the landscape of learning, and the journey and the story as figures that organize our experiences of learning. Translation in all its senses will serve as an exemplary practice – and with translation transformation. Learning happens, you may discover, not in the ways or places you think. You will learn about the history of learning abroad from forms of religious pilgrimage through the culmination of an English gentleman’s classical education to the organized arrival of American students in Europe. “Travellers’ Tales” offers you a framework to structure what you will be learning from reading, in class, in London, and in your travels over the course of the semester—but at a necessary distance from your own experience. The class will enable you to read and discuss other experiences of discovery as a way of making critical sense of your own. It will allow you to reflect on “abroad” as a space of learning—a place both to become “educated” and to explore critically the process of being educated. By the end of the semester, you will have developed a rich analysis of “study abroad”—that is, of the interwoven politics and pleasures of learning, storytelling, and travel.
This course satisfies the Pre-1900 Requirement for ETS majors.
Department: English and Textual Studies
Semesters: Fall, Spring