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Travel Course

Engl 372/Engl 372H: Arts of Medieval & Renaissance Britain travel course


Join Prof. Rosanne Denhard for travel to Great Britain in Spring 2016.

About this course:

This full-semester interdisciplinary course Crossing Millennium Bridgeincorporates a Spring Break travel component to explore medieval and Renaissance British literature, history, and culture through on-site experiential learning and research.  The course contextualizes the literary arts and their relationship with the visual and performing arts, studying all within the cultural and historical heritage of Great Britain.  Our wide chronological focus will span from the early medieval period of Anglo-Saxon culture through the 17th-century period of the English Civil Wars and the Restoration.  On campus the class engages in extensive reading, writing, discussion, and research work; on-site during travel, we extend our learning.  After returning to campus, we complete and polish our research projects and present our work.

Group Photo

Throughout the travel component, the class experiences the cultures of medieval and early modern Britain- and their contemporary legacies- through exploration of landscapes and cityscapes, museums, libraries, cathedrals, castles, historic sites, attendance at performing arts events, and participation in on-site research and workshops. 

Umbrellas Up!This course is designed for mature and committed students.  This challenging, active-learning and research-oriented interdisciplinary course is well suited to students from all majors who have interests compatible with the course.   Within the English/Communications major or minor the course may be taken as fulfillment of the Department's "Texts in Contexts" requirement or as a departmental elective.  This course may be taken for Honors credit.  Class size is limited.  (PREREQUISITES: ENGL 250; sophomore status; instructor's permission. Students pay travel fee.)

Globe TheatreSpring 2014 base locations for our travel component will be York-a city in North Yorkshire with a fascinating Roman, Viking, Medieval and Renaissance heritage-and London-truly one of the world's great capital cities, with history, arts, and culture, and an intriguing mix of old and new.  We'll also travel by rail on a scenic route from York to the ancient and vibrant city of Edinburgh, Scotland for an exciting day visit.

Travel Dates for Spring 2014:

Departing Friday, March 7; returning Monday evening, March 17  

Westminster Abbey, LondonTotal Travel Fee is $3,100. per MCLA student/alumni traveler.  For non-MCLA guests, there is a $ 200. "non-student" administrative fee .  Participation  is by permission of instructor only.

*Full payment schedule:
$400. First payment at time of sign-up
$900. Second payment by October 25
$900. Third payment by December 6
$900. Fourth (final) payment by January 17

*All  payments are considered non-refundable, except in the case of MCLA's cancellation of the entire trip, unless the student's place is taken by another paying traveler. 

Tower of London

Price for 2014 travel includes: round-trip airfare (Albany, NY is our home airport); rail passes; taxi-fares and London Underground travel as needed; 9 nights hotel accommodations (4 nights York; 5 nights London), including daily full breakfasts; daily lunch and/or dinner, including several special meals; airport snacks/light meals during travel; all tickets for theatre/concerts/special events and admissions for museums, historic sites, etc.; guidebook & course materials; some fun "extras"; and a cushion for emergencies, unforeseen expenditures, and special opportunities. 

Prof. Denhard designs the travel as an integrated part of the course and works with the class to maximize experiential and collaborative learning both on campus and during travel. There will also be free time during travel for exploring on your own.

Students Relaxing

Funding & Scholarship Note: MCLA has  a limited number of $300. Student research/travel grants available by application for students with exceptional  research project plans.  Students from this course have successfully applied for these research grants in the past. Interested students should speak with Prof. Denhard.

New for 2014: Travel Course Scholarships. More information to follow soon! See Financial Aid Office for information on student loans.

Please contact Prof. Denhard if you are interested in participating or would like more information.

Prof. Denhard near Tower Bridge, LondonRosanne F. Denhard, Ph.D., Professor English/Communications 

Department Office: Mark Hopkins 103-C
Office Phone: 413-662-5195

Faculty Webpage

Special thanks to all of the students and alumni who have contributed photos over the years.

Learn More, See More

Prof. Denhard has designed a presentation documenting the course experience, including further descriptions, more student quotes, photographs, and selected abstracts of student research and creative projects.  View it online now.

Faculty Quote:

"Learning is always an adventure, but academic travel takes the concept of "adventure" to new places, new people, and new experiences. We study what is "old" in ways that bring the past to life in vivid detail and give us insight into our present and future.  The benefits are enormous."

Prof. Rosanne Denhard, English/Communications

Student Quotes:

"It was a rewarding experience on all fronts, and prepared me for what may be a possible teaching assignment one day. I was gratified to have this opportunity to travel to Great Britain once again and lend my experience to a fine class of students and a great professor. I learned a great deal on this trip and it has been one of the defining experiences of my college career."

Alex Marshall
MCLA 2012
Teaching Assistant, Spring 2012

"The combination of the academic class and the travel component has helped me greatly in becoming a more experienced scholar-traveler.  Through this experience, I was able to recognize my capabilities and therefore give myself a little more confidence which will only help me become a stronger student, citizen, and teacher in the years to come."

Jesse McMillan
MCLA Class of 2014

 "I learned the confidence and know-how in order to travel on my own.  Using the experience from the class, I've prepared a second trip to London, England and also to Ireland.  This implies creating an itinerary, but the ability to intellectually prepare myself by learning context before travel is the real benefit.  I am also using my return to London as an opportunity to revisit Westminster Abbey and other sites in order to deepen my connection and understanding further so that I may bring my project further, make it worth sharing at more conferences, and possibly even go on to publish."

Kimberly Domanico
MCLA 2013

"Finally it dawned on me: I would research both of the Elizabethan theatres we had visited, the reconstructed Globe and the still-struggling-to-be-preserved Rose and compare and contrast their histories both in the time period and their reconstruction efforts in recent memory, and then I would create my own production of The Tempest. This project felt almost too perfect: the things which had driven me most passionately while I was in England fit neatly together to make the actual research portion of the course not a struggle, but an excitement. I had discovered a subject which captured me fully as a scholar, driving me on to do the work."

Tyler Prendergast, MCLA 2013

"In England, I researched Medieval and Renaissance "common place books."  I incorporated on-site learning at historic sites/museums and archival library research.  Common place books, or miscellanies, were a way of compiling valued information: letters, recipes, prayers, scholarly work, etc.  In my archival research, I examined materials at the library of York Minster, the British Library, the archives at Westminster Abbey, and the British Museum. "

Lyndsay DeBord, MCLA 2008

"London was where my research really took off. At the National Portrait Gallery I was able to see the actual paintings of portraits I had only seen in books, a room filled with paintings of Elizabeth I from her coronation to her later life. When I finally found the portrait of Shakespeare it was a crowning moment. Being face-to-face with one of my biggest inspirations was very meaningful to me and during the visit I kept going back to his portrait just to look him in the eyes. . . What I learned most about myself as a scholar-traveler is that there is always something more to learn. That's what I love about being a student: to be able to just keep learning. I'll never satiate my knowledge for things Shakespeare, Elizabethan and England and it reinvigorate my need to learn as much I can about theatre and acting history. It is just another step in my desire to become a Theatre professor."

Elizabeth Cardaropoli, MCLA 2012

Alumni Quote:

"Most people are surprised to hear that the MCLA Travel courses are often available to non-students and alumni.  They're a great deal as opposed to going it alone and they give us a wonderful way to get to know the younger classes as well!  In Great Britain we saw York, Edinburgh, and London.  I made a bunch of new friends and got to catch up with a few old ones.  I can't wait to go back and give Scotland another go!"

Adam Giroux,
MCLA 2006