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GCC United Kingdom — Literary Monsters

  • City: London
  • Term: Winter course with field component during Spring
  • Instruction in: English
  • Students interested in: English, General Studies, Humanities

On-Campus component: RCHUMS  (3 credits) — What is a monster? How do monster stories become cultural touchstones that express the fears of their particular historical moment? What kinds of social, political or psychological concerns do monster stories help us explore? In this hybrid literature and creative writing class, students will develop ideas about “monstrosity” in order to think carefully about political and cultural tensions and transformations (especially surrounding race, gender, class, sexuality, [dis]ability and religion) over the last 200 years.

Off-component component ( 2 credits)— Moving among the people and streets of London and studying the political and cultural power historically centered there, students will deepen their understanding of the cultural and geographic origins and histories of British literary monsters such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Mr. Hyde. The layered geography of the city itself, its neighborhoods and institutions and cemeteries, will become our classroom as well as an additional kind of course text, as we unpack the anxieties about foreignness, status, and marginalization that tales of monstrosity have documented and critiqued. Building on concepts studied throughout the Winter semester, students will have rich new opportunities to think about what monstrosity means in this particular material setting and historical moment, visit London’s past imaginatively and in some sense quite literally, and continue to discover what kind of monster stories they themselves have to tell.

Students do NOT have to be in the Residential College to participate in this program. The program is taught and led by U-M Instructor Christopher Matthews, Lecturer, Creative