ENG 201 AND ENG 436/COM 270:
Studies in British Culture
(6 credit hours)

Identity, Nationalism and Anglo-Irish Conflict in England and Ireland
English and Communication course credits

Weekly meetings during Spring 2014, in country June 29-July 15

Lara Whelan, English
Brian Carroll, Communication
berry phone: 706-238-5876 (LW)
706- 368-6944 (BC)
email: lwhelan@berry.edu | bc@berry.edu

$1500 deposit deadline Jan. 15 (total trip cost: $4,500; balance due March 15)

Promotional description

Think Ireland is all about shamrocks, leprechauns and Guinness? Why can't Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland get along? What are all those marches about every July? Join Dr. Lara Whelan (English) and Dr. Brian Carroll (Communication) to learn more about how we construct our own identities, both individually and as members of various groups, by studying the history of the conflict between England and Ireland in the 20th century.
The course consists of seven weeks of class meetings (once per week for two hours) during the second seven weeks of Spring 2012. We then embark on a two-week trip to London, Belfast, Derry, Galway and Dublin during Summer A Block. We’ll take in a Shakespeare production in the reconstructed Globe theater, visit important sites in British cultural history including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and the British Museum, hear from those who lived during “The Troubles” of the 70s, 80s and 90s in Northern Ireland and see the remnants of the conflict, learn about conflict resolution and how these communities are healing, explore ways in which various aspects of “traditional” Irish culture are being kept alive through recovery and preservation efforts, and explore the legacy of key figures of 20th century Irish literature.

Course purpose

This course is designed to give students an understanding of the development of a tradition of literature in Ireland separate from yet inevitably related to British literature in general. This course is only open to students who are participating in the 2012 Summer International Program in England and Ireland.

Course description

Assigned reading for this course will consist of novels, poetry, plays, historical accounts and essays produced by Irish and Anglo-Irish authors. The works under consideration focus on issues of Irish identity, specifically ways in which that identity has been constructed in or defined against or in collaboration with a variety of colonizing influences.

A multimedia digital storytelling practicum is also offered, particularly for COM students, to teach students how to leverage digital media to tell a meaningful, engaging, relevant stories, and to document some of the people, places and stories we encounter on the trip.

For COM majors, register for Visual Rhetoric COM 270, a core course (required of all majors).

Berry International Programs web page for this course. You might qualify for an International Programs scholarship!

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will gain:

  • a thorough familiarity with plot, characters, setting, themes, etc. of all assigned readings.
  • an opportunity to reflect in writing on connections between fictional texts and Irish history/conflicts/culture under discussion.
  • an opportunity to reflect in writing on connections between and among the assigned texts.
  • a deeper understanding of Irish literature, history and culture.
  • interpretive skills that will enable them to generate “rich” readings of any Irish text they read in the future.

Methods of instruction

Assigned readings, class discussion, response papers, and travel in England and Ireland in Summer 2012.

Texts and readings

  • An Irish Literature Reader, 2nd ed., Murphy and MacKillop, eds.
  • Modern Irish Drama, Norton Critical Edition, Harrington, ed.
  • Ourselves Alone, Anne Devlin
  • The Commitments, Roddy Doyle
  • Supplemental readings available online

Course requirements

Reading: You are expected to come to class having read the assigned material for that day. You should come to class with questions that your reading of the assignment raised for you, and be prepared to discuss what you did and did not understand.

Response papers: You will write a total of 10 one-page response papers. See page 3 for further guidelines on response papers. Song and Film: This course has a significant multimedia component, reflecting the many modes Irish writing has taken over the century. Almost all weeks have an associated film, which you are responsible for viewing outside of class time.

Final project: More information will be provided to you about this assignment at the appropriate time.

Professionalism, Participation and Citizenship: Your participation in both the class meetings and the trip makes up a sizeable portion of your course grade (see percentage breakdown below). In addition, our travel abroad is considered a professional context, thus the following are expectations of each student:

  1. To be courteous and considerate in dealing with everyone else on the trip
  2. To show up on time for all outside appointments and group meetings and classes
  3. To both hold up your specific responsibilities and to support others in meeting their goals and deadlines
  4. To prevent personal issues from interfering with the objectives of the trip
  5. To dress and act in a way that conveys respect for the culture of the people whose country we are visiting
  6. To meet all deadlines, no matter what it takes
  7. To self-manage your free time based on the requirements of the trip. "Free time" is in fact free in so far as you have completed any work due prior to that scheduled time.
  8. To respond to criticism professionally rather than personally
  9. To take the initiative in your coursework, including but not limited to getting out of your hotel rooms and/or the local Starbucks to meet and get to know the people of England, Northern Ireland, and Ireland
  10. To adjust to changes in schedules and priorities
  11. To put forth maximum effort to meet the objectives of trip
  12. To heed the instructions and directions of the trip directors/instructors.

While abroad, students will be interrupting to some degree the regular life of the immediate community (or communities). As guests in a foreign country, each student must be respectful of the lifestyles and customs of our hosts. Students who compromise our welcome in the host community will be asked to return home. Students are also subject to British and Irish laws and justice. Behavioral standards by which students are therefore expected to abide:

  1. No abuse of social drinking privileges. Public drunkenness will not be tolerated.
  2. Fighting or any other activity (e.g., fountain swimming, etc.) that brings public shame to the program will not be tolerated and could result in the revoking of privileges, an "F" in the two courses, and/or in dismissal.
  3. Clique-ishness is discouraged, as is the shunning of any student in the program for any reason.
  4. All students are responsible for damages to their living quarters.
  5. For safety and liability reasons, no renting of cars or scooters.
  6. Penalties for drug use are severe throughout Europe. If you are arrested, we cannot help you.

Grade Components

  • Participation: 25%
  • Response papers: 30%
  • Short informative presentation: 15%
  • Final project: 30%* *

There will be several parts, separately graded, that make up the final project. More details about the components and weights of the final project will be provided to you at the appropriate time.

Attendance Policies

You are allowed one unexcused absence. Absences are only excused by a note from your dean or a doctor. Students who miss more than one class without an appropriate excuse will have a lower participation grade and may even fail the course. You must attend at least 2/3 of the Spring 2012 class meetings to pass the SIP course.

It is YOUR responsibility to find out what you missed in class if you are absent. You must find a classmate and learn both what went on in class and what is expected of you for the next class. Handouts and other course materials provided by me will typically be available on Viking Web.

Response Paper Guidelines

You will be responsible for 10 response papers over the course of the semester; you may only turn in one per week. Response papers are single-spaced, two-page typed or word processed responses to a work or works you have read. Response papers may not run longer than two pages. A response paper will typically focus its attention on a question provided the previous week.

Response papers should offer your own insights, develop a line of your own thinking, investigate a question or problem you have about the work(s) in question, or in some other way give an indication of your thoughtful response to the given question, expressed in standard written English with good spelling and grammar.

Response papers should NOT summarize a previous class discussion or any printed introductory material, or summarize the plot or narrative of the work in question. The response paper will develop the reasons for your response, rather than simply offer unsupported opinions. Also, response papers should not be longer than two pages and do not need a formal introduction, conclusion or thesis.


Plagiarism is cheating and will not be tolerated. Any partially or fully plagiarized work submitted for a grade will be failed with no recourse for a second chance. Plagiarism may also cause you to fail the course entirely. Do your own work. If you have any questions at all as to what constitutes plagiarism or intellectual property right infringement, please ask one of the instructors.

Americans with Disabilities Act Statement

If you have any kind of disability that necessitates special accommodation, such as extra time on essays or a special testing environment, you must contact Ms. Martha VanCise in the Academic Support Center in Memorial Library to coordinate those accommodations. Any requests for accommodation that do not originate from Ms. VanCise's office may not be honored.

Registration | Itinerary


Dates Topics and Readings Resources and Films

Jan. 13

Meet in Laughlin 113

UNIT I: Irish Mythologies

Introduction to Early Irish Mythology – Tuatha de Danaan, the Children of Lir, Finn Mac Cool, Oisin In-class reading: Lady Gregory on the Gods; Yeats on Fairies; Amergin; Hinkson, "The Children of Lir," 167; Ni Dhomhnaill, "Parthanogenesis," 409-11

Guardian resources on The Troubles, including timeline of Northern Ireland, and
Irish Historical Timeline

Listen: Bono's column on Ireland's New Year

Jan. 20

Meet in Laughlin 113

The Ulster and Fenian Cycles: ILR, pp. 4-15; Gregory, pp. 151-5 Handout: more Lady Gregory on Cuchulain

Christianity Comes to Ireland: [In-class: ILR, The Bird Crib, p. 26] Handout: St. Patrick's poems ILR: Pangur Ban, 21; Columcille's Poems, 24-26

Lady Gregory's re-telling of the story of Oisin, who returns from a visit to Tir na n'Og (the land of the young, or Faery) to find that hundreds of years have passed and all his companions (Finn and the Fianna) are long dead. Oisin is discovered by St. Patrick, who attempts to convert him to Christianity:

  1. http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/gafm/gafm87.htm
  2. http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/gafm/gafm88.htm
  3. http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/gafm/gafm89.htm
Jan. 27

Mythologies of National Heroes and Anti-Heroes: Brian Boru; Rory, Dermot, Aoife and Strongbow; Hugh O'Neill and the Flight of the Earls; Plantation and penal laws; Cromwell; Battle of the Boyne; United Irishmen and the Rebellion of 1798

ILR: O'Rathaille, "Valentine Brown," 41; "The Rising of the Moon," 78; "The Wearin' o' the Green," 79 Handout: Lyrics of Additional Ballads

Lady Gregory | John Butler Yeats

View:Into the West

Feb. 3

British Mythologies about the Irish: Handout: Spenser, Swift, Mayhew

Spenser, excerpts from "A View of the Present State of Ireland"; Hugh O’Neill’s "War Aims"; Jonathan Swift, “A Modest Proposal”; and Henry Mayhew, excerpts from "London Labour and the London Poor"

View: The Quiet Man


Feb. 10

UNIT II: Ireland in Transition: From Colony to Nation

What makes a nation?

Handout: Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities ILR: Davis, "Our National Language," 127-30; Hyde, "The Necessity of De-Anglicizing Ireland," 139-48; Proclamation, 221-222; Pearse, "The Rebel," 223-5; Pearse, "At the Grave of O'Donovan Rossa," 225-7

View: Man of Aran | Video coverage of the Hunger Strikes

Feb. 17

Irish Literary Revival

MID: Yeats, Cathleen Ni Houlihan; Gregory, The Rising of the Moon ILR: Synge, Riders to the Sea, pp. 175-184 In-class: Yeats, "Easter, 1916"; finish Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities

View: Michael Collins

Feb. 24

Joyce Responds: Ulysses

Read episodes 1, 9 and 12 (at right)


Read: Hyde, “The Necessity for De-Anglicizing Ireland”; Yeats, “Cathleen Ni Houlihan”; Lady Gregory, “The Marriage”;

Joyce, Ulysses
episode 1, Telemachus
episode 9, Scylla and Charybdis
episode 12, Cyclops

View: The Dead

March 2

Shaw Responds

MID: Shaw, John Bull's Other Island

Read: Brian Friel's "Freedom in the City"; Brian Friel's "Translations"; Wilson, Eureka Street, chapter 11

View: The Wind That Shakes the Barley

March 9 SPRING BREAK >>Happy St. Patrick's Day! (March 17)
March 16

UNIT III: The Troubles

Devlin, Ourselves Alone

COM 429 budget meeting: story ideas

Savile Inquiry site | Good documentary coverage via YouTube

View: Some Mother's Sons

March 23

The Troubles

Handout: Friel, The Freedom of the City

COM 429 budget meeting: story assignment(s)

View: Bloody Sunday
March 30

Responses to The Troubles

ILR: Hewitt, "An Irishman in Coventry," 283; Carson, all poems, 387-8

Handout: Heaney's essay COM 429 budget meeting: media choices

View: In the Name of the Father
April 6

Handout: Eureka Street

MID: Friel, Translations ILR: Montague, "A Grafted Tongue," 345; Heaney, "Traditions," 350

COM 429 budget meeting: equipment needs & training

View: Omagh
April 13

UNIT IV: Modern Ireland

Ireland's "Travelers"
Big, Fat Gypsy Wedding
Traveler community in Ireland

Doyle, The Commitments

COM 429 budget meeting: blog assignments

View: The Commitments
Apri 20

Doyle, The Commitments

COM 429 budget meeting: wrapping up loose ends

View: The Snapper
April 27

Final preparations

ILR: Montague, "Like Dolmens…," 343; Heaney, "Digging," 349; Heaney, "Act of Union," 351; Boland, "After a Childhood…," 384; Fallon, "The Lost Field," 394; O Searcaigh, "The Well," 419

View: Waking Ned Devine
Between April 27 and departure Fun Fact: "The Troubles" comes from an old Irish expression used when visiting someone who has lost a loved one: "I am sorry for your trouble." For Ireland's sectarian strife, it was first used as a euphemism during the Anglo-Irish or Black & Tan war.

Ourselves Alone, Annie Devlin (Derry)
Eureka Street, Robert Wilson (Belfast)
How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill
Ulysses, James Joyce
Playboy of the Western World, J.M. Synge
The Celtic Twilight, W.B. Yeats
My Dream of You, Nuala O'Faolin
The Hanging Gale

Deadlines (updated)
Jan. 15 Official sign-up deadline and $1500 deposit due (sign up with either Dr. Whelan OR Dr. Carroll; pay Business Office, using account number 317947)
mid-March Register for the class (ENG 201 AND ENG 436 OR COM 429)
March 15 Balance due ($3000)
April 26-28 Registration Cleanup Days (another chance to register for the course)
  Register during Spring advising for this course, which will be listed under Summer A block

Itinerary Abroad (tentative)
June 29 Arrive London from Atlanta
June 30 Guided tour of London landmarks: West End, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London. Drive by House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben.
July 1

River cruise to Greenwich from Westminster bridge. Guided tour of city. Lunch. Riverboat back to Westminster. Tour Westminster Abbey. Evening free.

July 2 Full day of educational programming. Evening performance at The Globe.
July 3 Transfer to Holyhead, ferryboat to Dublin, bus to Belfast. Hotel check-in. Evening theater performance in Belfast (tentative).
July 4 City tour of Belfast. Drive to Armagh, spiritual capital of Ireland for 1,500 years, seat of both Catholic and Protestant archbishops.
July 5 To Derry/Londonderry along scenic coastal route. mountain views. Hotel check-in.
July 6 Full day of educational programming
July 7 To Sligo
July 8

To Galway

July 9 Full day of educational programming
July 10

Visit Aran Islands. Overnight on Inishmore.

July 11

Return to Galway

Afternoon, evening free time.

July 12 To Dublin. Hotel check-in.
July 13-14

Full day of activities, including walking tour of Dublin.

July 15

Return Dublin to Atlanta

questions or comments? bc at berry.edu
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