Study Abroad England

Last Updated: 19 Apr 2023
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ENGL 378H/ IS 305H and ENGL 378/ IS 305 The Celts: Leprechauns, Braveheart, and Harry Potter Professor: Janet Morgan Haavisto, Ph. D. Course Description: This course is designed to encourage a clearer understanding of the influence the Celts (particularly the Irish and Scots) have exerted on the world and on themselves through their attempts to define their culture. We will examine the characteristics that the Celts have traditionally prized and validated. These characteristics have led the Irish from pre-St. Patrick, into their difficult relationship with the English, into Home Rule, and finally into the European Union.

These characteristics have led the Scots from the Roman built Hadrian’s Wall to William Wallace (Braveheart) to a still resented union with England as part of Great Britain. Through literature and cultural studies, we will examine efforts to redefine “Celtishness” for the twenty-first century, along with the issues that must be addressed by all of the constituents in the enterprise in this still divided cultural entity comprised of the British-ruled six counties of Northern Ireland and the free Republic of Ireland, as well as the nationalistic Scots with their justice and educational systems independent of England’s.

Beginning with Joyce, Yeats, Synge, Swift, Harry Potter (J. K. Rowling), Stevenson, Scott, and Burns, we will examine the characteristics that have led the Scots through centuries of uneasy interaction with England and into the devastation of the clans and the diaspora resulting from the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden and the Highland Clearances. Likewise, we will examine the centuries of distress the Irish have endured in their relationship with the English.

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Contemporary Scots, however, live in a very different world—one in which they have moved from a position of perceived superiority in a time in which Hadrian built a wall to contain the “savage to the north” to a world in which their economy is still linked to England’s and their cultural makeup includes the many groups (Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indians, Asians, Africans, and yet more) who have entered the UK and who see themselves as “British. ” The same situation presents a challenge for the Irish. This diversity is a far cry from the Celtic prototype of earlier centuries.

Through literature and cultural studies, we will examine efforts to redefine “Scottishness” and Scotland as well as “Irishness” and Ireland. At the end of the course students will be able to: 1. discuss the issues involved in the effort to define “Irishness,” “Scottishness,” and “Celtishness”; 2. define “devolution” and discuss the impetus for it as well as the ramifications of it for the parties involved and engage in the debate about the efficacy of it; 3. discuss the likely impacts on the Irish and Scots of their definitions of themselves as a result of the Republic of Ireland’s and the United Kingdom’s entry into the European Union; 4. istinguish among terms, such as, “Ireland,” “Scotch Irish,” “United Kingdom,” “Great Britain,” “England,” “Briton,” “British,” “Celtic,” “Anglo-Saxon,” “Irish Gaelic,” “Scots language,” “Scots Gaelic,” and “Erse”; 5. explain how early legends helped define the characteristics commonly attributed to the Irish and the Scots; 6. discuss the impact of cultural diversity on the inhabitants of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland and how such cultural diversity complicates effort to define themselves and their cultures; 7. iscuss the issues of racism plaguing Ireland and Scotland and the difficulties racism causes in the effort to define themselves and their cultures; 8. distinguish among such terms as “Britishness,” “Englishness,” “Welshness,” “Scottishness,” “Irishness” and discuss why distinctions are made among such terms; 9. discuss the significance of “orange” and “green” and tartans, harps, and bagpipes; 10. discuss some writers and their literature and the perspectives they shed on the issues of “Irishness” and “Scotchness” on attempts to accommodate Irish and Scots of many national and ethnic backgrounds; 11. iscuss the history and extent of Irish and Scots immigration and its effects on the development of the U. S. A. ; 12. explore why in the effort to redefine themselves both strong identification with the United States and anti-Americanism figure into the Irish and Scot effort to position their cultures in the world of the twenty-first century. Texts: Required for students taking this course for Honors credit (strongly recommended for all others): Cahill, Thomas. How the Irish Saved Civilization. ISBN-10: 0385418493 ISBN-13: 978-0385418492 Herman, Arthur. How the Scots Invented the Modern World.

ISBN-10: 0609809997 ISBN-13: 978-0609809990 Webb, Jim. Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America. ISBN-10: 0767916891 ISBN-13: 978-0767916899 Required readings for all students: • The Harry Potter series of 7 novels (You do not need to bring them all on the trip. Just read them before you come. ) • Robert Lewis Stevenson's Kidnapped http://www. online-literature. com/stevenson/kidnapped/ • Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe (any edition) http://www. online-literature. com/walter_scott/ivanhoe/ • Robert Burns’ poetry http://www. poetry-archive. com/b/burns_robert. html ¬ “Auld Lang Syne” ¬ “Bannockburn” “O My Luve’s Like a Red, Red Rose” ¬ Tam O’Shanter (Burns original side-by-side with a standard English translation: http://www. worldburnsclub. com/poems/translations/446. htm) Online Selections Selections from The CAIN Project. University of Ulster Quote from the website: “This site contains information and source material on 'the Troubles' and politics in Northern Ireland from 1968 to the present. There is also information on Northern Ireland society. New material is added regularly and there are also frequent updates, so information on particular pages may change. ” http://cain. ulst. ac. uk/ The

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