Sexuality and Gender in the Victorian City: London and Its Environs

Summer 2018 | London, Birmingham and Oxford


Travel to modern England while going back in time to explore Victorian London and its environs. Experiencing the art, music and theatre of the Victorian era—and in particular examining urban spaces, narratives and images—you’ll gain a nuanced understanding of gender and sexuality in the period. Site visits, walking tours and conversations with British scholars will provide insight on such topics as women’s work, women’s education, prostitution, the disciplining of female sexuality, suffrage and the campaigns for women’s autonomy. All of these experiences will help you read the Victorian city as a gendered, sexual space.


Victorian Culture
Highgate Cemetery. Hyde Park. The Victoria and Albert Museum. These and many more spaces were parts of the Victorian landscape and remain in place for you to see and learn from today.

By navigating the spaces and resources of London, Birmingham and Oxford on foot and via public transportation, you also gain an intimate understanding of Victorian England—its streets, its public and domestic spaces, its people and its way of life. With the vast 19th-century resources—museums, libraries, artists’ residences and historic sites—in this part of the world, you will get a unique look into Victorian times in conversation with faculty members and other experts who can put it all into context.


Academic Instruction

Guided site visits and conversations will be complemented by independent work and research tasks. Assignments such as site journals and small projects will provide the opportunity to connect knowledge acquired through courses and readings to site-specific experiences.

Experiential Learning
Walking tours will inspire you to think and talk about architecture and public spaces. Museums such as Tate Britain allow you to see contemporaneous art and design that you can experience no place else. Libraries and archives provide access to popular culture and scholarly materials such as suffragette collections. With one of the most robust performing arts scenes in the world, London is home to Victorian-era concerts and theatrical performances for you to enjoy.

Cross-Cultural Immersion
We may share a language (if not an accent) on both sides of the pond, but we all know that British and American cultures are quite different. While many experiences will be guided, you’ll also have opportunities to venture out on your own for a deeper and more personal experience. You might enjoy street life in each of the cities, learn to navigate the London Underground, find the best local cuisine—or discover something you never knew existed. In the end, it will lead to you having a broader vision of the world and greater ease with cross-cultural exchange.


Kim Rhodes, PhD, Professor of Art History
Kimberly Rhodes writes and teaches about modern and contemporary visual culture and has worked as an art historian in both museum and academic settings. Her research is on Victorian and neo-Victorian art, with a focus on gender and Shakespeare studies. She has published on representations of Ophelia in the nineteenth century and contemporary art and Victorian themes in contemporary feminist art, among other topics.

Wendy Kolmar, PhD, Professor of English and of Women’s and Gender Studies
Wendy Kolmar teaches courses on feminist theory, Victorian literature, gender and literature, gothic and supernatural literature, film and literary criticism. She spent a year working in the British Library as a Fulbright Scholar and has directed Drew’s London semester four times as well as two short programs to Paris and London. She is the editor of a popular feminist theory text and of several collections on British and American women’s ghost stories.