Christina Isabelli, PhD
This course studies how different communities in London convey and maintain their identities. We will study a sample of London’s diverse ethnic population (Irish, Bangladeshi, Indian, and Caribbean) to learn about their immigration, settlement, and acculturation experience in London and the impact of those experiences on their education, religious and family traditions.
We will focus on three social institutions: education, religion and the family. We will learn about the ethnic groups’ immigration, settlement, and acculturation experiences in London and the impact their education, religious and family traditions had on said experiences and vice versa. It will examine the religious traditions of London ethnic groups, namely Muslim, Hindi and Catholic and how their traditions have become established in London society. The course will also focus on the family structures in these ethnic communities and how religious traditions impact marriage and family relations. Studying and interacting with these groups will help us understand their values, beliefs, and behaviors and how they reflect the larger global society. The objective is to enable you to understand that there is no universal religious or family pattern but that patterns of social institutions are largely shaped by a host of cultural and historical factors.
1. To develop students’ capacities for critical thinking and intellectual independence by creating opportunities for active learning;
2. To heighten students’ understanding of the diversity of cultures in the world;
3. To develop students’ capacities for expressing and communicating ideas in writing and orally, and for using writing as a means of discovery and understanding.
Contemporary and Social Institutions (CSI) General Education Goals
1. Examine how one or more social institutions arises, operates, interacts with other institutions, and changes in different cultural and historical contexts;
2. Illuminate the ways and means through which societal and individual values are reflected in contemporary social institutions;
3. Enable students to understand how individuals’ values, beliefs, and behaviors are influenced by contemporary social institutions;
4. Provide students with opportunities to observe and/or to interact directly with individuals involved in the ongoing operations of contemporary social institutions in London.
• 4 formal assignments (4-5 pages) 60%Assignments
• 6 reflective essays (1 page) 30%
• participation 10%
The topics are very broad, in order to allow you to focus on what interests you most about the texts, and create your own thesis. Make sure, however, that your thesis is clear.
Formatting: 12-point font, Times New Roman, one-inch margins, and double-spaced. Put your name at the top left margin. Have a title suitable to the subject, typed and centered above the first paragraph. Be sure to have page numbers after the first page. Use MLA publication style in-text citations and for the reference section of your paper. Make sure that these assignments are free of significant grammatical and typing mistakes.
Formal Assignment 1. Irish. 3-4 pages. With this specific backdrop of London, what role do concepts such as culture, family, religion, and nation play in some of the Irish population’s (re)constructions of self-identity? How do some Irish cope with issues such as assimilation and marginalization? Feel free to incorporate examples from our readings, Tony Murray’s lecture, and our trip to Ireland.
Formal Assignment 2. Bangladeshi. 3-4 pages. The topic is the underlying values that are embodied in the structure and functioning of ‘the family’, ‘education’ and ‘religion’ in Brick Lane. Some questions to consider: How do the lives of traditional Bangladeshi women compare to those that are more westernized? How do the different facets of Nazneen’s identity change as she deals with different issues such as religion, motherhood, sex, love? Fate is a significant theme in the novel. What role does Fate play in Nazneen’s life? Discuss the ideological struggle between Fate and self-determination. How does faith relate to female empowerment? Discuss the culture clash between the Bangladeshi’s and the English, Muslims and Christians, men and women, and between generations. Considering Nazneen and Karim’s faith, how do you account for their relation? How do you explain their attractions to each other? What compels them to continue their dangerous liaisons? Chanu is a curious character of high-hope and endless projects that inevitably fizzle out. In spite of his education and ambition, why is Chanu unable to rise above his struggling status? Is the racist system of England set against him? Or is he merely more a man of talk rather than action? Use MLA publication style in-text citations and for the reference section of your paper.
Formal Assignment 3. Indian. 3-4 pages. “I wrote the book [Anita and Me] as an homage to my own generation, the first generation of Indians to be born and grow up in Britain – life was painful and funny and joyful.” - Meera Syal
What are the underlying values that are embedded in the structure and function of ‘the family’, 'religion' and ‘education’ of Meena’s society? With this specific backdrop of London, what role do concepts such as culture, family, religion, and nation play in some of the Indian population’s (re)constructions of self-identity? How do some Indians cope with issues such as assimilation and marginalization? Feel free to incorporate examples from the novel and our visit to Southall and the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Use MLA publication style for formatting, in-text citations, and for the reference section of your paper.
Formal Assignment 4. Caribbean. 3-4 pages. What are the underlying values that are embedded in the structure and function of ‘the family’, 'religion' and ‘education’ as presented in Hortense’s society? With this specific backdrop of London, what role do concepts such as culture, family, religion, and nation play in some of the Caribbean population’s (re)constructions of self-identity? How do some Caribbeans cope with issues such as assimilation, marginalization, and racism?
6 Reflective essays – 1-2 pages for each fieldtrip. (Eid at Trafalgar Square, Ismaili Imamat, Diwali in London, Neasden Mandir, Football game, Southall). Address how the people they have observed negotiate the two cultures (try to comment on family, education and religion). And reflect on any observable underlying values of the particular ethnic group that are embodied in the structure and functioning of the institutions studied. Identify both the manifest (intended/unintended) and latent (recognized/unrecognized) functions of these institutions and determine whether and how any patterns promote (in)stability and (dis)harmony in London society. To be turned in within one week after the fieldtrip.
class fieldtrip to the
Ismaili Imamat. Meet outside South
Kensington tube station at 12:30.
T, 9/14 Irish in Britain, Homework for 9/15: Questions for Prof. Tony Murray
W, 9/15 9 am Prof. Tony Murray, lecture – Irish Diaspora
8pm Curry Night at Monsoon Restaurant, 78 Brick Lane, Banglatown
Th, 9/16-9/19 Trip to Ireland
T, 9/21 Irish in London
Sun, 9/26 fieldtrip on your own- Eid at Trafalgar Square 2:30-6:30
T, 9/28 Discussion of Brick Lane, Chapters 1-5. Homework for 9/30, Brick Lane Discussion Questions 6-10
Th, 9/30 Discussion of Brick Lane, Chapters 6-10. Homework for 10/5, Brick Lane Discussion Questions 11-15
T, 10/5 Discussion of Brick Lane, Chapters 11-15. Homework for 10/7, Brick Lane Discussion Questions 16-21
Th, 10/7 Discussion of Brick Lane, Chapters 16-21
T, 10/12 film - East is East
Th, 10/14 Turn in Formal Assignment 2. Homework for 10/26, Anita and Me Discussion Questions
T, 10/26 Discussion of Anita and Me, Chapters 1-3 Discussion Questions
Th, 10/28 Discussion of Anita and Me, Chapters 4-6
fieldtrip on your own - Return to Camden Festival –
Irish Cultural Center or Football
Sun, 10/31 fieldtrip on your own - Diwali at Trafalgar Square, 2-7pm
T, 11/2 fieldtrip as a class to Southall “Little India”
Th, 11/4 Discussion of Anita and Me, Chapters 7-10
T, 11/9 Discussion of Anita and Me, Chapters 11-13. Homework for 11/11 read Rocío G. Davis's article
Th, 11/11 Discussion of Anita and Me and Davis's 1999 article
T, 11/16 fieldtrip as a class to the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir – Hindu Temple
Th, 11/18 Turn in Formal Assignment 3
T, 11/23 Visit by Prof. Tom Lutze.
Th, 11/25 No class, Happy Thanksgiving!
T, 11/30 Discussion of Small
Prologue-Chapter 30 Discussion questions Prologue
Th, 12/2 Discussion of Small Island, Chapters 31-45
T, 12/7 Discussion of Small Island, Chapters 46-59 Discussion Questions 46 - 59
Th, 12/9 Turn in Formal Assignment 4.
AIFS - The American Institute for Foreign Study is our host institution in London. Sinead Sheehan (SSheehan@ aifs.co.uk) is the Academic Affairs contact and Tori Monkman (TMonkman@ aifs.co.ukis) the Student Affairs contact.
IWU contact person - Stacey Shimizu (sshimizu@ iwu.edu), the Director of International Studies.
Sept. 2 Chicago O'Hare UA 938 (departs 9:10pm) to London Heathrow (arrive September 3 11:15am).
Dec. 10 Heathrow - O'hare UA 949 (departs 12:05pm arrives 3:06pm)
Independent Travel Notification Form