Key Information
Module code
Taught during
Module workload
Module leader
Block Two: Monday 25 July – Friday 12 August 2016
45 teaching hours plus approximately 100 study hours
Dr Thomas Wilks
School of European Languages, Culture and Society, Faculty of Arts and Humanities
0.5 UCL credits, 7.5 ECTS, 4 US
Level 1, first year Undergraduate
Standard entry requirements
10-minute presentation (25%)
2,500-word essay (75%)
Module Overview
Students will investigate London’s European identity through examples of people, language, objects, sites and
activities that have enriched London as a European capital city. Teaching will combine case studies, ranging
from the histories of European settlers to the current shaping of London's multicultural identity, with visits to
heritage sites. Seminars will discuss European encounters with London in a variety of modes, from literature
and fine art to politics to commerce. Influences of European languages on London will be scrutinised, from
place names to gastronomy. The course will extend students' understanding of London and Europe, evaluating
how culture from Irish to Italian, from Portuguese to Polish is accommodated.
Week One
 Overview of London's history
 How European visitors and settlers have shaped London since Roman times.
 London's European geography: identifying significant sites (past and present), including their mapping
by continental cartographers; transport and commercial infrastructure; architecture; areas associated
with European communities (working outwards from Bloomsbury, Soho, Camden).
 London's European language: introduction to Germanic and Roman influences on names, social
exchange and institutions (from key architectural terms to colloquial language to signage).
Week Two
 European communities in London (case studies of French, German and Italian in depth); comparisons
of past and present migration patterns and of the cultural heritage Europeans have brought to London.
International Summer School for Undergraduates – ISSU1031: The European Character of London
Case studies: individuals who have left their mark on London (benefactors, industrialists, reformers,
artists, writers).
Writing (and reading) London: close reading and critical comparison of extracts from literary texts,
essays and journalism, diaries and letters representing London (see Bibliography). Emphasis on style
as well as substance.
Depicting London: painting, sculpture, photography (and cartography, continued from Week 1,
including 21st-century mappings of London behaviour, language characteristics etc.).
In all of the above, students will be encouraged to document and discuss their own explorations of
present-day London in comparison with the sources presented.
Week Three
 London, Europe and the global economy: commerce and transactions (from the foundations of
merchant banking to present-day retail and new business start-ups).
 London and tourism: how London is marketed and made accessible to European visitors.
 Comparing London with other European capitals: governance, amenities and infrastructure, cultural
integration and promotion of national heritage.
 Student presentations: expanded case studies, providing evidence of individual research (e.g. photos,
information gleaned from site visits).
 Preparing the essay: expanded readings and comparisons; learning lessons from London's past to
enhance its present and future appeal.
Module Aims
To introduce students to London’s European identity through studies of people, language, objects, sites and
activities that have shaped the historical, geographical and contemporary cultural enrichment of London as a
European capital city. To develop students' skills in critical analysis and comparison of texts about London from
various perspectives and periods (factual, opinionated and fictional). To enhance students' awareness of the
role of language in the mediation and evolution of London's culture.
Teaching Methods
Lectures convened and seminars facilitated by individual course tutor. The module is supported by an
individual course moodle site. Classes will include non-assessed quizzes on key facts and figures and on
discoveries made through the experiential learning that students will undertake outside classroom time on site
visits. Close reading of literary texts; critical comparison of varied sources of historical and commentary detail
on London; small group project work in preparation for the assessed oral presentations; scenario-based role
playing based on case studies and learning of key language (specialised English and terms from European
languages used in London past and present) will all feature
International Summer School for Undergraduates – ISSU1031: The European Character of London
Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this module, students will have:
Gained an increased knowledge of London's cultural development, historically and recently, as a
European capital;
Developed their skills in textual analysis through close reading and contextualisation of written
representations of London in a variety of genres;
Engaged in research-based and experiential modes of learning at key locations in London to
consolidate and apply their understanding of sites and cultural artefacts;
Enhanced and applied their intercultural awareness by considering the challenges of integration and
language use;
Boosted their written and oral presentation skills through assessed coursework based on authentic
case studies.
Assessment Methods
10-minute presentation (25%)
2,500-word essay (75%)
Key Texts
There is no expectation that course participants will have consulted any of these texts prior to taking the course.
Ashton, Rosemary, Little Germany: Exile & Asylum in Victorian England. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.
Bermant, Chaim, Point of Arrival: London's East End. London: Methuen, 1975, chapters 3-6, 10-11, 13-14.
De Amicis, Edmondo, Memories of London [1873; trans. Stephen Parkin], followed by Louis Laurent Simonin,
An Excursion to the Poor Districts of London [1862; trans. Adam Elgar]. Richmond, Surrey: Alma, 2014.
Gwynn, Robin, The Huguenots of London. Brighton: Alpha, 1998.
Kelly, Debra & Martyn Cornick (eds.), A History of the French in London: Liberty, Equality, Opportunity. London:
Institute of Historical Research, 2013.
Lewis, Jon E. (ed.), London: The Autobiography. London: Robinson, 2008.
Merriman, Nick (ed.), The Peopling of London: Fifteen Thousand Years of Settlement from Overseas. London:
Museum of London, 1993.
Porter, Roy, London: A Social History. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1994.
Tristan, Flora, Flora Tristan's London Journal: A Survey of London Life in the 1830s [1840; trans. Dennis Palmer
& Giselle Pincetl]. London: George Prior, 1980.
International Summer School for Undergraduates – ISSU1031: The European Character of London