London Summer Travel Study (no program in 2017)

This coming summer, we invite you to join us in exploring London as a global city and as a focus of worldwide movements for social justice.

London: Global City, Global Justice, is a two-course, 8 unit, four-week package we offer as part of the UCSB Summer Sessions programs. You have the option to do independent study and earn up to 8 more units when you return to your UC home.

It is clear that in today’s London, the future is being shaped. By cultures of many people. By a wide-ranging set of discussions and initiatives about the shape of society and government. By a passion for social and global justice. By the everyday actions and dreams of millions of people.

London is a (perhaps the) quintessential global city. We say this not just because one of us has lived there much of her life and the other has fallen in love with the place (and her), but as critical sociologists and students of the world.

Many of us have heard about the Magna Carta, Shakespeare, the Battle of Britain in World War II, The Beatles, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Harry Potter, as well as fashion designers such as Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen (oh, and the Queen herself!). We also know of Elvis Costello, Coldplay, Amy Winehouse, Florence and the Machine, and Lady Gaga. Colin Firth won an Oscar for his role in The King’s Speech, Gwyneth Paltrow lives in North London, as does Chris Martin of Coldplay. Artists find a particular haven, from David Hockney to Anish Kapoor. Museums such as the Tate and the Tate Modern are some of the most visited in the whole world, while the Saatchi galleries of modern art pop our minds with their installations. From cricket to football (you’ll never call it “soccer” again!), the Guardian newspaper to the BBC, London is one of the centres of the universe.

London and the United Kingdom more generally is also a place shaped by struggles for a better world… struggles for democracy that go back to the English revolution, the movement that led to the abolition of slavery over 200 years ago, movements of socialist politics and trades unions that pioneered the European welfare state, as well as peace and environmental movements such as the Aldermarston marches against nuclear bombs led by the philosopher Bertrand Russell, the Greenham Common women against U.S.-cruise missiles in Europe, the Climate Camp, and many more.

Much of the magic of London rubs off simply walking around, and seeing what happens – there’s superb public transport to get you anywhere in a surprisingly short time, part of the backbone of a global city. London offers restaurants, cafes and street life along with food markets that are renowned throughout the world. Hyde Park, Hampstead Heath, and Regent's Park are just some of the parks near where you will live. Neighborhoods from Hampstead to Chelsea, Battersea to Brixton, and many others are within a very short tube ride from our classrooms. The London Eye (the world’s largest Ferris wheel) and Thames River boat cruises to Greenwich and Hampton Court will form part of our curriculum.

Classes and field trips will be Mondays to Thursdays, usually, so you can travel more widely and easily compare London as a global city with other European cities. And of course, you can launch your own explorations of the United Kingdom and Europe after the program ends.

We’d love to discuss how you can be part of this unique learning experience this summer!

Kum-Kum Bhavnani
Professor of Sociology and Director