September Seminar in the Humanities

In cooperation with Hertford College, Worcester College will offer its fourth September Seminar in the Humanities in 2018. This intensive, month-long seminar is open to any student studying at Worcester during the Michaelmas Term, and allows those students to extend their stay in Oxford so that the fall term's work is comparable in substance and duration to a full semester. 

See below for detailed information.

Academic Experience 

The seminar will be of interest to intellectually adventurous, highly motivated students who wish to consider why and how we study the humanities even as they engage in humanistic study. The seminar takes as its organizing theme "other minds," and considers the way that texts from various periods and cultures grapple with problem of imagining the consciousness and experience of others—while examining critically the practices that humanistic disciplines use to approach this problem. Students are taught the general expectations for the Oxford tutorial essay, and write two essays related to the material on the syllabus.

Worcester's Provost, Professor Jonathan Bate, opens the course with a welcome address posing key questions for students to consider on this topic, drawing from and developing upon his work as editor of The Public Value of the Humanities as well as his extensive work on Shakespeare and on Romanticism.

These informal contributions will supplement the central body of teaching for the seminar. That teaching will be provided by faculty from the departments of Classics, English Language and Literature, and Medieval and Modern Languages. Different tutors will teach each week of the seminar, providing over the course of the month a chronological sequence that moves from the idea of the barbarian in ancient texts to the problem of representing consciousness in the modern psychological novel. 

The seminar may include visits to the Ashmolean Museum and to Worcester College Library's special collections to examine primary source materials, as well as a trip to Shakespeare's Globe in London or to the RSC performance in Statford-upon-Avon.

Faculty involved in teaching the seminar in September 2018 will include:

  • Dr Scott Scullion (Faculty of Classics and Worcester College Senior Tutor)
  • Dr Helen Appleton (Career Development Fellow in English at Balliol College)
  • Dr Christopher Salamone (Lecturer in English at The Queen's College)
  • Dr Michael Mayo (Junior Research Fellow, Worcester College)


Residential Life

The seminar includes visiting students from both Hertford College and Worcester College; students will reside in the colleges in which they are enrolled.

At Worcester, enrolled students reside together on the college campus. A Junior Dean, one of several graduate students serving on the college's Student Welfare Team, will live on the premises with the group of students and make sure that they are comfortable as they settle into Worcester, Oxford, and the UK. In addition to the Junior Dean, the Programme Director is also available to students should they require assistance or simply want to chat. Catering services are available in a limited capacity during September, and dormitories have kitchens, they have the option of cooking for themselves. 

The month opens with a formal welcome dinner at Worcester, and we hold a traditional tea party at Hertford in Michaelmas Term.