University of Miami Study Abroad - London Summer Program - British Politics and Policy

This course is different from those typically found in university curriculums that rely mainly on written texts. Instead, this course provides students with direct access to the thinking and beliefs of individuals who are leading players in the media, politics, and economics of Great Britain.

We of course provide articles, books, and lectures/discussions on history, theory, and practice. These are vital parts of the course, but our primary resources are in-depth discussions with activists, intellectuals and practitioners. The goal of the students is to absorb and critique the views offered by the individuals we interview, to engage them on what are arguably the salient topics of the current world scene.

Issues in the past have included the scope of surveillance practices in London, how British and American approaches to terrorism differ, the trade-offs between human rights and security, the UK’s role in the EU, the distribution of political power in the UK, and the secession movement in Scotland.

The course begins with an orientation and background on British politics. At the end of this first week we usually travel to Oxford as guests of the Oxford Union for one of their debates. Then, for the next two weeks, the group interviews individuals, ideally six interviews per week for a total of fifteen. Some of the interviews take place at Westminster in committee rooms that are closed to the general public. Others are held in the offices of prominent intellectuals and academics, think tanks (for example, the Adam Smith Institute), the U.S. Embassy, and Barclays Capital (on Canary Wharf). Others will take place in the Syracuse University center, Faraday House, located in the Bloomsbury section of London.

Contact Professor Joe Uscinski for more information. The three week course will run in 2016 during July.‌

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‌‌A Note from the Founder of the POL London Summer Program -- September 6, 2015

‌Many wonderful programs originate in foreign venues.  The recently anointed UM London summer program fits this pattern.  In the winter of 1983, when I was Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University, I was asked by the Political Science Department Chair to organize a summer program in London that would combine theory and practice.  I accepted the opportunity, and shortly after agreeing to organize this type of program I flew to London where I negotiated with the two principals, Roy Scott, Administrative Director of the Syracuse University London Programs, and Malcolm Keir, a British academic who was then teaching full time for Syracuse University.  The negotiations were successful.  I explained in detail that I wanted a special type of summer program, one that combined interviews with leaders and activists in London, brief seminars really, with four day-long lectures to begin the program.  In the discussions I got what I thought we needed:  an eight-week use of a classroom in the Syracuse University building in the Notting Hill area of London and a contract with Keir to teach a five-day introductory survey of British economics, politics, the transitions to the European Union, and the troubles at the time in Northern Ireland -- in general I contracted history with its special achievements and problems – the usual desiderata of an introductory course useful for both students who had some knowledge of Great Britain and those who were strictly tabula rasa. Scott, Keir, and I agreed to work on a list of political intellectuals and leaders, members of Parliament, the leaders of the Adam Smith Institute, print and television journalists and editors – individuals who might also provide’ insightful interviews.  On the academic side, I wanted the students to engage the speakers with information, even knowledge, rather than an innocent ignorance about politics in Europe and on the world stage.  Of course I planned to attend all program gathering, including Keir’s lectures and the interview sessions.  And I dud exactly that.

The Syracuse University London summer program was a great success from day one.  We drew 18-23 students every summer (including, at the beginning, students from other universities).  I was the Program Director for 20 years, traveling to London for 6-8 weeks every summer but one during those two decades.  The staff and I also worked at improving the speaker list.  Every winter I reviewed my notes on the interview sessions and expunged names of speakers. Then I asked the staff for recommendations to fill the open slots.  In this version of dialectical exchange we usually emerged with better speakers each year. At the end of my tenure as Program Director we had compiled a list of speakers that was the envy of other programs.

Why did I step down as Director after the 2004 summer session?  Because I had accepted an offer to chair the University of Miami Political Science Department.  (In the spring term of that first academic year at University of Miami (2005) I was asked to continue chairing the Syracuse University London program through the summer term of 2005 – and maybe beyond -- from my position at UM.  I declined.)  I have directed four versions of the program for UM since joining the faculty here.  This past summer, 2015, I passed the baton to a younger member of the POL faculty, Joseph Uscinski.  We split time chairing the program.  I introduced Professor Uscinski to my London contacts and walked him through the way the program works.

Professor Uscinski will be an excellent successor, developing the program in new ways.  From this point on I am a spectator, a fan, a free consultant if needed, as I watch the program take off in all the right ways over the next several years.  I am certain it will give the University of Miami a presence in London with great benefits in student recruiting and faculty research.‌

Fred Frohock

Professor of Political Science / University of Miami


‌Program Chair:

Joseph Uscinski, Ph.D. (University of Arizona, 2007)
Associate Professor

Email
305-284-3717