Brian Caton will be leading Luther College's Nottingham Program in the academic year 2014-2015. The Nottingham Year is based on community: students live together in a flat leased by the college and have the opportunity to be involved in a community service project of their choosing. A Luther faculty director lives in a leased house near the student flat and serves as the resident director for the year. The faculty director coordinates/teaches three courses throughout the year which all students take. One of these courses includes significant group travel throughout the United Kingdom and perhaps Ireland. Students also take coursework at the University of Nottingham.
Dr. Caton explains his pedagogical and research plans for the year,
"All students will take three courses with me: an IS135 course, a Paideia 450 class entitled "Understanding Contemporary Britain," and a modified version of HIST 162, "South Asian History." The Paideia 450 considers serious issues, arrayed along lines of class, gender, and race, that students will confront almost as soon as they step out of the flat every morning. The neighborhood around the flat (which is above the community hall of the German Lutheran Church) has, over the past 40 years or so, become increasingly populated by immigrants, mainly South Asian (and within that, mainly Pakistani). So we are hoping to help students come to grips with the Britain of their imaginations, the Britain of various sorts of British persons' imaginations, and what is actually there.
"The spring term history course will be limited to the period 1600 to the present, in an effort to trace the circulation of British ideas, people, material objects, etc., to South Asia and vice versa. This is in hopes of thinking of how the "new imperial history" (now well-established in academic circles) recasts the histories of both the British metropole and the South Asian colony. Thus the history of South Asian migration to the UK, for example, can be successfully pushed back to the 17th century, rather than imagining that it began in the 1960s (as in the old imperial or British national history). So part of all three courses will be literally looking for South Asia in Britain, which is much more present than we might imagine (or some Britons may wish to admit).
"As a teacher, I hope that our students will appreciate how contested the notion of Britain is, and the stakes involved in casting (or recasting) the past of not just those islands, but of other parts of the world. I hope they are able to develop the skill of seeing the past (or at least seeing change) in the environments in which they find themselves, both "built" and "natural" environments. As a scholar, I am planning to visit family archives of individuals connected to my present research projects; visit important sites for that work (for example, the original grounds of the London Veterinary College); and spend a few weeks in intensive work at the British Library (in London). I will be available to present lectures at scholarly meetings or at universities in the United Kingdom."