Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Entries Tagged as 'Professor Qualls'

Welcome to the new NHP class!!

August 25th, 2010 · No Comments

My second year as director has begun. I have been in London for a few days now making sure there are no problems on my walking tours, finalizing tickets and guest speakers, getting materials for the arriving students, and much more. In the morning i leave to pick up the new group of students at Heathrow. Because I know only one so far, I really look forward to meeting the students and learning more about them. The weather does not look to be kind for our first few days, and traffic problems associated with the Bank Holiday weekend, Tube maintenance, and the Nottinghill Carnival all promise to be a challenge for us. But we must simply “Keep calm, and carry on!”

Tags: Professor Qualls

A Late Summer’s Night Dream?

August 28th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Normally I would leave it to the students to give first impressions of a group event, but I take the lead this time. On a chilly, windy night that threatened (and delivered) intermittent showers, few were likely looking forward to standing as groundlings for three hours to watch one of the great bard’s lesser known plays. How the cast of Troilus and Cressida changed our disposition. Although Wannamaker’s Disneyfied recreation of the Globe envelopes you and slowly makes you forget the forgery, the flight of helicopters above breaks the dream. But no harm when you see a performance like we did tonight. Such a wonderful adaptation of Shakespeare I have rarely seen. Witty and natural dialogue brought even greater life from the words on the page. The remarkably beautiful young men in the cast immediately caused a stir, but their acting was more beautiful still. The range of emotions of the young Cressida (Laura Pyper) was remarkable. The British stage has a bright future with this talented young stable of actors, especially Christopher Colquhoun as Hector, Paul Stocker as Troilus, Beru Tessema as Patroclus, and the stunning Ms. Pyper. Matthew Dunster must be commended for superb direction. Let us not forget the haunting vocals of Olivia  Chaney.

But the joy was not limited to a fantastic performance and an after-show stroll across Millennium Bridge to St. Paul’s Cathedral. I think I took most pleasure in watching the responses of the students, some who have never seen Shakespeare performed (and certainly not so close to the stage), who were drawn in to the action. Several commented that they quickly forgot that they were standing for three hours, that the rain had fallen upon us, and that their legs–already weary from a morning’s forced march across Southwark–ached from the week’s activity. This is why I teach…to see young minds gaining new insights and appreciation, growing each day with each new experience.

Twas a magical, dream-like night. This I for one will not soon forget.

Tags: Professor Qualls · Theatre

Reggae and Jerks

August 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

Students weren’t the only ones going to markets today. Lest I seem a heartless taskmaster, I set off on my own excursion. With the Victoria line closed today for engineering works (repairs) I took a circuitous route to Brixton. The first thing  that struck me was the massive flight of Aussies and Brits from the Oval Tube station for the second day of the 6th test of the Ashes series. My idea of a great day is not sitting in the sun watching “athletes” in sweaters swing a small boat oar at a croquet ball. OK, I just don’t get cricket, but I’m trying. I continued down from the tube by bus to Brixton Market. What a wonder of beautiful color (both skin and fabrics). Brixton is traditionally known as an Afro-Carribean neighborhood, but I think most people would be surprised by the number of Halal butchers and green grocers from the Middle East. The calls of, “Yes, plaintains” with an Arabic accent accompanied the rhythm of reggae beats flowing from the music stalls. After wandering around a bit and running into some of my students next to Windrush Park I found a wonderful organic baker and purchased 1/4 loaves of mango bread and apple/plum/oat bread. After drooling over all the wonderful food I decided to take the first bus I saw and follow  it anywhere it went. I ended up at Elephant and Castle (already known as “poop stop” to our group…see the earlier post). I walked from poop stop to Borough Market. What a juxtaposition (and you know I love my juxtapositions) to Brixton. Brixton as a handful of ethno-tourists, but otherwise it is all locals. Borough was nearly all white, seemingly wealthy, and numerous out-of-towners. Whereas Brixton had makeshift kiosks in the middle of lanes and small streets selling DVDs, CDs, cheap clothing and food, Borough Market has posh permanent stalls with overpriced produce, lattes, and gourmet items. Don’t get me wrong, the kangaroo burger I had for lunch was nice, but I should have gone with the jerk chicken. I continued onto to the Thames Walk through Clink, past the even more touristy Globe to Tate Modern (clean bathrooms!) and on to the National Theatre. Here I came full circle. Reggae Magic put on a great free concert as part of the NT’s “Watch tThis Space” series. Except now instead of the beautiful black skin, dreadlocks, and ubiquitous Jamaica shirts (remember, Usain Bolt just won two gold medals and set two world records) at the NT we had a nearly all white crowd that included two pitiful Elvis impersonators (one missing most of his teeth); a half dozen guys in green afro wigs, orange face paint, and white jump suits; and tourists, tourists, and more tourists. The music was fantastic and I found myself smiling for an hour straight. A walk over Hungerford Bridge to Embankment led me back to the hotel.

Such is the beauty of London. A lot of different peoples and places, and there is always something new to try. Music and food just happen to be my obsessions.

Tags: Markets · Professor Qualls

The First Full Day

August 21st, 2009 · No Comments

London

Well…let us know what you thought. You have already travelled broadly across the city from your tube exercise yesterday to Greenwich today. What were your impressions of London before you arrived and have they changed or been challenged in the last 30 hours? I want to see you blogging at least every other day. Keep a notebook with you at all times to jot down ideas that you can make into a thoughtful post when you get back to your computer.

Tags: Professor Qualls

London!

August 15th, 2009 · No Comments

Watching Woodstock on BBC 4 (40th anniversary…Ritchie Havens, The Who, Hendrix…yeah baby!) and felt that I should tell you what I’ve been up to. I got to London yesterday and did a lot of grunt work like getting railcard applications for you and filling out applications for your Oyster cards (subway and bus passes). Today was fun though. I practiced my tour on the ruins of Londinium (Roman London) that we will end at the Museum of London. From there I walked through Canary Wharf, an area that used to be docks and shipyards. Twenty years ago it began development as a financial hub with skyscrapers for Citi, HSBC, and Barclays (which we will visit with a Trustee), among others. I walked under the Thames (yes…you read it right) to Greenwich and practiced that walking tour. I’m glad I did. I had never been to Greenwich before and found that the route I had devised was akin to climbing Everest. I decided to take it easy on you. I’m replanning the route with nearly all the same locations. While there I had to stop into a pub (The Spanish Galleon), get some bangers and mash (just the right amount of rosemary in the bangers, and the sweet onions in gravy were excellent. Washed it down with a pint of S. Africa’s finest (Bishop’s Finger) and watched Chelsea win in extra time. Have I told you how much I love my job! Walking from 08:30 to 18:00 leaves the calves a bit tight. I hope you are walking and bringing good, broken in shoes! I decided not to post photos today because I don’t want to spoil the novelty for you. I can only hope that the weather is as glorious next Friday when we go to Greenwich as a group and stand on the meridian line, from where all time is measured.

If you haven’t already, get an RSS feed for posts and comments. This will be particularly helpful once you all start blogging, which you will have to do at least every other day in London. Make sure to create a category with your name and add tags as appropriate.

Tags: Professor Qualls

Packing and Moving

July 16th, 2009 · 1 Comment

We’ll have to swap stories: Which is worse? Fitting one year of your life into two suitcases or packing up your house for two years and shipping all the family essentials? The packers came today and will be here tomorrow. Movers come on Monday to empty the house. We have (most of) our bags and boxes packed and we are waiting the empty house to start cleaning. What chaos here. But things are starting to feel real. Look for a post or email in the future regarding pdf readings. The college has the new blackboard-like site up, but our course is not yet “populated.” That is, I have the readings up, but you don’t have access yet. I’m working on this happening much sooner than the early August date they were planning.

Tags: Professor Qualls

Visa Process

July 2nd, 2009 · 14 Comments

Andrew has gotten confirmation that his visa has been approved! Congratulations. I just went for my biometrics in Baltimore. The staff there was great. I have to say that I have less positive things to say about World  Bridge, the phone bank that answers questions for the embassy. The person I spoke to seemed to have little knowledge of the biometric procedures. However, all went well. I’m just hoping that I filled everything out right on the application.

Let us know about your visa process. I know that there has been some confusion with the new rules and procedures this year. Neither UEA nor Dickinson had ever gone through the process under the new procedure and there was a problem with the initial letters for you. Fortunately, we found a helpful and kind person in the NY consulate who has helped us immensely. Hopefully, those of us who have to apply through Chicago and LA will have equally good results.

Make sure to get an RSS feed for new posts so that you can keep up on the musings of your classmates.

Tags: Bureucracy · Professor Qualls

London preparations

June 19th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Wow, what a busy couple of weeks. But what a joy it has been reading and, in some cases, re-reading good literature. My days have been filled mostly with trying to arrange for various events in London, get our home ready for our departure, finish up my duties on campus, and learn about my new duties in Norwich. But my evenings have frequently found me curled up in bed with Virginia Woolf, Buchi Emecheta, and Zadie Smith. I don’t think my wife minds sharing her bed with these women! 😉 I love ending the day reading a good novel, and I have not been disappointed with my selections so far. I hope that students enjoy these readings and find them as useful to understanding some parts of London as I have. I’m sure that you all will tell me eventually whether you like my selections or not.

Tags: Professor Qualls · readings

What's Ahead?!

April 23rd, 2009 · 25 Comments

The semester is not yet over, but you have already been thinking ahead to next year. Module selections are complete; orientation is over; lots of paperwork has been filled out. Now we await visas! But first, we have technology training sessions and a cookout at my house. Then you’ll go your separate ways and await a syllabus and LOTS of reading for the summer before you arrive in London on 20 August. So, tell us what you are expecting in London and Norwich. What do you most look forward to? What are you hoping to learn? What are you anxious about? What hobbies or interests do you hope to continue? What is something new that you hope to try? This is our opening for the blog, and the beginning of your  participation in our collective learning experience. I look forward  to a fun, exciting, and  EDUCATIONAL year ahead. Fasten your seatbelt; it is gonna happen fast!

Tags: Professor Qualls

What’s Ahead?!

April 23rd, 2009 · 25 Comments

The semester is not yet over, but you have already been thinking ahead to next year. Module selections are complete; orientation is over; lots of paperwork has been filled out. Now we await visas! But first, we have technology training sessions and a cookout at my house. Then you’ll go your separate ways and await a syllabus and LOTS of reading for the summer before you arrive in London on 20 August. So, tell us what you are expecting in London and Norwich. What do you most look forward to? What are you hoping to learn? What are you anxious about? What hobbies or interests do you hope to continue? What is something new that you hope to try? This is our opening for the blog, and the beginning of your  participation in our collective learning experience. I look forward  to a fun, exciting, and  EDUCATIONAL year ahead. Fasten your seatbelt; it is gonna happen fast!

Tags: Professor Qualls