Berkeley Summer Abroad

London: Paganism: Classical and Modern

  • Summary

    Are you wondering what can replace Christianity with something other than market-place values? Classical Pagan literature may have a great deal to say to you, as will various modern attempts to recuperate those values. We have chosen London for this course because the British Museum, the National Gallery of art, and the Tate Museum of Modern art have probably the fullest presence in Western Europe of Greek art, of Renaissance attempts to merge the pagan and the Christian, and of modernist visual efforts to provide alternatives to Christian values. And all the museums are free. We will have field trips each Friday to one of these museums.

    • Explore England’s historic capital city, with its iconic landmarks including Westminster Abbey, the “Big Ben” clock tower and the London Eye observation wheel.
    • All Fridays will be devoted to field trips, mainly to various exhibits of the British Museum.
    • Live and study with other program students in centrally located apartments.

    Dates: July 1 - August 3, 2018
    Units: 6 units
    Language of Instruction: English
    Courses: Paganism: Classical and Modern

    At least one year of college coursework completed by the start of the program
    2.0 GPA or higher

    Application opens February 1, 2018
    Space is limited and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis
    Deadline to apply is March 9, 2018.

  • Courses

    During the program, you will take one course for a total of 6 Berkeley units.

    Course: English 180
    Title: Paganism: Classical and Modern
    Dates: July 1, 2018 – August 3, 2018
    Instructor: Charles Altieri
    Units: 6 units
    Prerequisites: None

    The central question this course addresses is how contemporary culture can survive the diminishing importance of Christianity without the spiritual rejection that prevails in modern models of scientific inquiry. By observing representative enactments of Greek paganism, we will test how writers from the 19th century to the present have adapted pagan concerns. Through close analysis of classical texts and the works of prominent Modernist poets, students will examine ways of reconciling a hierarchy among the gods with a diverse sense of various gods for various natural forces. We will consider the larger implications of humans not being created in the image of God, and instead, must rationalize their relative weaknesses in comparison to the gods. The classroom experience includes practical excursions to the British Museum to observe art created in the spirit of historical Paganism. We will also view paintings in the National Gallery that show how pagan motifs were adapted to Christianity during the Renaissance.

    You can fulfill the L&S International Studies breadth requirement by full participation in a Berkeley Summer Abroad program. All of the required courses must be completed with a C-/P or better.

    Summer Abroad staff will enroll you in courses after your acceptance to the program. Please make sure there are no active blocks on your student account that may impact your course enrollment.

  • Costs

    Tuition and Program Fee

    The fees to participate in this program are broken down into 1) tuition and 2) program fees

    2018 Fees UC Students Visiting Students
    Tuition $2,526 $3,300
    Program Fee $3,180 $3,180
    Total Cost $5,706 $6,480

    Fees are subject to change. All non-UC Berkeley students must pay an additional Document Management Fee of $55.


    Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses

    In addition to the fees outlined above, Berkeley Study Abroad has estimated costs for out-of-pocket expenses. These amounts are used to calculate financial aid packages for eligible students. Actual expenses will vary depending on your lifestyle and spending habits.

    Estimated Expenses Amount
    International Airfare and Transportation $1,500
    Additional Meals $638
    Books $222
    Personal Expenses (i.e. phone, passport, visa, etc.) $663
    Total Estimated Out-Of-Pocket Expenses $3,023


    Financial Aid

    Financial aid is available for Berkeley students who are enrolled in at least 6 units during the summer. All other students should contact the financial aid office at their home institution for more information.


    Explanation of Fees

    Tuition is based on a per unit cost:

    • The UC undergraduate student rate is $421 per unit
    • The visiting student rate for all non-UC participants is $550 per unit

    The program fee includes* the following items:

    • Student housing in a residence hostel with two meals/day
    • Students will be housed in shared accommodations with other program participants
    • On-site orientation activities including an introduction to the course and various excursions
    • Travel insurance to cover accident/sickness medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, security extraction, and other travel assistance services
    • •Other program-related costs including fees for group transportation, guest lecturers, museum admissions, etc.
    • The initial non-refundable deposit of $400, which is due at the time of application and is applied to the program fee

    *Please note that the list of items included in the program fee is not all-inclusive and is subject to change.

    The following items are excluded from the program fee:

    • International airfare
    • Personal expenses (souvenirs, routine medical expenses, toiletries, etc.)
    • Course materials (textbooks and readers)
    • Other travel expenses (passport, visa, etc.)
    • Additional meals
    • Commuting costs for daily travel to and from classes


  • Timeline
    Application opens February 1, 2018
    Application closes March 9, 2018
    Applicants notified of selection March 23, 2018
    Deadline to confirm participation or cancel for a refund of all program-related fees, minus $400 deposit April 6, 2018
    Attend pre-departure orientation* Late April-May
    First day of program July 1, 2018
    Last day of program August 3, 2018

    * These events take place on the UC Berkeley campus. If you are not on campus during this time, we will schedule a meeting via phone or Skype.

    All dates are subject to change.

  • Instructors

    Charles Altieri
    Program Director

    Charles Altieri has been teaching at the university level for almost fifty years. He is reasonably well-known for being a passionate and demanding teacher who is less interested in the conveying of information than in developing in students passionate attachments to at least some of the class materials. He is willing to labor to help students come to appreciate the tasks of thinking and of writing that go into the writing of persuasive and original papers.

    Charles is the author of at least ten books and 150 essays, some on classical materials but most on Modernist poetry and painting. His latest books are Wallace Stevens and Modernity (2013) and Reckoning with Imaginations: Wittgenstein and the Aesthetics of Literary Experience (2015). This course has become a new research topic that may lead to another book.