Harvard Summer Program in Cambridge, England

Notice: The Cambridge program is not running in 2014, but will run again in 2015. See our study abroad programs running this summer.

A program on nineteenth-century science and religion

Faculty: Anne Harrington and John Durant

“Oxford gave the world marmalade and a manner, Cambridge science and a sausage.”

— Nineteenth century, source unknown

Situated in a beautiful medieval university, and punctuated by two extended field trips, this eight-week program offers students an opportunity to immerse themselves in some of the most important debates about the interrelationships between science, medicine, and religion in the nineteenth century. An encounter with the Jurassic-era coastline of Dorset, discovering fossils, a tour of sacred and secular Belle Epoque Paris, and a visit to the nineteenth-century healing shrine of Lourdes all serve to bring the material to life.

Historically, there could hardly be a more appropriate setting for this program. Cambridge can lay claim to being the cradle of English science, producing the likes of Isaac Newton, William Harvey, and Charles Darwin. In the nineteenth century, the University of Cambridge also had one of the most eminent and active theology faculties in the world. As a result, Cambridge was deeply embroiled in most of the debates about science and religion. And the University and its colleges possess archives that are particularly rich in these areas.

Beyond the work of the course, students will be given ample opportunities to become intimate with the history, culture, and countryside of Cambridge. They will live in a traditional Cambridge college. They will be encouraged to rent bicycles for the duration of the course, and we will set a series of “challenge explorations” to local sites of historical interest. Time will also be carved out for group trips to classic Cambridge experiences like Shakespeare in the college gardens, Evensong in Kings College Chapel, punting on the Cam, and tea in a romantic orchard frequented by the likes of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, and Virginia Woolf.