The University of Oxford is the oldest in the English-speaking world, with instruction going back almost a thousand years, first recorded in 1096. It developed rapidly after 1167, when King Henry II, fearing competition, banned English students from the rival University of Paris. For the last 21 years the University of Chicago's Graham School has partnered with Oxford to offer an opportunity for Chicago alumni and friends to study for two weeks in an ancient center of scholarship.

Those who have studied and taught at Oxford include Sir Thomas More, William Tyndale, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Adam Smith as well as Jonathan Swift, J R R Tolkien, C S Lewis, V S Naipaul, Oscar Wilde, Iris Murdoch, and Aldous Huxley.  Stephen Beyer, Elena Kagan and Robert Penn Warren studied there. Scientist and poets include Stephen Hawking, Edwin Hubble, Edmund Halley, T S Eliot, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Donne. British Prime Ministers from Sir Robert Peel to David Cameron attended Oxford as well as Indira Gandhi, T. E. Lawrence and Cecil Rhodes. 

Oxford is home to the Bodleian Library – which has been a legal deposit library for 400 years. The Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world, having printed their first book in 1478, just two years after Caxton set up the first printing press in England. The Ashmolean, the University’s museum of art and archaeology was founded in 1683 while the Museum of Natural History has the world’s only soft tissue remains of a dodo.

A Fortnight in Oxford

Join us at the end of Trinity Term when classes are still in session in the “city of dreaming spires.” A Fortnight in Oxford dates are June 7 – 20, 2020. We will begin taking applications on Tuesday, October 15th.

Our days begin in small classes led by Oxford faculty; in the afternoons, we will explore all that Oxford has to offer, and engage in a series of lectures given by the University of Oxford faculty and invited guests. Free time activities include punting on the Thames, attending concerts and plays, and taking long walks in the many parks and gardens. We will travel to Stratford-upon-Avon for a lovely dinner overlooking the River Avon prior to a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company. 

Apply to A Fortnight in Oxford


Participants choose to attend one of the listed seminars. Each seminar has a limited number of seats available.

Twilight of the Gods: German Expressionism in Painting, Film, and Literature, 1919-1933

This course will review the new artistic form of ‘Expressionism’ that developed in Weimar Germany, in painting, film and literature. Both a response to the traumas of losing World War 1 and a reaction to a new form of urban society emerging in the early 20th century, expressionism shows subjective feelings distorting reality in uncanny and frightening ways. The filmmakers Robert Wiene, Fritz Lang, Josef Von Sternberg and FW Murnau were at the forefront of this trend. In their films, characters are harried through an unforgiving world, pursued by sinister forces that they can’t overcome. Their work expresses both their personal psychologies and the unresolved tensions in German society that will break out with the emergence of the Nazis in 1933.

Dr. Angus McFadzean is from Aberdeen, Scotland. He studied literature at Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, obtaining a DPhil in the novels of James Joyce at Wadham College, University of Oxford. He currently teaches undergraduates as a sessional tutor at various Oxford colleges and summer schools with Oxford University Department of Continuing Education.

Propaganda, Citizenship and the Nation in Weimar & Nazi Germany: ‘O Brave New World that has such people in it’

This course examines the role of propaganda and citizenship in interwar Germany, looking at how these themes framed and even shaped the evolution of the nation through this critical time. Beginning with an examination of the meanings of key ideological terms, we will discuss how an idealised notion of the ‘modern citizen’ was essential to both the rise of the Weimar Republic and its fall. From its very foundation its leaders sought to establish and promulgate their vision of a progressive democratic state with people at the heart of that process. Yet from the outset they did so in the face of multiple contestations of this vision from across the political spectrum, as we shall discover. These began with the radical Spartacist left, in the very earliest attempt to derail the democratic model before it had barely begun. Ultimately however it was the radical right of course which would deal the final blow, as Nazism too took its turn to define what it meant to be a ‘modern’ German.

Dr Kate Watson, Senior Associate Tutor, has taught for the Department for Continuing Education, and other university programmes for almost twenty years. She has lectured and published on a wide range of topics, focussed on the development of modern British and European History.