Study Abroad

Contact Dr. Mitchell about the deadline to signup for these experiences.

Landscapes of Switzerland

Landscapes of Creativity Switzerland & France:

This study abroad is being offered as an interdisciplinary course combining cultural landscape geography and English literature, focusing on Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron. Specifically, this course introduces students to the European Cultural Landscape after the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th Century and how  these are reflected Shelley’s descriptions of places she and Frankenstein’s Creature visit in Chamonix, France and Geneva Switzerland. These landscapes further inspired Percy Shelly and Lord Byron’s poetry and sonnets. The Shelleys (Mary and Percy) toured Europe for six weeks in 1816 once English citizens were able to visit war-torn Europe again. The Napoleonic post-war landscape is described in her subsequently published travel journal, and her experience is reflected in her classic text "Frankenstein". The Shelleys travelled by coach, by foot, and by barge through Europe. She describes the cultures and people they encounter, the weather, the landscapes, the towns, food, and more in her journal and her later novel. In the 200 years since she described these places and peoples, wars and politics have caused borders to shift and people and places to change. We will visit places described in these three writers’ works and compare their description with the current cultural and physical landscape. Places we will visit include Chamonix and Mont Blanc, Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, the Castle Chillon, Voltaire’s home and gardens, the Villa Diodati (where Frankenstein and other works were written), the United Nations and UNHCR, CERN, and more.

Course Description: 

This course will have two components. The first is a 1 credit course in the spring and on campus where students will read a selection of the writers works, such as Mary Shelley’s journal and Frankenstein, and more. Students will become grounded in cultural landscape geography through a selection of readings and lectures on the subject. The second component for three regional geography credits will be the travel abroad experience and student completion of a research project.  Research projects will be designed by individual students and will be completed on return to Radford. Posters, Papers, Videos, and other mediums are welcome. Possible topics could include documenting the shrinking of the Mer de Glace glacier on Mont Blanc, Evolution of cultures as reflected in the archeology and architecture of Geneva, Swiss and French foodways and food cultures, and more.

frankenstein handout 3

For More Information:

Dr. Christine Mitchell

208 Reed Hall



Sponsored by:

Radford University; McConnell Library; ARTIS College of Science and Technology; Geospatial Science Department; English Department