A four-week NEH Summer Seminar for School Teachers.


July 3-29, 2016.


Hosted by the Dickens Project at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


Directed by Marty Gould, Associate Professor of English, University of South Florida.


Application deadline: 1 March 2016.

Dickens NEH: Dickens in His Study
Dickens NEH: Dickens in His Study

Dickens in his study.

Dickens NEH: Victorian Factory Town
Dickens NEH: Victorian Factory Town

Widnes, England. Wikimedia image.

Dickens NEH: UC Santa Cruz
Dickens NEH: UC Santa Cruz

Campus of the Univ. of California at Santa Cruz, home of the Dickens Project.

Dickens NEH: Dickens in His Study
Dickens NEH: Dickens in His Study

Dickens in his study.


Taking an interdisciplinary, cultural-studies approach to literature, this NEH summer seminar considers Hard Times and A Tale of Two Cities in relation to historical events & contemporary concerns, literary influences & modern adaptations, Victorian social theory & current critical trends.


We will explore historical and literary texts, critical theory, Victorian periodicals, and literary adaptations as we consider how Dickens—and literature more generally—can promote cultural literacy while developing the ethical and political perspectives students need to fully engage with contemporary social issues. 

The seminar engages ideas relevant for teachers across a wide range of disciplines.

Our Texts

The seminar is constructed around two core texts: Hard Times and A Tale of Two Cities. These are novels that engage with history, social unrest, and community value--issues as relevant today as they were in Dickens's time.


Appearing in the wake of the Indian "Mutiny," A Tale of Two Cities is a novel about revolution. It interrogates violence and terrorism as political tools, and it poses important questions about law, self-sacrifice, and the common good.


An industrial novel, Hard Times explores labor and collective social action, highlighting the relationship between the individual and the community. It also takes up issues of education and utilitarian philosophies.


This four-week seminar is hosted by the Dickens Project and takes place at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The sprawling campus is set within the redwoods overlooking the Pacific ocean.


Santa Cruz is a lovely beach community located approximately 80 miles south of San Francisco. The local area teems with cultural and recreational opportunities, including Santa Cruz’s annual summer Shakespeare festival. Other nearby delights include the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Monterey Bay Aquarium. San Francisco, San Jose, and the Napa Valley are also within easy reach by car or bus for weekend excursions. 



The Dickens seminar is designed for K-12 teachers.We welcome applications from teachers across the disciplines, from English and History to Government, Journalism, Theatre, and the Arts.


Full eligibility criteria are available at the NEH site.


A complete application consists of

  1. the completed application cover sheet (submitted online at the NEH website)

  2. a résumé or brief professional biography

  3. contact information for two professional references, and

  4. an application essay.


Applications may be submitted online, via email, or snail mail.


Apply by 1 March, 2016.

Download, print, tweet, email, and variously share the seminar flyer. Let teachers know what the seminar is all about. 

Have questions about the seminar? Need further information? Send an email to the Director, Marty Gould.

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Ready to apply? Click here to access the online application portal.