Weekend Away Opportunities

The Researching Queer Britain program will present students and community stakeholders with a unique chance to research the legacy of the LGBTQ culture and legislation that spans thousands of years, and has directly impacted LGBTQ rights and cultural understanding of sexuality on a global level.  

This course brings students to London and Belfast for one week each, in order to explore important locations and interact with leading scholars and activists. A primary focus of this class will be learning video-based field research methodologies, culminating in students conducting oral history interviews in both London and Belfast.

In 1533, King Henry the VIII found time between executing wives to implement the Buggery Act, which punished male/male sexual contact with death. Variations of laws penalizing same-sex sexuality by death continued until 1861, when the death penalty for buggery was abolished, although same-sex behavior remained criminal until 1967. Despite criminalization, significant LGBTQ culture thrived, especially in London, where Oscar Wilde was famously tried for his relationship with poet Lord Alfred Douglas, and where Virginia Woolf, W.H. Auden and other queer writers and artists lived. In 2006, the Equality Act passed, making discrimination against LGBTQ people illegal, protection that does not exist in the United States.

The course will explore British LGBTQ culture and history, led by Kent State LGBTQ Studies faculty and connecting with faculty from Goldsmiths London (which has the first and only graduate degree in Queer History), the founder of Queer Britain (the UK national LGBTQ history museum), and leadership from Outing the Past (the UK’s LGBTQ History Month initiative). The first week of the class will be held in Kent, where students will learn the basic frameworks of queer history and qualitative field methods. From there, the class will travel to London where internationally famous scholars and activists will lecture, and a private LGBTQ London walking tour will be provided, ending in the LGBTQ neighborhood of Soho, so that students can experience contemporary queer culture. Students will engage in supervised research activities while learning about the new national LGBTQ Museum. In addition to visiting LGBTQ landmarks, students will visit the Queen’s House and other Greenwich locations, to learn more about how Victorian expansionism exported anti-LGBTQ laws globally. They will also get to savor a royal tea at the Oscar Wilde lounge at Hotel Royal Café, so named because of the location’s importance to the relationship between Wilde and Lord Douglas.

After five days in London, the class will travel by plane to Belfast, the beautiful capital city of Northern Ireland. Famously known for being the birthplace of the Titanic, it also was the largest producer of linen in the world. In the 1970s and 1980s, Belfast was one of the most dangerous cities in the world due to the Troubles, the political and nationalistic conflict that was settled with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Today Belfast is one of the safest cities in the world. To learn about this history, students will have a private tour of many of the important sites of the Troubles, including the famous murals, and will visit two local museums. The class will learn about Northern Ireland’s LGBTQ history and community in a private panel discussion organized by Cara-Friend, the oldest LGBTQ advocacy organization in the country.

While in Belfast, students will conduct guided original research, conducting video-based oral history interviews that will become part of both the Queer Britain collection and the Cara-Friend archives. After five days of engaged research and activities in Belfast, the trip will end with a farewell dinner at the famous Merchant Hotel, followed by a flight the next morning to London Heathrow, from which students can either return home or visit more of Europe.

This program is open to Kent State and non-Kent State students, as well as community stakeholders. Non-KSU students/community stakeholders will be required to apply to the university as a guest student and enroll in a 1-credit-hour course, in addition to the program fee associated with this course. 

United Kingdom: Researching Queer Britain - summer 2020

3 credit hours; AS 30195

Tentative Program dates: May 14-June 3, 2020
Professor: Dr. Molly Merryman 

Cost Breakdown

Cost Description


Pay To

Online Application Fee



GeoBlue Health Insurance






Program Fee1



Estimated Total Cost



1Program fee includes: Accommodation, In-Country Transportation, Museum Entrance and Activity Fees, Visa and some meals
2 This total does not include airfare, tuition, or vaccinations. Information for summer tuition rates can be found on the Tuition Rates Page.
*Estimated Personal Cost (Not Included): Airfare (~$1,500), Passport ($135), and spending money (~$250)
**Final program fee subject to change; Updated June 10, 2019.


Application will open Aug. 1, 2019.

Application deadline: Dec. 1, 2019
Acceptance: Dec. 15, 2019
Non-Refundable Deposit: $500.00 | Dec. 15, 2019
First payment due (half)**: $1,318.68 | Jan. 20, 2020 
Second payment due (half): $1,318.67 | Feb. 20, 2020

*Payments are to be made online through the program website. You may start your payments immediately upon acceptance on this program. There are no exceptions for late payments and failure to make a payment by the deadline will result in forfeiting your seat on the program.
**This program is offered during May Intersession. For students seeking to use summer financial aid, please be aware that the funds will not be dispersed until approximately 10 days prior to the start of Summer I, and will not be available at your payment deadlines. Summer financial aid may have additional requirements, please see Financial Aid's website for more details. If you receive financial aid for the fall and spring semester, contact Alana Thompson, Assistant Director of Student Financial Aid at abaudo@kent.edu to discuss your additional options


Health and Wellness

Please check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website for health information regarding the United Kingdom. 

Contact Information

Dr. Molly Merryman | mmerryma@kent.edu 
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality 

Alyssa Mazey | amazey2@kent.edu
Assistant Director, International Programs and Education Abroad