British Studies Program receives new chairman

By By Jed Layton

By Jed Layton

When meeting the new British Studies chairman, one might expect the most noticeable feature to be a British accent. Since he lacks one, however, Vincent Pecora’s large collection of British books is the only clue to his love of all things British.

In his new position, Pecora is responsible for overseeing the expansion of the new British Studies Program at the U.

In a written statement, College of Humanities Dean Robert Newman expressed his excitement about bringing a nationally recognized scholar to the U.

“Vincent Pecora brings strong interdisciplinary credentials in modernism that will build model programs in the expansive and cross-hatched field of British Studies,” Newman said.

Pecora is not only running the British Studies program-he is also teaching in it.

Jason Jorgensen, a student enrolled in Pecora’s graduate class, Twentieth Century British Writers, said he was looking forward to the class.

“Pecora seems to be a specialist in the authors being taught,” Jorgensen said.

Before teaching at UCLA, Pecora studied American literature at Brown University and earned a doctorate at Columbia University.

Pecora is excited about his position and hopes he can move the program forward.

“Anytime that you can get in on the ground floor of something it is wonderful,” Pecora said. “To me this is an opportunity to shape something new and to play a very elementary role in inventing a curriculum and new modes of teaching.”

Heading up the British Studies Program would be a daunting task for anyone, but Pecora can’t wait to get started. He realizes it will take a lot of work.

“Making something like a British Studies Program fly is a long-term project,” Pecora said. “It involves pulling diverse strands of the university community.”

Pecora plans on forming a committee later this fall, which he hopes will steer the program in the direction of becoming a major or minor. The committee will look at other successful British Studies programs around the country. Then the committee will decide which elements to adopt.

Pecora hopes the British Studies Program will be an interdisciplinary program allowing students to explore other fields in addition to British literature.

“This can’t be a program that is just a sub-set of the English department,” Pecora said. “It must be something that involves historians, anthropologists, sociologists, musicians and art historians.”

Pecora hopes the program will be broad in its geographical as well as thematic structure. Instead of just learning about the British Isles, Pecora wants students to learn about the effects of the former British empire all over the globe.

“My goal in the end is to have students spend time in Hong Kong or Shanghai,” Pecora said.

“Students could even spend some time learning about and being in the Middle East,” he said.

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