When I think of London, certain iconic images come to mind: Big Ben, a double-decker bus, a red telephone booth. These images, though they are undoubtedly representative of London, only scratch the surface of what London actually is, and it is only through my experience in the FIG, Historical Representations of London, that I learned the importance of delving deeper to discover the true scope of London’s history.
Although these images are important, our studies did not focus on the expected facets of London life: rather, we often explored the darker, less picturesque aspects of London that cut through the tourist traps and present the unpleasant realities of any big, cultural, metropolitan city. From conversations about the mysterious Jack the Ripper to dialogue about Swinging London to discussions pertaining to artistic representations of fallen women on the shores of the Thames, my previously idealistic view of London began to change into a more cultured perspective. Rather than making me less enchanted by the idea of London, the topics covered in this seminar have made London a place I will surely visit with newly refined eyes and a deeper appreciation for the sites I see. Although I can not disregard the iconic images of London, I can also now truly appreciate the historical significance of the less emblematic attributes London has to offer.