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Introduces students to forms of narrative from different historical, geographical, and cultural contexts in different media in order to explore how narrative, as cognitive tool and form of representation, functions as a means of understanding human experience. Students learn to analyze and interpret narratives and improve critical thinking, the practice of close reading, and written and verbal communication. Serves to introduce students to the types of questions and methods of interpretation encountered in Humanities.
How do we see, what do we consider worth looking at, how does this shape culture? What do visual media do to/for us and how do we endow them with meaning? This class probes such questions using a range of visual media including visual art, film, music videos, and social media. With the help of theoretical, scholarly, and popular sources, students analyze examples of visual culture and articulate their responses to the issues raised.
Introduces students to concepts of culture, history, and civilization as sites of conflict across different historical times and geographical locations. Course materials address political and artistic questions that intersect across different ages through their different histories and guiding concepts. Students will learn to read and understand critical, historical, political, and artistic works. Emphasis will be placed on developing critical thinking, close reading, and the ability to articulate and develop issues in writing and verbally.
Provides a transition from the introductory courses to the upper-division courses. The goal of this course is to introduce Humanities majors and minors to a rich range of interdisciplinary interpretive strategies and theories and to apply those strategies to a broad selection of cultural products. The “methods and approaches” in the course title points toward this process: we will look at different methods of interpretation and different ways that particular lenses or theories might inform our acts of interpretation. By taking this course, you will gain an understanding of some of the key developments and perspectives that inform studies in the Humanities and you will put those methods and theories into practice. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.
Explores the literary and critical significance of lyric poetry in the modern age. Begins with the modern turn of poetry in Romanticism, in particular, Wordsworth and Shelley, then works through the poetry of Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Dickinson, Yeats, Hughes, Celan, Bachmann, Bishop, Sexton, Attridge, Adonis, and Hill. Will also include critical material on the concept of “modern” poetry.
Examines the ways in which the rise of modern medicine fueled the literary imagination with a new focus, new patterns of perception and potent metaphors. Through a study of various works of fiction, critical theory and medical history, the course traces how medical discoveries and the increasing professionalization of medicine manifested itself in modern literature.
This course will examine narrative as a central form of representation in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by analyzing the effects of form on how we understand and represent our world. Two questions will guide this examination: “what kind of relation (if any) is there between narratives and reality (or ‘life’)?” (posed by Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan); and, “what kind of notion of reality authorizes construction of a narrative account of reality?” (posed by Hayden White). With the aid of different theories of narrative, we will attempt to answer these questions by closely analyzing how narrative form represents and informs perception and experience as well as how this has changed throughout the past century. Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.
Game Studies introduces basic media literacy by exploring the aesthetic and cultural principles behind the use and creation of one of (if not the) largest cultural forms of modern media. As 60% of all Americans play video games daily, and the industry itself surpasses cinema as the global games market reached 148.8 billion, it is wise for us to be able to read and critique such a massive part of our culture. This class will explore the specific theories associated with the media of gaming as well as dive deeply into several aspects unique to gaming (the avatar, the Dungeons and Dragons live stream, etc.).
Examines the art of travel: not where to go and what to do, but rather philosophical concepts about why people travel. Areas of discussion will include exploration, discovery, escape, pilgrimage, the grand tour, expatriotism, exile, nomadism, armchair travel, and the sense of home. Materials will include books by travel writers, novels, films, essays, short stories, art, music, and historical documents.Approved for A&S Gen. Ed. distribution: Arts and Humanities.
This course examines women’s depictions of space, confinement, and liberation in literature, art, and film. Women’s artistic productions have long sought to conceptualize, expose, and subvert the ways that gender and power relations are inscribed into the spaces they inhabit. Together, we will trace the rich history of these visions of spaces (physical, geographical, psychological, and imagined) and explore their relationship to gender, subjectivity, power, and creativity.
Over the course of the semester, we will consider how representations of the traditional places assigned to women are used to comment on the physical, intellectual, economic, and religious boundaries erected by these spaces. Most notably, we will examine how the home, sometimes painted as a valuable and meaningful source of identity, also represents male dominance and female subjugation.
Social violence affects us all, and the most vulnerable are affected the most profoundly by these “savage inequalities.” But we can change our society and also ourselves in ways that can bring help and hope for everyone. In this seminar we will use the insights of both great literature and social science to bring light to the sources of darkness in our schools, our mass incarceration, our immigration policies, and the wars on drugs and disease that too often have effects more like a war on the poor.
As we discover the surprising and successful solutions that the media neglects to tell us, we will also consider the best ways to cure the personal consequences of living with the kind of stresses that have led to all-times highs in depression and anxiety. The good news from neuroscience is that we have astonishing capacities for health and happiness, from mindfulness to the immune system, just waiting to rescue and restore us in the very process of trying to help others.
Through our contact with great authors and films as well as each other this seminar will explore intriguing possibilities that promise to be as transformative as they are heartening and sometimes even humorous.
There is also the option (not a requirement) for one to three hours of extra credit by doing service work in the community, since that kind of the personal experience helps us to understand the class materials—and our culture overall—more deeply.
The class texts include Angels in America, The Bluest Eye, Bliss Brain, Tattoos on the Heart, Freedom Writers’ Diary, Savage Inequalities, Gandhi the Man and Tortilla Curtain.