Summer I (May 31 – July 13, 2017)
No classes, 7/3, 7/4
Last day to withdraw: 6/20/2017
LS650.401: The Absurd in Life and Literature
This course traces the concept of absurdity from first principles to modern postulates.
The first principles are assembled from writers as diverse as Kierkegaard, Freud, Camus, and Kafka. The modern postulates include the notion of an absurd hero (or antihero) in modern fiction and absurd tragedy (or tragic farce), called Theater of the Absurd. Writers studied include Edward Albee, Paul Bowles, Michael Chabon, and John Irving.
The course will run as a graduate seminar in which the main goal will be to find a workable definition of the absurd in literature. The term “absurd” is often used derisively to describe something which ought to be dismissed, yet the absurd as a mode of thought has become one of the most influential elements of modern (and post-modern) literature. Collectively and individually the group will undertake a voyage of discovery to determine the philosophical roots of the concept of absurdity and its manifestation in contemporary literature and film. We will work with the source material, looking first at the European thinkers and writers from which the ideal first sprang and following subsequent developments in the work of contemporary American writers. The works to be read will include writers as diverse as Kierkegaard, Camus, and Albee. The works themselves will vary from Kafka’s Trial to Irving’s Ciderhouse Rules. Students will be challenged to examine a complex issue critically and express themselves effectively in written work, classroom discussion, and presentations.
Dr. Steven Burr, Monday and Wednesday, 6:00–9:00 p.m. [5/31–7/12, no class, 7/3]. (Thematic)
Required of all students in their first semester; open to others by permission only
LS614.501: Work at America: Local & Global Perspectives
From farm to factory to fiber optics, the meaning of "work" has been central to the American experience. Shifting to industrial and then to post-industrial eras raises questions not just about business and economics, but about forces transforming society and the individual's place in it.
This course considers a range of political, economic, social, and personal issues of America in a changing world—from industrialization to de-industrialization and globalization; from the "service economy" to the "gig economy;" and competing views about the future of work.
We'll approach America at Work from a range of perspectives and sources— scholarly work as well as excerpts from film, theatre, and literature. Your responses to all of these will include some usual university-level approaches and more unusual ones.
Dr. James Quirk, Tuesday and Thursday hybrid, 6:00–9:00 p.m. [6/1–7/13, no class, 7/4], face-to-face meetings, 6/1, 6/15, 6/29, 7/11. (Historical),
Summer II (July 17 – August 24, 2017)
Last day to withdraw: 8/3/2017
LS629.401: Black America: From slave narratives to hip hop
This course connects the history, literature, and the arts of African Americans to survey the African-American experience. Through close readings of both canonical and non-canonical writers, analyzing political movements and discussing recurring themes, students will engage with the rich culture of the African-American community. The authors read will range from Douglass to Baldwin to Tupac. The movements will include slave revolts, American Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the American Civil Rights Movement, Black Power, Hurricane Katrina, and current events. Both writers and events will be viewed from the vantage point of the Great Migration, the significance of art and music, racial violence, and the fight for equal rights for all races.
Students will draw upon primary sources (film, print, and other art mediums) and scholarly articles and YouTube videos to assist discussions. Graded work will include projects, essays, participation, and a final poster project.
Mr. J. Michael Powell, Tuesday and Thursday, 6:00–9:00 p.m., 7/18–8/24. (Historical)
LS684.601: All is Fair in Love and War: A Survey of Women’s Texts from 900– 2012
The adage “all is fair in love and war” connotes a strategic iciness in two of humanity’s most commonly held experiences; it also betrays a disconcerting equation of humanity’s capacities for love and violence. This class focuses on texts, mostly by women from Europe and America, broadly related to the ideas and experiences of love and war as well as issues of race, history, and political activism. We will discuss both canonical and non-traditional texts, among them novels, poems, short stories, memoirs, academic articles/works, journalism, films, and music. This course emphasizes how these texts represent gender, how literature contributes to identity-formation, and how women have used the written word to change their social and imaginative conditions. This course is taught from a feminist perspective.
Dr. Patrick Brugh, Monday and Wednesday hybrid, 6:00–9:00 [7/17–8/24], face-to-face meetings, 7/17, 7/19, 8/9, 7/24, 7/26, 8/21, 8/23. (Creative)