Languages, Literature, & Philosophy
Languages, Literature, & Philosophy Main Menu
LLP Course Descriptions
Fall 2014 Semester
Information on this page updates per semester.
These course descriptions are to be used as a guide for classes taught in the future Fall 2014 semester. Professors assigned to the courses have submitted a general outline of the course they will instruct. This course information will change according to the semester and professor teaching the course.
Medieval Philosophy and the Rise of Humanism
Professor: Dr. Julie Swanstrom
In this course, students will read philosophers from the medieval period, stretching roughly from 450-1560 CE, which includes late medieval philosophy and early Humanistic thought. Topics are representative of (early, high, and late) medieval philosophical concerns, including discussions of divine characteristics, the nature of the human person, the problem of universals, early scientific thought, and the budding of Humanist thought. Upon completing the course, students will be able to articulate several philosophical positions concerning each of the topic areas listed above. Assignments and readings have been selected that will help the student achieve the larger goal of recognizing the structure of arguments, articulating arguments, improving reading comprehension, and improving communication skills.
Readings: Augustine, Avicenna, Aquinas, Boethius, Duns Scotus, Gerson, Abelard, Ockham, Buridan, Pecham, and Machiavelli, among others.
Technology, Society, and Human Values
Professor: Dr. Erik Nordenhaug
The primary aims of the course are to acquaint the student with different ways of looking at familiar social realities, to stimulate reflection on personal and societal values, and think about societal futures. This, in a certain sense is the key to human intelligence: the difference between stupidity and intelligence being largely a matter of how many possibilities a person can see and think about relative to a given situation. The course will present challenging views of the nature and definition of “technology” because of its central role in these societal futures.
Controlling Technology, Katz, Light, Thompson, editors, ISBN: 978-1573929837
The Technological Society, Jacques Ellul, ISBN: 978-0394703909
Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, Neil Postman, ISBN: 978-0679745402
The Techno-Human Condition, Braden Allenby & Daniel Sarewitz, ISBN: 978-0262525251
Literature and Humanities
Professor: Dr. Thomas Cooksey
Sages, Moralists and Cynics:The Aphoristic Style
This course will look at a number of writers/thinkers who develop the art of the concise and pithy aphorism or apercu as a vehicle for insight, from an oral wisdom tradition to the philosophical essay. In addition to the required texts, there will be a number of supplementary handouts.
Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations (Penguin)
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary (Dover)
Chuang Tzu, The Book of Chuang Tzu (Penguin)
E.M. Cioran, A Short History of Decay (Arcade)
Michel de Montaigne, The Essays: A Selection (Penguin)
Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak (Cambridge)
Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Civil Disobedience (Signet)
King Arthur Across Cultures and Through the Ages
Professor: Dr. Carol Jamison
From the twelfth-century canonization of the medieval romance to modern novels and films with Arthurian themes,
the legends of King Arthur and his knights have mesmerized audiences. From what sources do these legends originate?
How do King Arthur and knights change to accommodate various cultural and historical influences? Did King Arthur exist?
Beyond entertainment, what social commentary is siphoned through Arthurian legend? These are just a few of the
questions we will consider this semester as we explore the legend of King Arthur.
We will study an assortment of modern and medieval texts from which we will trace the evolution of Arthurian legend.
(All Middle English and Old French texts will be read in translation or with normalized spelling.)
Before There Were Dementors – Evil and Monsters in Literature
Professor: Susan Thompson
This course will examine a variety of texts in order to experience how different writers address evil and monsters. Beginning with a vengeful dragon in Beowulf to more modern conversations about the evils of societies, ours is a wealthy literary tradition that addresses things that generate a fight or flight response in all of us. But sometimes, the things we fear the most are inside of us.
Freelance Writing and Publication
Professor: Dr. Nancy Remler
Please see the course catalog for a general description of the course, but it might also help you to know that this course will require you to conduct face to face interviews for all the articles you write in the class. Therefore, you should be prepared to get out of your comfort zone when contacting people to ask for interviews. Advanced planning will be necessary in this course, and you should be able to get about town in order to meet with the people you interview. You will be expected to reach beyond the boundaries of this campus. In addition, this class will include a number of editing assignments, so familiarity with the rules of standard English will be expected.
If you are not an English major and you are meeting a writing requirement for another program, such as economics, law and society, or information technology, keep in mind that this course is designed for English communications majors. It will give you much writing practice. At the same time, you will be required to exercise writing skills you might not have used in a long time. You're welcome to contact Dr. Remler if you have any questions
Literature of the Western World
Professor: Dr. Thomas Cooksey
This course will look at the Western Literary tradition from the perspective of continental Modernism. The Modernist tradition treats the Western literary tradition with a sense of irony, crisis, nostalgia, and loss. In his recent book, Living in the End Times, Marxist philosopher and theorist Slavoj Žižek argues that Modernism represents a cultural response to the perceived decline of High Capitalism, echoing the classical stages of grief described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Whether or not this is the case, the stages of grief provide a useful entrance into modernism.
(Crisis) Bela Bartok, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents
(Denial ) Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions
(Anger) Luigi Pirandello, Six Characters in Search of an Author
(Bargaining) Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
(Depression) Rainer Marie Rilke, Duino Elegies
(Acceptance) Marcel Proust, Overture and Combray from Swann in Love
Professor: Dr. Carol Jamison
In this course, students meet Chaucer’s pilgrims as they journey to Canterbury: the lascivious pardoner, the sexy nun, the pious clerk, the drunken miller, the lusty wife, and other “sundry folk.” By way of introduction, we will look at several of Chaucer's shorter poems, and then read most of The Canterbury Tales. Students will explore critical approaches to the Tales and learn to read Chaucer's texts in the original Middle English.
For more information, visit Dr. Jamison’s website, or visit her in Gamble 238 for “gladly wolde she lerne and gladly teche.”
20th Century British Poetry and Prose
Professor: Dr. Hans-Georg Erney
Topic: THIS IS ENGLAND
If Scotland and Wales leave the United Kingdom, what is left of England? In an age of globalization, postcolonial immigration, British devolution and European integration, the concept of Englishness is increasingly elusive. We will embark on a search for English identity in this course, examining a number of approaches to defining and redefining the original green and pleasant land.
Readings: (by Kazuo Ishiguro, Peter Ackroyd, Adam Thorpe, Tim Parks, Julian Barnes, and Andrea Levy), essays (by E. M. Forster, George Orwell, George Mikes, John Fowles, Salman Rushdie, and Hanif Kureishi), poetry (by Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin), and a play (by Jez Butterworth).
Modern and Contemporary
Professor: Dr. Richard Bryan
Exploration of social, historical, and theoretical contexts of dramatic literature from 1880 to the present.
Just prior to the advent of the twentieth century, the highly sentimental and conventional (even predictable) forms of theater that had predominated during the nineteenth century began to give way to what would become an explosion of innovation and variety. The modern theater came to be marked by its earnest attendance to contemporary concerns, its incorporation of new ideas and ideologies, and its exploration of original modes of presentation. This proliferation of topics and techniques continued throughout the twentieth century and into the next. English 5630 will examine some of the most noteworthy plays, key literary movements, and influential practitioners of modern and contemporary drama.
History of Film
Professor: Dr. Hollinger
The class introduces students to the development of film from the silent period to the present. It will involve film screenings and discussion of major films from various decades of film history. Screenings will tentatively include The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, It Happened One Night, Singin’ in the Rain, and Raise the Red Lantern. We will examine different genres of film including horror, comedy, musicals, and dramas. Both U.S. and international cinema will be examined.
Jeffrey Geiger and R.L. Rutsky. Film Analysis: A Norton Reader 2nd Edition
Wheeler Winston Dixon and Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. A Short History of Film, 2nd Edition
Television Criticism and Theory
Professor: Dr. Hollinger
The class is an introduction to television criticism and scholarship. We will discuss television genres, history, and stylistic features as well as representations of masculinity, femininity, class, and gender.
Jason Mittel. Television and American Culture.
Cory Geeber. The Television Genre Book, 2nd Edition.
Sarah Nilson. The Color Blind Screen: Television in Post-Racial America
Amanda Lotz. Cable Guys: Television and Masculinities in the 21st Century