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MW 3:00-4:15 PM
WHAT IS CULTURE? This introductory course (no previous experience with cultural studies is necessary) attempts to answer this question by examining the various definitions of culture in the context of the production of cultural meaning and identities in the era of globalization. We'll discuss the way we live and communicate by looking at the underlying ideologies, the assumptions that regulate our thinking and behavior, and the manner in which these assumptions are shaped, produced and communicated through print media and various art forms including literature, popular culture (music, TV, films, advertisements, and so on). The course will provide theoretical tools and methodologies that enable you to understand and to analyze cultural phenomena. LIVELY DISCUSSIONS IN CLASS!
VISITING IRISH HEIMBOLD PROFESSOR
W 4:30-7:00 PM
TR 2:30-3:45 PM
The figure of William Shakespeare is at once a product of his specific historical context and a continuously-reproduced cultural icon. More than four hundred years after he wrote the plays that earned him his preeminent position in western letters, Shakespeare continues to be repurposed and regenerated in academic study, theatrical productions, popular culture, authorship debates, and a thriving British Shakespeare-tourism industry. This class studies the works of Shakespeare in these multiple contexts. We will read Shakespeare’s poems and plays in relation to those of his contemporaries. We will study current academic scholarship alongside not-so-academic conspiracy theory to consider what’s at stake in ongoing conversations about Shakespeare’s genius and authorship. And we will travel to England for Spring Break to learn about Shakespearean theatre spaces, performance practices, and heritage. Our courses of study at London’s Globe Theatre and Stratford-upon-Avon’s Royal Shakespeare Theatres and Shakespeare Institute will provide exceptional opportunities to experience Shakespeare’s art. In our reading and travels, we will meet with different—and sometimes competing—claims about who Shakespeare was, what it means to perform Shakespeare, and what role the world of Elizabethan England plays in his works. These encounters will open up provocative questions about how the figure of Shakespeare functions as an access point to a distant past and an avatar of our own cultural values.
The required Spring Break trip will depart on Saturday, March 1, 2015, and return on Saturday, March 7. We will spend three days in London, a day in Oxford, and two days in Stratford-upon-Avon. Our itinerary includes: four plays; guided tours of the Globe Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Theatres (RST), and Hampton Court Palace; a guided Shakespeare walking tour of London; visits to Shakespeare’s birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s cottage in Stratford; performance workshops at the Globe, RST, and Shakespeare Institute; and pre-show and post-show talks with RST actors. The cost of the trip will be approximately $2600; this includes airfare, lodging, ground transportation, some meals, and all scheduled events. A non-refundable deposit of $450 will be due within two weeks of registration. Assignments for the course include a travelogue, a term paper, and a group performance project (acting not necessarily required). If you have questions or would like the full itinerary, contact Dr. Alice Dailey (firstname.lastname@example.org).
VISITING IRISH HEIMBOLD PROFESSOR CLAIRE KILROY
TR 10:00-11:15 AM
This course will look at some key Irish texts in which writers have tackled difficult emotions such as guilt, regret, shame and confusion. We will look at the narrative agency through which they address these uncomfortable home truths – specifically, the role of first person narrators and the use of the rueful past tense. We will consider the importance of writing itself as a cathartic act. We will be unable to avoid discussing the preponderance of black humour in Irish writing, as well as the cavalier attitudes occasionally displayed towards the truth. Where applicable, we will examine the national circumstances out of which certain texts arose. The works we will read include Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, James Joyce’s Giacomo Joyce, Frank O’Connor’s First Confession, Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy, John Banville’s The Book of Evidence and Athena, The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright, and The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry. 3.00 credits. Counts toward the Irish Studies Minor.
LISA SEWELL AND ALAN DREW
TR 4:00-5:15 PM
Authors on and off the Page
If you are a writer, a fan of contemporary writing, or interested in how authors get published, this is the course for you. We will read the work of five cutting-edge, award-winning writers: National Book Award winning novelist, James McBride, fiction writer and MacArthur Fellow, Jay Cantor, Fiction writer Claire Kilroy, poet Bruce Smith, and another poet to be named at a later date. Each author will give a reading as part of the 15th Annual Villanova Literary Festival, and they will also visit our class.
In addition to providing the opportunity to explore issues that are central to contemporary poetry and fiction, the course puts you in direct contact with the authors: You will have the chance to ask them about their work, their writing process, and the nuts and bolts of getting published. It is a great opportunity to explore an interest in contemporary literature, creative writing or even the publishing industry.
Students will also have a chance to explore their own creative impulses by working on their own poetry and prose. While we will primarily focus on the work of our visiting writers, all members of the class will produce at least one creative writing project. This class is a seminar, and class sessions will be run as a discussion; students will be expected to contribute their own thoughts and responses to the work. Course requirements include: regular participation in class discussions, two critical essays (one on poetry and one on prose), and one creative project. In addition to attending class, students will be expected to attend the evening readings, which will take place at 7 pm on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
TR 10:00-11:15 AM
To be "radical" means "to go to the roots." In this course, we will explore what it has meant to go to the roots of social and political life, especially in the modern world where self-consciously "radical" movements -- of the "left" and the "right" -- have emerged over the last two centuries. What are the roots of politics? What is "politics," after all? What do we mean by "revolution," "reform," or "reaction"? Are varieties of "radicalism" -- not long ago consigned to the dustbin of history -- re-appearing in our turbulent age? Does the traditional "left-right" axis make sense any longer? Ideas and movements examined will include socialism, communism, anarchism, feminism, fascism, and Islamism.
CHIJI AKOMA AND OLUKUNLE OWOLABI
TR 1:00-2:15 PM
Art and history are political. Indeed, they are more political than we care to acknowledge. The political and economic realities in modern Africa and the Caribbean are not only formed by contemporary structures of governance and global economic forces, but the peculiar histories of slavery and colonialism in these two regions of the world have combined to impact their postcolonial conditions. This team-taught course is a multi-disciplinary endeavor that uses theoretical, conceptual, and empirical knowledge from history, development economics, and political science, to explore the rich and diverse literary traditions of contemporary Africa and its large diaspora in the Caribbean Region. The course not only looks into the political dysfunctions that follow the dark histories of these postcolonial territories, but it also seeks to offer our students theoretical and aesthetic tools with which to appreciate the interface between the political and the cultural.
The first half of the course will be primarily focused on Africa. We will examine how the interaction of European-dominated states and African societies resulted in distorted views of tradition and modernity, contributing to neo-patrimonial forms of governance in postcolonial Africa. We explore this theme through the lens of political theory and literature. The second half of the course turns its focus on the Caribbean, exploring dependency and underdevelopment, as well as the interactions among class, race, and ethnicity in Trinidad, the most culturally diverse of all the Caribbean islands. Along the lines of the latter, we will examine Earl Lovelace’s novel, The Dragon Can’t Dance, to consider the centrality of Carnival in Caribbean consciousness, not simply as a cultural expression, but as the prism through which the complexities of race, ethnicity, and class as powerful factors in West Indian civil society are best understood.
PETER WICKS AND MARY HIRSCHFELD
TR 11:30 AM-12:45 PM
Our economic life raises a number of important ethical questions: At what point does economic inequality become unjust? Are there moral limits on what may be bought and sold? Is a thing's price always a sign of its value, and if not how can its value be determined? Economic theory increasingly influences the way in which we think about rational choice and human welfare, but does the economic approach to human behavior illuminate or obscure the true nature of the decisions we face? In this interdisciplinary, team-taught course we will examine some of the most fundamental questions at the intersection of economic theory, moral philosophy and theology.
KATHRYN GETEK SOLTIS
MW 1:30-2:45 PM
What is true justice and to what extent does our criminal justice system implement it? This course begins by engaging Scripture and classic theological voices in an attempt to reconcile divine justice with punishment, atonement, and notions of damnation/salvation. After also examining key ethical theories of justice and punishment, we examine the realities of criminal justice in America. Our focus on current practices in sentencing and corrections will include the war on drugs, solitary confinement, life without parole, re-entry, education in prisons, and the intersection of criminal justice with race and class. Ultimately, how might theological and ethical approaches to justice inform (and reform) our courts and prisons?
**This course includes an optional service-learning component to tutor those involved in the criminal justice system. Locations of tutoring for Spring 2015 are being finalized. Options in the past have included Graterford Prison and Sisters Returning Home in Germantown.
ATTRIBUTES: Criminal Justice, Ethics, Honors, Humanities, Core Theology, Diversity 1, Peace & Justice
TR 11:30 AM-12:45 PM
This seminar will examine American culture through the lens of its national pastime - baseball. We will explore the politics of race, citizenship, gender, labor, public and private space, popular culture and advertising, among others, as we ask what baseball represents, what it should represent, and how it relates to justice. How might baseball and the ideals of the American dream correlate? How do they fall short? What does baseball reveal about our national identity? Our values? Our ethics? Through literature, film, and essays, we will examine baseball as an agent of socialization, a source of economics, a construction of masculinity, a powerful generational connection, and as a transmitter of rhetoric and culture. In critiquing its failings and celebrating its efficacy, we will investigate how baseball continues to be an important component of American society.
TR 1:00-2:15 PM
Examination of scholarship addressing the structure, function, & manifestations of "whiteness," primarily in U.S. culture, & its relationship to issues of diversity. Topics also include white supremacy, white identity, & the future of critical white studies.
TR 1:00-2:15 PM
To explore the tenuous differences and fecund affinities between literature and philosophy, we will take as our main theme the self, its capacity for story-telling, and the impossibility of capturing history, life, and the conditions of experience in discourse. Through literary and philosophical texts, we will examine the limits and possibilities of how we invent ourselves through our stories and are shaped by the meanings and expectations we receive from others and the world around us. Specifically we will ask: How do society and history enable and limit the stories and images we have of and share with ourselves and others? What is the role of the body in writing and reading? How are language, text, and narration bound up with bodies and desires, gender, race, and ethnicity? As we explore these questions, we will consider how the styles of philosophical and literary texts offer us different inroads into reflecting on the relation between narration, ourselves, and society.
MW 3:00-4:15 PM
This course is intended to provide an introductory survey of women mystical writers in the Middle Ages (though we will bookend our investigation with Late Antique and Modern texts). Authors to be studied include Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), Hadewijch of Antwerp (early 13th century), Mechthild of Magdeburg (c. 1210-1282/1294), Beatrice of Nazareth (1200-1268), Marguerite Porete (d. 1310), Julian of Norwich (ca. 1343-1416), Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) and Simone Weil (1909-1943). The course will involve an exploration of the theological views of these writers, but it will also pay attention to the historical contexts in which each writer worked, including their connections with male clerical authority. Themes including desire, the body, suffering, and union with God will be important for our study, and we will examine their relation to orthodoxy, heresy, and spiritual innovation. Although the focus will be on the primary sources, we will use secondary literature to help navigate these texts. Some lecturing will help to further fill in the historical and theological picture.
TR 10:00-11:15 AM
This course introduces the exegetical methods used to study Johannine Literature and employs these methods to investigate the theology, Christology, soteriology, pneumatology, and anthropology of the Gospel of John, 1-2-3 John, and Revelation.