Cultural Relativism: Rites Of Passage
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Cultural Relativism in Human Rights explained in 60 seconds
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A more consequential instance occurred when the National Basketball Association withdrew the All-Star game from North Carolina after the state passed legislation restricting transgender persons to bathrooms of their biological sex, prompting state legislators to repeal the law. For this new faith to flourish, it requires global capital, and global capital has adopted wokeness as its religion. But for most corporations, the decision to embrace wokeness is a no-brainer, as there is no downside: Outside of Russia and the Middle East, where woke branding and messaging might prove to be a liability, coordinated opposition to the movement is virtually non-existent.
There are also deeper reasons behind the move. Global capital benefits from the free exchange of the goods and services that supply individuals with the material to express and satisfy their identities. Laws prohibiting labor exploitation, pornography, work on holy days, contraceptives, abortion, prostitution, gender re-assignment, and the like, inhibit this free exchange. One of the defining struggles of wokeness is the fight against such laws, which the woke see as arbitrarily imposed on the expression of certain identities. In this way, the policy interests of corporations and the woke are aligned. Like states, global corporations provide patronage to the woke. Forms include funding human-rights organizations, offering grants to prestigious academic institutions, and patronizing identities in the arts.
The leading consultant in this effort, Robin DiAngelo, is a white woman and author of the bestselling book White Fragility. Yet questions remain as to the efficacy of these arrangements. As Bonny Brooks argues in Arc Digital , "activism is now firmly near the top of many big-brand marketing agendas" because it "is a lot simpler to appropriate images of protest to sell soda than to ensure there are no exploitative practices in your supply chain. Where woke patronage has become most vibrant is in higher education.
Twenty years ago, Eldon Eisenach argued that the next religious establishment would come from universities that were, in his paraphrase of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the seminaries for democracy. Universities have indeed served this purpose. Today, most higher-education institutions offer majors, minors, events, speakers, and student groups organized around one or more identities, with strong administrative support and faculty dedicated to studying them. Some universities are looking to ground higher education entirely in the tenets of wokeness. The University of Tulsa, for example, has recently sought to re-orient the university around the twin pillars of business and social justice while cutting the traditional core curriculum to the bone.
Among those angry at the decision are many of the students. Wokeness is the opiate of the elites. None of the patronage directly benefits struggling communities; it simply moves funds from state institutions, global corporations, and universities to diversity, equity, and inclusion consultants. These consultants, in turn, serve as moral and spiritual alibis, helping to rehabilitate institutions' public image whenever issues of prejudice emerge. Like the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, state entities, corporations, and academic institutions offer patronage to the woke gods in exchange for their loyalty. And like the priests in those old Egyptian temples, the consultants grant prestige and temporary absolution while keeping the money.
If states and public entities are increasingly patronizing woke identities and causes, are they also establishing wokeness as a government-sanctioned religion? In some respects, they surely are. The Supreme Court case Lemon v. Kurtzman has set the standard for what qualifies as an unconstitutional establishment of religion in America since The Lemon test consists of three dictates: Laws must have a secular purpose, they must not have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, and they must not promote excessive government entanglement in religious matters. If wokeness is indeed a religion, then efforts to establish its tenets through legal and regulatory frameworks clearly violate the Lemon test.
State-sanctioned endorsements of woke identities advance the woke faith, as do municipal commissions tasked with promoting identity-based equity initiatives. Distribution of state money to woke identity groups and causes fosters government entanglement in religion. The hiring of diversity, equity, and inclusion administrators at public universities to oversee the representation of clean identities is akin to those universities hiring priests or rabbis to oversee their adherence to Catholicism or Judaism.
In short, if the Supreme Court were to recognize wokeness as a religion, these state-sponsored patronage efforts would have to end. This conclusion, of course, hinges on whether wokeness constitutes a religion for First Amendment purposes. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has never quite articulated a concrete definition of the term as used in the Constitution. The Court eventually abandoned the use of a belief in a creator as the hallmark of religion, declaring in the case of Torcaso v.
Watkins that the government may not "aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs. Though these decisions interpret the term "religion" as used in a statute, courts and scholars alike have looked to the definitions they provide as signals of what the Supreme Court might classify as a religion in the First Amendment context. The conscientious-objector rulings characterize religion as consisting of "deeply held" and "sincere" beliefs that rest on "moral, ethical, or religious principle[s]. In , the Court attempted to walk back the characterization, noting that "the very concept of ordered liberty precludes allowing every person to make his own standards on matters of conduct in which society as a whole has important interests.
Such vague descriptions may not offer much to guide us, but given what the Court has deemed a religion in past cases, the legal classification of wokeness as a religion likely rests on firm ground. The bar for what legally qualifies as a religion is thus quite low. Given the deeply held and undoubtedly sincere nature of woke adherents' beliefs, along with the tenets of wokeness described above the belief in the divinity of identity, the concept of the woke faith community, the Gnostic understanding of the world, notions of fate and the afterlife, and the moral code grounded in the struggle against oppression , one would be hard pressed to explain how wokeness is less deserving of the status than belief systems explicitly grounded in secularism.
One caveat to the Lemon analysis above is the sense among some constitutional lawyers that the case American Legion v. American Humanist Association implicitly overturned Lemon. If that's true, then wokeness may be in even worse shape, at least from a legal standpoint. The majority opinion in American Legion stresses "respect and tolerance for differing views," "an honest endeavor to achieve inclusivity and nondiscrimination," and "a recognition of the important role that religion plays in the lives of many Americans" as key to identifying whether a given state policy or practice constitutes an illegal establishment of that religion.
Though wokeness appears to elevate tolerance, inclusivity, and non-discrimination above all else, its efforts are often implemented in ways that chill the expression of dissenting views, especially by those who adhere to faith traditions associated with unclean identities. If wokeness becomes a legally recognized religion in the United States, efforts by adherents to secure state patronage and enlist public entities in their struggle would violate constitutionally protected natural rights. Historically, such measures have provoked an organized political and legal response among disadvantaged faiths. And that is precisely where we may be headed. This objection is not so much wrong as it is decades out of date.
It is true that, in seeking to clear the public square of Christianity and other monotheistic traditions, woke advocates of church-state separation have tried to liberate individuals and communities from state-sponsored religions. Yet nature abhors a vacuum, as does the human soul. As Ross Douthat documents in his book Bad Religion , attempts to scrub religion from American public life have failed; alternative belief systems have rushed in to fill the void. Christianity , Islam , Judaism , etc.
One can think of a worldview as comprising a number of basic beliefs which are philosophically equivalent to the axioms of the worldview considered as a logical or consistent theory. These basic beliefs cannot, by definition, be proven in the logical sense within the worldview — precisely because they are axioms , and are typically argued from rather than argued for. If two different worldviews have sufficient common beliefs it may be possible to have a constructive dialogue between them.
On the other hand, if different worldviews are held to be basically incommensurate and irreconcilable, then the situation is one of cultural relativism and would therefore incur the standard criticisms from philosophical realists. A third alternative sees the worldview approach as only a methodological relativism, as a suspension of judgment about the truth of various belief systems but not a declaration that there is no global truth. For instance, the religious philosopher Ninian Smart begins his Worldviews: Cross-cultural Explorations of Human Beliefs with "Exploring Religions and Analysing Worldviews" and argues for "the neutral, dispassionate study of different religious and secular systems—a process I call worldview analysis.
The comparison of religious, philosophical or scientific worldviews is a delicate endeavor, because such worldviews start from different presuppositions and cognitive values. The Prussian philologist Wilhelm von Humboldt — originated the idea that language and worldview are inextricable. Humboldt saw language as part of the creative adventure of mankind. Culture, language and linguistic communities developed simultaneously and could not do so without one another. In stark contrast to linguistic determinism , which invites us to consider language as a constraint, a framework or a prison house, Humboldt maintained that speech is inherently and implicitly creative.
Human beings take their place in speech and continue to modify language and thought by their creative exchanges. Edward Sapir — also gives an account of the relationship between thinking and speaking in English. The linguistic relativity hypothesis of Benjamin Lee Whorf — describes how the syntactic-semantic structure of a language becomes an underlying structure for the worldview of a people through the organization of the causal perception of the world and the linguistic categorization of entities.
As linguistic categorization emerges as a representation of worldview and causality, it further modifies social perception and thereby leads to a continual interaction between language and perception. Whorf's hypothesis became influential in the late s, but declined in prominence after a decade. In the s, new research gave further support for the linguistic relativity theory in the works of Stephen Levinson b. If the Sapir—Whorf hypothesis is correct, the worldview map of the world would be similar to the linguistic map of the world. However, it would also almost coincide with a map of the world drawn on the basis of music across people.
While Leo Apostel and his followers clearly hold that individuals can construct worldviews, other writers regard worldviews as operating at a community level, or in an unconscious way. For instance, if one's worldview is fixed by one's language, as according to a strong version of the Sapir—Whorf hypothesis , one would have to learn or invent a new language in order to construct a new worldview. According to Apostel,  a worldview is an ontology , or a descriptive model of the world. It should comprise these six elements:.
Within cognitive philosophy and the cognitive sciences is the German concept of Weltanschauung. This expression is used to refer to the "wide worldview" or "wide world perception" of a people, family, or person. The Weltanschauung of a people originates from the unique world experience of a people, which they experience over several millennia. The language of a people reflects the Weltanschauung of that people in the form of its syntactic structures and untranslatable connotations and its denotations. The term Weltanschauung is often wrongly attributed to Wilhelm von Humboldt, the founder of German ethnolinguistics.
Underhill reminds us, Humboldt's key concept was Weltansicht. On the other hand, Weltanschauung , first used by Kant and later popularized by Hegel, was always used in German and later in English to refer more to philosophies, ideologies and cultural or religious perspectives, than to linguistic communities and their mode of apprehending reality. In , the German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey published an essay entitled "The Types of Worldview Weltanschauung and their Development in Metaphysics" that became quite influential.
Dilthey characterized worldviews as providing a perspective on life that encompasses the cognitive, evaluative, and volitional aspects of human experience. Although worldviews have always been expressed in literature and religion, philosophers have attempted to give them conceptual definition in their metaphysical systems. On that basis, Dilthey found it possible to distinguish three general recurring types of worldview. The first of these he called naturalism because it gives priority to the perceptual and experimental determination of what is and allows contingency to influence how we evaluate and respond to reality.
Naturalism can be found in Democritus, Hobbes, Hume and many other modern philosophers. The second type of worldview is called the idealism of freedom and is represented by Plato, Descartes, Kant, and Bergson among others. It is dualistic and gives primacy to the freedom of the will. The organizational order of our world is structured by our mind and the will to know.
The third type is called objective idealism and Dilthey sees it in Heraclitus, Parmenides, Spinoza, Leibniz and Hegel. In objective idealism the ideal does not hover above what is actual but inheres in it. This third type of worldview is ultimately monistic and seeks to discern the inner coherence and harmony among all things. Dilthey thought it impossible to come up with a universally valid metaphysical or systematic formulation of any of these worldviews, but regarded them as useful schema for his own more reflective kind of life philosophy. Anthropologically, worldviews can be expressed as the "fundamental cognitive, affective, and evaluative presuppositions a group of people make about the nature of things, and which they use to order their lives.
If it were possible to draw a map of the world on the basis of Weltanschauung ,  it would probably be seen to cross political borders— Weltanschauung is the product of political borders and common experiences of a people from a geographical region,  environmental - climatic conditions, the economic resources available, socio-cultural systems , and the language family. Worldview is used very differently by linguists and sociologists. It is for this reason that James W. Underhill suggests five subcategories: world-perceiving, world-conceiving, cultural mindset, personal world, and perspective. A worldview, according to terror management theory TMT , serves as a buffer against death anxiety. Using a test of death-thought accessibility DTA , involving an ambiguous word completion test e.
Mood was also measured following the worldview threat, to test whether the increase in death thoughts following worldview threat were due to other causes, for example, anger at the attack on one's cultural worldview. To test the generalisability of these findings to groups and worldviews other than those of nationalistic Canadians, Schimel et al conducted a similar experiment on a group of religious individuals whose worldview included that of creationism. Goldenberg et al found that highlighting the similarities between humans and other animals increases death-thought accessibility, as does attention to the physical rather than meaningful qualities of sex.
A unidirectional view of causality is present in some monotheistic views of the world with a beginning and an end and a single great force with a single end e. These worldviews of causality not only underlie religious traditions but also other aspects of thought like the purpose of history , political and economic theories, and systems like democracy , authoritarianism , anarchism , capitalism , socialism and communism. With the development of science came a clockwork universe of regular operation according to principle, an idea that was very popular among deists during the Enlightenment. But later developments in science put this deterministic picture in doubt. Some forms of philosophical naturalism and materialism reject the validity of entities inaccessible to natural science.
They view the scientific method as the most reliable model for building an understanding of the world. The term worldview denotes a comprehensive set of opinions, seen as an organic unity , about the world as the medium and exercise of human existence. For example, worldview of causality as uni-directional , cyclic , or spiral generates a framework of the world that reflects these systems of causality.
Nishida Kitaro wrote extensively on "the Religious Worldview" in exploring the philosophical significance of Eastern religions. According to Neo-Calvinist David Naugle 's World view: The History of a Concept , "Conceiving of Christianity as a worldview has been one of the most significant developments in the recent history of the church. The Christian thinker James W. Sire defines a worldview as "a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions assumptions which may be true, partially true, or entirely false which we hold consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently about the basic construction of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.
The commitment mentioned by James W. Sire can be extended further. The worldview increases the commitment to serve the world. This serving attitude has been illustrated by Tareq M Zayed as the 'Emancipatory Worldview' in his writing "History of emancipatory worldview of Muslim learners". David Bell has also raised questions on religious worldviews for the designers of superintelligences — machines much smarter than humans. In this latter sense, one story risks becoming the only story. By examining diverse narratives in prose and poetic forms, this course will examine the various ways in which questions of value are shaped by the formal qualities of narrative structure.
This course is designed to provide students with the critical tools necessary for thinking and writing about literature. Our literary analysis of selected works will involve examining their basic elements, themes, as well as their historical positioning. Through a series of development assignments, students will learn how to develop interpretive claims, support these claims using textual evidence, and structure their analysis into coherent arguments. One of the goals of the course is to introduce students to the conventions and best practices related to writing about literature.
By reading a variety of genres, including fiction, nonfiction and poetry, we will also explore how landscape is used both as setting and symbol to develop themes. Some of the writing fundamentals that will be covered in the course include sentence structure, paragraphing, quoting, essay structure and the writing process. One view of literature sees its role as method to raise awareness about the world we live, so that we will hopefully rise to the challenge of making it a better place for all.
With this view in mind, we will explore a variety of books and films that have played a major role in captivating the hearts and minds of those who have go on to make major changes in our world. The texts we will explore will examine our relationship to slavery, labour, gender, consumerism, and the environment, etc. This course introduces students to common themes in medieval literature, including the inconstancy of this world we live in, the life of the mind, the pursuit of ideals, and the corruption of authority. We examine the development of these themes in a variety of stories from popular medieval genres: dream vision, hagiography, Arthurian romance, and fable.
The course should prepare students to recognize common medieval ideas, to understand differences among narrative genres, and to understand the value of situating a text in its cultural and historical moment. All texts are in translation. Students will learn how to think and write about literature by studying the depiction of romantic love by authors as varied as Plato, Shakespeare, Hemingway and others. This course focuses on some of the best love literature from the Western and Eastern worlds which deals with positive love relationships. Students will read fairy tales, short stories, essays, poems, and a short novel on love in the face of social obstacles, love in the face of psychological obstacles, seduction, ideal love, celebration of the beloved, and celebration of lovemaking.
Special attention is paid to strategies students can use to increase their pleasure in and understanding of literature and their ability to write about it. Perhaps no other word has such a consistent impact throughout our lives yet, somehow, its actual definition remains as elusive as its perpetual pursuit. We certainly love people including ourselves but also things, ideas and places — often in the exact same way. By looking at prose, poetry and non-fiction, we will consider such issues as whether a universally-accepted definition of the word is even possible; whether there is something thematically common in all of its depictions; whether its usage is often standing in as a metaphor for something else; whether all stories of love, by definition, have beginnings as well as endings.
A metafictional work of literature is one that draws attention to its own status as artifice. When a character in a television show, for instance, turns to the screen and speaks directly to the viewers, they draw attention to the fact that there is a camera in their presence. This is cunning move on the part of the actor; without completely destroying the fictional world of the show, they still manage to draw attention to the fact that they are, after all, only acting. In this class, we will study a series of literary texts which, through use of metafictional devices, pose questions about the delicate relationship between reality and fiction. This course introduces students to the study of literature at the College level through a study of mythology.
Students will read a variety of material, with emphasis on Greek myth, epic and dramatic literature, as well as reading, thinking and writing strategies necessary for the College. During the course of the semester the class explores the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh, Greek creation myths as well as the greater and lesser gods of Olympus. The class also reads Greek Drama tragedy and comedy and heroic epics such as the Iliad and the Odyssey. By the end of the semester students have a comprehensive survey of Western principally Greek mythology. By the end of the semester successful students are able to read the texts critically, work together as groups and write competent college level essays which indicate critical thought, understanding of techniques and devices, annotation and organization.
The course readings and evaluations are the same as those for Liberal Arts This course provides an introduction to literature through poetry, prose, and drama by looking at characters who have been exiled from their communities, forcibly or by choice. These outcasts often seek companionship in unconventional ways and rely on themselves in order to battle worlds hostile to their beliefs. Isolated and plagued by physical and mental barriers, characters studied in this course struggle to express and exorcise their demons, revealing the power and limitations of language.
This course will introduce the student to short fiction, lyric poetry, the informal essay, and the novel. Generational clashes, sexuality, murder, racism, self-hatred, doubt, alienation, pride, courage, goodness: these forces can estrange individuals, creating a tension between them and society. This tension makes the individual an outsider; this tension is the focus of the course. Grammar and essay-writing skills will also be studied, practised, and tested. How have literary artists throughout the twentieth century and at the dawn of the twenty-first chosen to represent real historical events in both nonfiction, fictional, and graphic texts? Students will try to make sense of the various tools writers use to record and remain faithful to memory not only through critical reading but also through creative practice.
Within a broadly defined theme of transformation initiation, coming of age, and other variations on character transformation , this course will introduce you to a variety of literary genres including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and film. You will practice the skills for successful close readings of texts, acquire a working knowledge of basic technical literary terms, analyze the techniques and devices used to construct a work of literature, and learn to apply effective writing strategies in your own analytical response essays.
This course will provide students with an introduction to literature through texts that look at how human relationships are affected by science and how the language of science can be used to write about love. This is a foundational course designed to introduce students to a variety of genres and time periods of English literature, connected thematically by the idea of romantic love.
From the seductresses of Gilgamesh , to the rebellious adulteresses of Chaucer, to the irreverent musings of modern song writers, this course aims to give the student a snapshot of love seen through the literary lens. In addition, students will learn essay writing and research skills as they hone their abilities to critically analyse what lies before their eyes. This course aims at introducing the students to College English through the symbolic value of colour in literary narratives and poetic works. Our analysis will consider how colour is symbolically used not only with reference to natural beauty and to the visual arts that influenced many of these writers, but also as a means to unveil highly complex social issues, such as racism, and homophobia.
The variety of the texts in question will also allow us to reveal how different stylistical features and devices are applied when colour is described in narratives developed through fiction, essays, poetry, film and music. In Storytelling we consider the impulse to tell stories and the various creative methods and the beats, the ticks, the pulses that rouse people to activate the heart and share human and other-than-human experience: oral, written, and visual storytelling. We explore stories from different cultural perspectives, with emphasis on, but not exclusive to, Indigenous storytellers.
Expect to encounter both fiction and nonfiction essays and memoir , poetry, short stories, film, and drama. The course will introduce students to the cultivation of reading, critical thinking and college-level writing skills and hopefully, the enjoyment in at least one, if not all these activities! The aim of this course is to engage in the culture of a country often disliked: America. Throughout this course we will read and discuss various forms of mostly contemporary American literature short fiction, novel and the themes reflected by them.
Class discussion and participation is strongly required in this course. My job is to mediate and stimulate the discussion necessary to point out the relationships between these themes, the theories possibly suggested, and the language, the literary terminology you will need to articulate them. This course aims at introducing the students to College English through the symbolic value of friendship in literary narratives and poetic works. Our analysis will consider how friendship is represented, celebrated and fictionalized as one of the most important and archetypal relationships in human life. The variety of the texts in question will also allow us to reveal how different stylistic features and devices are applied when friends and their memories are described and developed through fiction, poetry, and film.
The all-round, all-in-one, magic theatre course for all horses. This course is ideal for students studying or just plain interested in theatre: Theatre Workshop students, Professional Theatre students, scientists who really want to go on the stage etc. All students work together on theatrical projects, while doing other assignments specific to their college level. In Theatre Workshop English, students can expect to develop facility in reading, watching and interpreting a variety of texts dramatic, fictional, poetic, and cinematic as well as improving written and oral expression in English.
The Final Showcase offers an opportunity for dramatic writing to students in the Playwright Stream and group performance to all participants. Despite what many might like to think, it is clear that the Western world is still far from being an entirely peaceful place. For instance, many of us believe that violence must sometimes be used to enforce laws and protect human rights. Although we may consider the former uses of violence unfortunate necessities, many of us still enjoy watching contact sports and even the more explicit forms of violence found in action or horror films.
However, sometimes the violence found in fiction is so gruesome that it is not easily accepted, let alone enjoyed. Figuring out what authors hope to accomplish by depicting acts of extreme violence will be one of our main goals. In order to reach some conclusions, we will examine a variety of texts containing such forms of violence. Each work will be considered in relation to its appropriate cultural and historical context.
Seeing as this is an English course, the second aim will be to develop skills necessary for students to be effective readers and writers. The cultivation of these abilities will not only aid students in their exploration of violence in literature, but in any other analytical work they may need to do in the future. Students develop their own voices as writers, and their vision as critical analytical readers, through engagement with the visions and voices of others, with a focus on texts by Indigenous writers.
We will explore the power of the spoken and written word, how this power affects us, and how we can access it effectively, both in speaking and in writing, as well as the pleasures of exploration, new experiences and discovery that the world of reading and writing opens to us. This introductory course will challenge students to read, write, and think critically as they explore the theme of water in literature and consider current water-related issues around the world. In this course, students will study works from a variety of literary genres, including non-fiction and film, to discover the literary significance of water, one of our essential needs for survival. A soul-devouring monster appears in your kitchen and demands a peanut.
Do you laugh? Ask how it would feel about an almond? Thanks to the monumental success of J. Yet, while magic today is often celebrated in literature, or even used as a metaphor for imagination and the power of childhood, witches and wizards have long been the subject of visceral horror and violent persecution. Bearing in mind this dark past, this course will pursue the objectives of the literature requirement through study and debate of issues pertaining to magic in literature. Students in this class will read drama, short poetry, novels, and selections from contextual non-fiction to discover multiple genres. In this course, students will enhance their writing proficiency, enrich their oral skills, and develop close-reading abilities that can easily be adapted to achieve success in any field.
To go wild is to break free of restraints, live life outside of the norms. What are the costs to breaking the rules and who makes those rules, anyway, and why? In this course we examine stories about those wayward souls who find themselves willingly and not so willingly inhabiting the fringes. They often wear their wildness as nonchalance, contempt, rage, boredom. Some enact senseless violence and vandalism, others take extreme risks; always, though, they seem to meet with some form of tragedy.
Yet, within this tragedy something survives, something seeds and grows. In this course, we will explore the positive things that survive and thrive in this wildness. The main focus of these courses is to study the relationship between form and meaning. There are numerous sub-genres within these broad categories. In these courses, the focus may be on either one genre e. Students learn to identify and analyze such structural elements as plot, character, point of view, tone, symbol, diction, rhythm, rhyme, metaphor and how these devices interact to produce meaning.
The courses will focus on helping students recognize the patterns that enrich the works, the themes that these patterns suggest, and the relationship between the significant elements of the work and the themes. To pass these courses students are expected to write a 1, word essay that meets specific criteria. In this course we will study texts from a variety of genres, written in Europe and North America during the 18th and 19th centuries. We will encounter some of the well-known issues of this era, such as the Enlightenment, Romanticism, revolution, Symbolism and Transcendentalism. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to develop their own understandings of the readings and to strengthen their writing skills.
Originally designed for students in the Liberal Arts program, this course is open to all students who are interested in Enlightenment and Romantic literature. How have fans changed the course of literature? How do our reactions and interpretations change the course of a text? What happens when the reader takes over and becomes the writer? How do they transform and resist the source work? Do we, as readers, actually have far more power over the narrative than we thought? In this course, we will explore and complicate the roles of authors, fans, and readers.
In particular, we will be focusing on the texts and adaptations that resist the canonical work in some way and what value those resistant transformations can have — not just for the texts themselves, but for people writing and reading them, making space for themselves where the canon did not. This course will introduce students to modern African short stories. A variety of stories by authors from different African countries will be analyzed; specific attention will be paid to how each writer makes use of the conventions of the genre to reflect upon the present-day realities across the continent. Through the study of these diverse tales of African people — children and adults, men and women — we might be able to shed damaging stereotypes and gain knowledge and appreciation of the diverse and colourful literature from that far-away continent.
By examining literature, art and film from the early 19th Century to the present, we will examine how writers and artists create a means through which they can address specifically North American cultural concerns, including issues surrounding national identity, religion, race relations, and the urban environment. This class will introduce you to a variety of traditional and innovative American short stories. We will attend to the particular formal elements that make a story appealing and incite an emotional response from readers. In the process, we will meet people, ideas, different ethnic communities, and have a glance at the process of writing itself. By the end of this course, we will have discovered the potential of the short story as a vehicle for literary creativity and the exploration of what it means to be human.
Why do people read and write poems? What role do poems play in our individual and collective lives? In order to address such questions thoughtfully, students in this course will be introduced to poetry as an art that uses language deliberately and playfully, challenging its readers to see, hear, and understand the world with open hearts and minds. By encountering various types of poetic forms—closed e. Specifically, they will learn to read poems closely and confidently by investigating how poets use form, rhetorical devices, and literary techniques to communicate ideas meaningfully and memorably, with emotional power and intellectual scope. Contemporary Canadian short-fiction writers are much bolder than their literary ancestors.
Issues of sexuality and violence and ethnicity, for example, are being treated in frank and disturbing ways, while humour often winks from a footstep away. Apart from provocative content, our writers are ambitiously experimenting with form and technique. In the carnivalesque, we see that the comedic and the profane can often provide a critique of society. In this course, we will study literary texts which work in the mode of the carnivalesque: they examine the delicate balance between breaking an order and reinforcing it. In this course, we will think the unthinkable; some would say the impossible: poetry can change the world.
One poem at a time, we will discuss how poets influence our lives through global perspectives of love, desire, beauty, nature, lamentation, death, translation, metamorphoses, war, foul language, dissent, protest, and miracles. The poems in this course are literal and symbolic expressions of difference, survival, and innovation. They affect our ways of thinking about, representing, and enacting human relationships in surprising and predictable ways.
What will emerge over the course of this class are the ways in which poetic perceptions shift our own thinking, shock us out of our complacency, and motivate us to want to change the world too. One of the presuppositions of this course is that fart jokes are funny. Indeed, we shall presuppose that buttocks, boobs, boners, and bodily images of all kinds are perfectly hilarious. Anyone who disagrees with these presuppositions will have to enjoy the exceptional rarity of his or her sense of humour in silence. The fact is, there is a long tradition of literature that delights in foregrounding the body in its comic aspect, and our purpose in this course is to try to understand why. Why do fart jokes exist? What is the function of this kind of humour, psychologically, socially, and artistically?
Why is the body so closely and so easily associated with laughter? These are a few of the questions we shall attempt to answer as we study a sampling of comic literature from the 14th century to the present. This course is designed to allow students to explore the genre of the short story in greater depth. We will concentrate on Contemporary American short fiction analyzing the relationship between the contemporary author, his or her work, and the literary elements he or she uses to explore themes that illuminate the world in which we live.
Similar is the nature of the narratives about the island, its traditions, and its changing history; these fictions are a mixture of peculiar, individual literary voices and collective accounts. Focusing on the memoir genre, we will consider how Cuba and its culture have been the centre of increasing personal narratives created by authors both Cuban and international whose identities have been shaped both from outside and inside the country. A series of parallel literary texts, essays and articles, collected in the course pack, will allow us to create the proper historical, literary, musical and filmic framework in order to address how Cuba has been described and discussed in the memoir genre both literary and cinematographic and how these particularly personal narratives have revealed some of the most interesting and hidden aspects of the evolution of Cuban culture from the Fifties to today.
How can we account for the powerful appeal of mysteries and detective stories? Why do people find detectives and their ability to investigate, solve, and be baffled by crime fascinating? Students in this course will read classic detective stories, learn to detect the basic literary devices and techniques that writers use, and attempt to understand the mysterious attraction of this very popular genre. In addition to developing their analytical reading and critical thinking skills, students will also be expected to learn how to write a well-organized thesis-driven essay.
In late sixteenth-century England, a burgeoning theatrical culture emerged. This course focuses on the golden age of English theatre, with attention to four plays from the period. This course presents a formal introduction to the fable as a genre of moral tales with talking animals and other fantasy elements. In this course, students will learn to read fiction of a particular genre as well as non-fiction prose. Students will be exposed to diverse examples of the genre in question and explore its parameters. Dressed in garish book covers, some fantasy literature may be considered formulaic and lowbrow, but this genre has its roots in the oldest and most influential forms of literature of all times: myths, legends, hero tales and fairytales. Loved by young and old alike, these tales have been handed down from parent to child throughout the ages.
Moreover, along with the symbols and archetypes of the oral tradition, cultural beliefs, values and the most universal hopes of humankind are woven into the fabric of these ancient stories. In this course, students will read, tell, analyse and respond to ancient and modern examples of these stories of faerie… that place of imagination and inspiration… just beyond the border of our physical reality.
This course will examine the role that certain famous fairy tales have played in society from the time when they were first told up to the present day. We will look not only at how works in this genre and related ones reveal our changing desires and anxieties but also at how we might use these varied generic forms to address the new fantasies and fears that we will face in the future. Consequently, few people are made aware of the classic fairy tale as a form of storytelling that boasts a rich history, from its development through oral transmissions and modern textual expressions of the past to its present cultural and literary manifestations.
In addition to identifying the archetypal motifs, storytelling techniques, and didactic underpinnings of such stories, this course will investigate the manner in which fairy tales introduce readers to a varied and often explicit and sophisticated thematic universe imbued with rich psychological and symbolic significance. Students will also be introduced to different interpretative modes of reading fairy tales in order to address, question, and understand their lasting appeal. This course offers an introduction to the genre of science fiction, focusing on the conventions and reading protocols that distinguish science fiction from mimetic realistic fiction. Students will see that the way science fiction treats character, plot, and setting, is quite different from treatments in mimetic novels that strive to represent reality.
How are identity and performance linked? What if the line between reality and performance gets blurred? To what extent does life imitate performance and performance imitate life? This class will explore what happens to the dramatic text as it travels from the page to the stage. We will look at various definitions of identity and performance through an exploration of the main currents of modern and postmodern drama. This course is aimed at revealing the complexities of gender as depicted in the short story genre.
The short story genre, which often relies on the beauty of the unsaid, or on the minimalism that its limited number of pages requires, will be scrutinized as a perfect literary medium to reveal how difficult are the definition and narration of gender. In this course, we will study how literature engages with the potential or actual effects of science on humanity. Golfers love to read greens, and study fairways. Students who love to read books, and study literature, will enjoy this course. Golfers practice constantly, and students will do weekly exercises to develop their reading and writing skills especially. This course is designed for pupils who are interested in science, history, and metaphysics.
Themes of madness, the supernatural, death, incest, and the repressed will haunt our readings and our discussions. This course will explore how authors use the conventions of the short story genre, as well as the novella and film to express their horrific tales. We will also investigate, through secondary critical readings, reasons for our fascination with the gothic and the power of story-telling. This course focuses on the relatively recently identified genre of the graphic novel, or the comic book as serious literature. In surveying a selection of these texts students will explore not only the range of this literary genre, which includes fiction, memoir and non-fiction narratives, but also the distinctive artistic techniques which distinguish the graphic novel form from that of purely textual works.
For the Greek Athenian playwrights of the fifth-century B. The philosopher and first drama critic, Aristotle, argued that the purpose of performing tragedy on stage was to promote feelings of pity and fear in members of the audience who tended to be sympathetic to characters in the plays, seeing in them their own strengths and weaknesses. This course explores the major themes and techniques of the haunted house tale in American Gothic and horror stories. Students will read haunted house stories from the 19th and 20th century and together we will identify genre-defining features which reappear in film and television. Through a combination of short lectures, guided discussions, film analyses and individual writing creative and analytical the course will examine Gothic terror as an expression of societal, political and psychological anxiety in order to then study the haunted house in its function as a metaphor for the oppressive nature of domestic, normalizing value systems.
Together, we will outline the rise of the Gothic home as narrative force which emerges within haunted tales in moments when the values embodied in the home possess the bodies and minds of those who dwell within it. This genre course explores the twentieth century novel. In the second half of the twentieth century, the writing of history became particularly questioned as just another form of fiction. Novelists during this period focus on historical themes but take license in retelling them or exploring them in invented worlds. The rather funny novel The Evolution Man: How We Ate My Father by Roy Lewis rewrites the evolution period of the human species and poses questions such as whether humans should have suppressed the use of fire for the greater good of humankind.
Excerpts from other novels and interviews, articles, and commentary will complement our course readings. Students will practice active reading and apply analysis to the course readings in the form of essays, journals, oral presentations, and some creative work. This course will involve reading and thinking about crime fiction. Students will also think separately about crime and about fiction. But most of all, we will think about thinking. As we read about the methods of various detectives, whether amateur, private, or police, we will ask ourselves these and related questions: What do we think we know, and how do we think we know it? What constitutes a good argument? How can we change minds—those of others, of course, but also our own? What distinctions can we and the detectives we will be reading about make between belief, faith, hypothesis, conjecture, evidence, logic, probability, proof, knowledge, and so on?
This course takes as a given the fact that we will be wrong about a number of different things that we believe. With this in mind, what obstacles do we face cognitive biases, logical fallacies, social pressure, etc. Illustrative Storying examines the blend of image with text. The course explores sub-genres of illustrative storytelling, such as comics, graphic novels, manga, Japanes anime, animation, and cartoons. Expect to learn about generic conventions, literary history, reader participation and response, as well as transcultural convergences of forms. As this course is a literary course, we do literary analysis of the text.
This noted the course introduces a creative component that allows students to animate their imagination. This course introduces the student to the literature of the Middle-East, predominately from Persian and Arabic traditions often Islamic , but including works from various countries. The course is a historical survey: works from the origin of Middle Eastern literature Gilgamesh, Bible, Koran, medieval narrative poems, prose of Nights, classical lyrical poetry are studied in the first half of the course, while the second half of the term is devoted to modern literature, predominately prose fiction. The works are also selected in order to address a variety of themes in Middle Eastern culture, as well as questions of genre, with its unique history in Middle Eastern literature.
This class examines literary genres through readings in Japanese Literature. During the course of the semester the class explores universal genres such as Poetry, the Short Story, the Novella, the Novel, Drama as well as some genres that originate from Japan. Evaluations are: reading tests, literary journals, in class essay examination, two essays of words.
Successful students are able to identify, critically evaluate and write well organized and clearly expressed essays on the subject of genres. Student skills in reading, critical comprehension and evaluation of texts as genres are fully developed. The course explores the conventions, literary history, and sub-genres of the short story. The selection of stories will also invite thinking and discussion around theoretical approaches to storytelling, plus themes pertaining to gender, sexuality, immigration, religion, and racial discrimination. The course, thus, will explore what typifies and challenges our categorization of the short story. As this course is a literary course, we do textual analysis; we do not write short stories.
In this course, we will read and listen to a wide selection of works from three genres: lyrical poems written over five decades; a romantic coming-of-age story, and excerpts from a second, more experimental novel; and songs taken from an impressive catalogue from to the s that has inspired and continues to influence the world of folk, punk, rock, and other popular types of music. Most people consider yoga to be a form of exercise or, at best, a trendy spiritual practice. Few, however, realize that the physical aspect of yoga asana is only a small, albeit integral, part of the rich literary and cultural tradition that is Yoga. Because literature privileges direct experience over abstract concepts, it is the natural vehicle for yoga philosophy which engages with the body and the mind at once.
In this course, we will both examine traditional literature on yoga and use the physical practice of yoga to inspire our own creative writing. This class is devoted to the rich and strange content of Medieval and Renaissance literature. Our timeline spans from the first English poem, which was probably written in the 8th century, to the drama and poetry of the late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-centuries. The reading list provides a survey of representative genres, jokes, and topics. While we delineate our linguistic history and the literary trends of the past, we can expect some weird and wonderful encounters with lovers, knights, madmen, tyrants, faeries, monsters, and other marvels.
Students will study two major representative texts from the medieval and early modern periods. In terms of their subject matter, they have important similarities: both are representations of aristocratic violence, featuring great men wielding power over others. In terms of genre and form, however, the texts are quite different: our first text is a medieval romance, concerned with ideals. What brings these two texts together in this course is our approach to them: we will examine them in light of how they, as works of literature, intersect with political, social, and cultural history, or in other words how each work is bound up with the life and thought of its own culture.
Neither of these texts offers easy answers to questions about the nature of the relationship between literature — or culture, more broadly — and the ideological formations in which it is produced. The short story is notoriously resistant to formal categorization and encompasses a wide range of modes of expression. We will look at subgenres of the short story that use magical, absurdist and speculative components to impart themes of metamorphosis and otherness. We will also look at realist fiction and a short story cycle that tests the formal boundaries between the short story collection and the novel.
By the end of the course, students will have discovered the potential of the genre as a vehicle for literary creativity and the exploration of diverse themes. Want to find out about real and weird issues in our North-American society? Join the literary journey to the world of the others amongst us as presented through fiction within the very contemporary and fairly dominant, particularly North-American genre of multicultural literature. Through the study of short stories from both sides of the border, similarities and differences in the very core of the concept of multiculturalism will be revealed. In engaging with these literary texts students are expected to acquire not only a certain familiarity with a major North-American form of literature, but also god-willing, or inshallah a better appreciation of it — as well as of those represented in it.
The Metamorphoses, written in the first decade CE, is a highly entertaining narrative poem that describes the twisted and surreal adventures of Roman gods and goddesses. While drawing on the conventions of the epic genre, Ovid also adapted and challenged those conventions, writing a new sort of poem that, in turn, has inspired a whole series of later adaptations and reworkings.
This course introduces students to the genre of narrative through an examination of two contemporary novels. Each novel in this course is narrated by the central figure within the story, giving us a chance to look closely at different ways of developing first-person narratives. Above all, our close study of these novels gives us a way to understand key aspects of narrative in general, such as plot, character, and point of view.