An essay by Dr. Jennifer Sasser, gerontology program director, was published in the International Journal of Reminiscence and Lifelong Learning in January 2015.
Film as Art and Form
Tuesdays 6:30 - 9:15 pm
This course seeks to enhance the understanding of film as an artistic and ideological medium. Students will focus on selected narrative films to develop the visual literacy of active viewers. To what extent can film be studied as a "text" to be read and reread rather than simply watched?
Students will address questions about film's place in culture and ideology, its political and social relevance, and how, for better or worse, it can shape a sense of the world. An Art, Media, & Technology course.
Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing about Film, 8th Edition (Longman Short Guides, 2011) ISBN‐10: 0205236391
Literary and Critical Theory
Course Description: This course examines the history of literary and critical theory while focusing on significant contemporary approaches to the reading of literature and culture. Students will develop a working relation to the following critical approaches: Marxist theory and historicism, Freudian psychoanalysis, semiological analysis, deconstruction, gender studies, and post-colonial theory.
Extended Course Description: It may seem counter-intuitive to think that literature needs theory in order to legitimate itself. After all, doesn't theory just get in the way of experiencing the "magic" of literature? But, then, how do we distinguish literature from an editorial, an advertisement, or a piece of propaganda? The fact is that theory has always existed side by side with literature in literature's attempt to distinguish itself as a unique form of human expression and taste. This class examines this relation by taking a journey into literature's past, examining how fundamental questions of literariness, the means and methods of criticism, and the functions of literary texts unfold from early times to the present. We will read works by thinkers including Plato, Wordsworth, Baudelaire, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Simone de Beauvoir, Jacques Lacan, and Jacques Derrida.
'Beginning Theory' by Peter Barry (Manchester Univ. Press) ISBN 978-0719079276
'Mythologies' by Roland Barthes (FSG) 978-0374521509
'The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism', ed., Vincent Leitch (2nd edition)
In addition to these required texts your instructor will post various study aids and online learning materials which will help you navigate through the texts.
Celtic World Views
Course Description: In this course we will explore the various ways in which the Celts
articulated for themselves their own place as human beings in the cosmos and how their
world view changed and evolved over time.
Beginning with the earliest mythological and poetic texts we will study how the Celtic descriptions of self, soul, knowledge, society and divinity were impacted and modified by contact with the Classical and Christian worlds, leading to a unique Celtic thematization of philosophical and theological problems.
Extended Course Description: "Celtic culture is the fine flower of the Iron Age", writes historian Nora Chadwick, and the Celts were the first people north of the Alps of whom the classical world had substantial knowledge. "As enemies the Greeks and Romans respected and feared them; as neighbors, they were curious about them, but of their intellectual life they had little conception".
With the advent of literacy in the Celtic realms, the history of that intellectual life begins to come into focus, at first in poetic and mythological texts still strongly marked by oral traditions, later in a vast corpus of legal and Christian literature with a distinct Celtic flavor, and finally in philosophical and theological works that are very much part of the mainstream of European thought.
In this course we will read both primary texts in translation as well as interpretive commentaries, with a view to understanding both the continuities and discontinuities in the Celtic world-picture. The impact of successive waves of conquest and colonization by the Romans and Nordic peoples, the process of conversion to Christianity, and the development of monastic learning centers among the insular Celts will be studied as background to the evolution of the Celts' beliefs.
The Táin by Thomas Kinsella (OUP) 0192803735
The World of the Druids by Miranda Green (Thames & Hudson) 050005083X
A Celtic Miscellany ed. by Kenneth Jackson 978-0140442472
How The Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill (Anchor) 0-385-41849-3
TPC: Masculinity Studies and Film
This course will examine representations of masculinity in film. In particular, we will examine historical representations (and interrogations) of masculinity in film and masculinity construction through film and media discourses. Masculinity studies explore such issues and representations as the changing roles (and the severe anxieties that accompany these changes) for men and women, sexual and homosexual anxieties, hyper-masculinity constructions, race and ethnic issues, class representations, and the part masculinity plays in shaping culture and ideology.
Mondays, 2:15 - 3:00 pm
David Denny & John Urang
This final project forms a group of writers and scholars who support each other through the research and writing process. The endpoint of the course will be a research essay created through peer review, intensive work in class, Web-based exchanges and resources, and one-on-one conferences.
Extended Course Description
The Senior Thesis is the required capstone course for majors in Cultural Studies. We will work together as a group of writers and scholars who support each other through the research and writing process. The endpoint of the course will be a research essay created through peer review, intensive work in class, individual writing and research, and one-on-one conferences.
Texts: No texts required.
Topics in Contemporary Social Philosophy: War and Culture
Monday's 6:30 - 9:15 pm
Course Description: This class begins with the assertion that 9/11/2001 was an event that changed the course of history. We will examine the various cultural symptoms of this change; in particular, how war (a generalized state of exception, a war declared against a state-less entity and idea, and which has no end it sight) has affected culture (for example, the way we consume, through TV, film, video games, the cultural capital of war). In a word, we will study the way the practices of everyday life (culture) have become blurred and intermingled with the suspension of law and acts of aggression (war). We look at film and read critical theory essays on the topic.
Regarding the Pain of Others, Sontag, Susan, (2003) ISBN 13: 978-0-312-42219-6
Welcome to the Desert of the Real, Zizek slavoj (2012) ISBN 13: 978-1-78168-019-3