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TAPS 258: Black Feminist Theater and Theory (AFRICAAM 258, CSRE 258, FEMGEN 258X)

From the rave reviews garnered by Angelina Weld Grimke's lynching play, Rachel to recent work by Lynn Nottage on Rwanda, black women playwrights have addressed key issues in modern culture and politics. We will analyze and perform work written by black women in the U.S., Britain and the Caribbean in the 20th and 21st centuries. Topics include: sexuality, surrealism, colonialism, freedom, violence, colorism, love, history, community and more. Playwrights include: Angelina Grimke, Lorriane Hansberry, Winsome Pinnock, Adrienne Kennedy, Suzan- Lori Parks, Ntzoke Shange, Pearl Cleage, Sarah Jones, Anna DeVeare Smith, Alice Childress, Lydia Diamond and Zora Neale Hurston.)
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 2: The Art of Living

Where do our ideals for living come from, and how should they be structured? How do we justify them in the face of criticism? What role do great works of art play in this creative process?nnnOur lives are not simply given to us, but also something we make: as we examine the circumstances of our existence, recognizing certain facts as immutable and others as subject to our control, each of us faces the challenge of fashioning out of them a way of living that is both meaningful and justifiable. The Art of Living will explore different ways to think about the nature of that challenge ¿ how to accommodate conflicting demands and values, how to make our choices ¿artfully,¿ how we might use works of imaginative literature to inspire us. We will read important works of literature and philosophy, each of which implies a different value by which to live, whether reason, authenticity, community, art, or faith. In each case, you will be presented with different perspectives and asked to work out for yourself what you find most persuasive, thereby fine-tuning skills essential to your own lifelong project of self-construction.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 7: Journeys

Is death final or only the beginning of another journey? How do the mysteries of destination give rise to our most basic questions of purpose, meaning, and faith, and challenge us to consider our proper relation to others? Journeys will examine works written across a span of some 2,300 years, from Chinese philosophy to American short stories. Each of these forms and genres presents some essential aspect of the journey we all share, and of the various passages we make within that one great journey that relentlessly challenge and transform us even as we advance toward what the poet Thomas Gray called our "inevitable hour." By reading, discussing, and interpreting these works, we will ask you to consider how each text compels us, by the penetration of its vision and the power of its art, to make part of our own journey in its company.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 8: Sustainability and Collapse

What does it mean to live sustainably? How do our different definitions of nature ¿ scientific, literary, cultural, and historical ¿ shape the way we answer that question? nnSustainability and Collapse will explore what people in different places and periods of time have envisioned as successful ways of living with nature and how such ways of life have come under pressure. We will focus particularly on the interface between scientific and humanistic approaches to questions of environmental sustainability through a study of novels, historical texts, and works of biogeography. You will learn to ask how textual and visual images inform our ideas about what it means to live sustainably. We will then consider whether those ideas are in accordance with or in conflict with scientific understandings of human uses of nature. This course takes on some of the fundamental problems that presently confront our global community.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 9: Technological Visions of Utopia

How do science and technology shape the frameworks for imagining utopian or dystopian societies? Sir Thomas More gave a name to the philosophical ideal of a good society - a word that is now a part of common language: utopia. In the almost 500 years since More's Utopia appeared, changes in society - including enormous advances in science and technology - have opened up new possibilities for the utopian society that More and his predecessors could not have envisioned. At the same time science and technology also entail risks that suggest more dystopian scenarios - in their most extreme form, threats to humanity's very survival. We will look at several works that consider how literary visions of society have evolved with the progress of science and technology. The readings begin with More and include examples of more technologically determined visions of the late 20th century, as imagined in works of fiction.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 21: Folklore and Literature in Russia and Beyond: Vampires, Talking Cats, and Frog Princesses

What is 'folklore' and what is its purpose? How do we decide if something is authentically 'folk' and does it matter? Why are Eastern Europe and Russia associated with the idea of folklore? For the past two centuries, writers, composers, and artists have found inspiration in folklore: the stories, songs, and beliefs of their grandparents, their servants (or their slaves), and their neighbors. This class asks what folklore means and what purposes - political and philosophical as well as artistic - it can serve. We begin with examples from around the world: the German Brothers Grimm as well as the Americans John and Alan Lomax. Then we turn to Eastern Europe and the role it has played in the Western European and American imagination as the home of the archaic and the authentic, from the vampires of Transylvania to the oral epics of the Bosnian Serbs to the nostalgic idea of the Jewish shtetl to the fantasy of Soviet communism as a survival of a pre-capitalist order. Students will analyze both folk and elite texts, and will experiment with gathering oral texts and transforming them just like the writers we studied.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-CE | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 24: Evil

What is evil? Are we naturally good or evil? How should we respond to evil? There are many books and courses that focus on the good life or the virtues. Yet despite their obvious apparent presence in our life and world, evil and the vices are rarely taken as explicit topics. We will read philosophical and literary texts that deal with the question of evil at a theoretical level, but will also focus on some practical implications of these issues. By exploring evil, we will confront larger questions about the nature of human beings, the appropriate aims of the good society, the function of punishment, and the place of morality in art.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 31: Race and American Memory

How have Americans remembered the Civil War - what it meant, what it accomplished, and what it failed to accomplish? How did Americans reimagine the United States as a nation after the war? Who belonged in the national community and who would be excluded? In 1865, the peace treaty was signed at Appomattox and the Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery, but the battle over memory and national identity had just begun. The questions that the Civil War addressed - and failed to address - continue to affect our lives today. We will focus on how Americans negotiated issues of cultural memory and national identity through a close analysis of historical texts, novels, poems, films, paintings, cartoons, photographs, and music. Our interpretations will foreground the particular themes of race and nationhood, freedom and citizenship, and changing notions of individual and collective identity. Our assumption in this course is that history is not available to us as a set of events - fixed, past, and more »
How have Americans remembered the Civil War - what it meant, what it accomplished, and what it failed to accomplish? How did Americans reimagine the United States as a nation after the war? Who belonged in the national community and who would be excluded? In 1865, the peace treaty was signed at Appomattox and the Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery, but the battle over memory and national identity had just begun. The questions that the Civil War addressed - and failed to address - continue to affect our lives today. We will focus on how Americans negotiated issues of cultural memory and national identity through a close analysis of historical texts, novels, poems, films, paintings, cartoons, photographs, and music. Our interpretations will foreground the particular themes of race and nationhood, freedom and citizenship, and changing notions of individual and collective identity. Our assumption in this course is that history is not available to us as a set of events - fixed, past, and unchanging. Rather, history is known through each generation's interpretations of those events, and these interpretations are shaped by each generation's lived experience. What stories get told? Whose stories? And in what ways? The stories we choose to tell about the past can shape not only our understanding of the present, but also the kind of future we imagine and strive to realize.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 41: The Conscious Mind: The Philosophy and Biology of Consciousness, Memory, and Personal Identity

How do our common-sense conceptions of the mind and of ourselves hold up against the growing body of psychological and neurobiological knowledge of the brain? How is your mental life anchored to your physical self?nYou wake up from a dreamless sleep and suddenly everything's buzzing with color and sound. Somehow your brain sustains this rich landscape of experience, integrating it with a repertoire of memories to constitute yourself. This course probes the neurobiological bases of these familiar yet miraculous facets of the mind. You'll learn to analyze primary philosophical and scientific texts, using basic knowledge of the brain to assess and even innovate experiments that could shed light on the nature of consciousness and personal identity.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-SMA | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 43: What is love?

Is love a spiritual or a bodily phenomenon? Is the concept of love timeless or ever changing? How does thinking about love lead us to ask other important philosophical and social questions? In this course we will examine the classical roots, medieval developments, and contemporary permutations of Western ideas of romantic love. With an eye to thinking about representations of love in our own culture, we consider some of the foundational love books of the Western tradition. From Plato's Symposium to Chester Brown's graphic novel Paying For It, we ask the fundamental question of whether and how we might distinguish between spiritual and physical desire. We consider how medieval and contemporary writers dealt with the relation of love to sex, power, money, marriage, and gender. We discuss these works of the past, for example the illicit love in the courtly romance Tristan, in tandem with representations of clandestine love from the present day, such as the portrayal of same-sex love in Brokeback Mountain.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
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