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COMPLIT 10SC: The Cult of Happiness: Pursuing the Good Life in America and China (CHINA 10SC)

The 2006 film Pursuit of Happyness, an unabashed celebration of the American Dream, was enthusiastically embraced by Chinese audiences. It seems that the pursuit of happiness has become truly globalized, even as the American Dream is slipping away for many. Are Americans still convinced that their conception of happiness is a self-evident truth and a universal gospel? Is there anything that Americans might learn about what it means to live a good life from not only the distant past, but also cultures in which happiness is envisioned and sought after very differently? This course takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the question of happiness and invites undergraduate students to reflect on its relationship to wealth, wisdom, health, love, pleasure, virtue, justice, and solidarity. Giving equal weight to Chinese and Western sources, it seeks to defamiliarize some of the most deeply held ideas and values in American society through the lens of cross-cultural inquiry.<br><br>nnDuring the summer, students will read a selection of novels, memoirs, and reflections by philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists. In September, we will review these texts and place them alongside movies, short fiction, news stories, and social commentary while we interrogate the chimera of happiness. In addition, we will experiment with meditation, short-form life writing (including mock-obituaries!), and service-learning.
Terms: Sum | Units: 2
Instructors: ; Lee, H. (PI)

COMPLIT 15SC: Who Belongs at Stanford? Discussions of a Different Sort of Education (CSRE 11SC)

You've finished your first year of university. You have taken the required first year courses, you hope you have explored enough, you are anxious about choosing a major. You know the campus fairly well, you have perhaps made some friends, you have some sort of routine. But you have the nagging feeling that so much of this is simply an illusion. The question then becomes, do you throw your faith, mind, and your body into that illusion (everyone else seems to), or do you risk the chance of missing a step by spending some time in Sophomore College reflecting on the immediate past and the future, with others who have similar questions. nnYou may feel that the generalizations you heard in Year 1 about liberal education seem remote from your life experiences; you may have wished you could have engaged in more in-depth discussions, but that there was not time or interest in approaching the subject matter as you would have wanted to. We are then faced with the very important question: What happens when 'diverse' populations are recruited to places like Stanford, and then asked to constrain or reshape their diversity for the sake of belonging? n nWe will discuss how this small-scale exercise in intellectual exploration can be read as a correlate for how individuals and societies work. What kinds of identities, values, stories count, and which do not? Liberal ideologies and principles may sound nice, but liberalism tends to flounder when presented with practical real-world issues like employment, health care, police brutality, pandemics, environmental degradation, and yes, education. n nThere are two required texts for the course, first, Brazilian educator Paolo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed. What Freire proposes is a way of teaching and learning that is the antithesis of what he calls the 'banking model of education.' The banking model works this way¿schools deposit learning into your account, and you withdraw it when you need it. Little, if any thought, is placed upon what exactly that currency is, and why it's of any value. Freire's pedagogy is exactly the opposite¿people act together to determine their learning goals - what they want to accomplish in the world--negotiate how best to arrive at those goals. They belong to the community because they are the creators of that community. nThe second texts are essays by the seminal Black feminist scholar, bell hooks. Author of more than 30 books, hooks started life in poverty in rural Kentucky, then won admission to Stanford, and went on to be a prolific writer, educator, and activist. She was deeply influenced by Freire. Ultimately, the task that both Freire and hooks addressed was to alter the condition of oppression through approaching the idea of education in a radically different manner. All remaining readings, activities, speakers, will be the product of our collective discussions come to the first day of class with your ideas, thoughts, and music (see below). This summer we will aim to do the following: Get to know and trust each other, and to support each other¿s explorations, questions, tentative answers. Pause and reflect on things that we feel we have not been able to really grapple with yet. Learn how others have challenged normative ideas about what an educational community might look like.Think of ways of sustaining our support for each other into the sophomore year.
Terms: Sum | Units: 2
Instructors: ; Palumbo-Liu, D. (PI)

COMPLIT 207: Why is Climate Change Un-believable? Interdisciplinary Approaches to Environmental Action

The science is there. The evidence is there. Why do people still refuse to recognize one of the greatest threats to human existence? Why can't, why won't they believe the truth? The time to act is slowly evaporating before our eyes. To answer this question requires an interdisciplinary approach that investigates many of the ways global warming has been analyzed, imagined, represented, and evaluated. Thus we welcome students of any major willing to embark on this common project and to participate fully. We will challenge ourselves to move between and amongst texts that are familiar and those we will bring into the conversation. There will be much that we miss, but we hope this course will at least begin a serious conversation in a unique way. The course will run on two parallel tracks: on the one hand, we will delve into textual representations and arguments; on the other hand, we will attempt to develop a sensibility for how climate change makes itself manifest in the physical world through a series of workshops and site visits in the Bay Area. The first track of this course will center on the discussion of three science fiction novels: The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh, The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, and Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. The second track of this course is comprised of a series of workshops that aims to develop spatial and material literacy relevant to climate change awareness. It will engage topics such as: scale, atmosphere, measure, material reciprocity, and garbage repurposing. One of the primary goals of this course is to not only understand the problem of climate change, but also how to best act upon it. Thus the required final assignment for this class can be a recommendation for action based on a critical review of the topic of climate change and already existing activism. It can take the form of a paper, a video, an installation art project, a podcast, etc.. But in all cases your work must analytically engage the specific medium of literary expression.
Terms: Sum | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: ; Palumbo-Liu, D. (PI)

COMPLIT 398L: Literary Lab (ENGLISH 398L)

Gathering and analyzing data, constructing hypotheses and designing experiments to test them, writing programs [if needed], preparing visuals and texts for articles or conferences. Requires a year-long participation in the activities of the Lab.
Terms: Win, Sum | Units: 2-5 | Repeatable 2 times (up to 10 units total)
Instructors: ; Algee-Hewitt, M. (PI)

COMPLIT 680: Curricular Practical Training

CPT course required for international students completing degree. Prerequisite: Comparative Literature Ph.D. candidate.
Terms: Sum | Units: 1-3 | Repeatable for credit
Instructors: ; Greene, R. (PI)
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