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Academics . Liberal Arts . Courses

Liberal Arts Courses

Introduction to African + African-American Literature

Course No. LLC 411  Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s) Writing + Inquiry I: Basic Composition + Contemporary Ideas | Writing + Inquiry I: Basic Composition + Contemporary Ideas | Writing + Inquiry II: Research + Intellectual Traditions | Writing + Inquiry II: Research + Intellectual Traditions

This course will focus on traditional Africa up to the threshold of the European colonization of the continent. The African texts as a whole offer a brief introduction to traditional African thoughts and ways of life and also to the growing incursion of colonialism. The course highlights the paramountcy of kinship care, communal life, and individual fulfillment in harmony with society. It also stresses a social thinking underlain by a collective unconscious of the inseparableness of the living and the dead, the physical and the metaphysical. The African-American texts taken all together highlight, notably from Harlem Renaissance, significant stages of the African-American cultural-literary expressions of their socio-historical experience and an attendant sense of religion manifested particularly through the Black Church. The subtext of this course is to see if traditional life, an example of which is traditional Africa, still has any value for the technological world of today. Fulfills Humanities/Cultural Studies distribution requirement or non-western requirement. Creative Writing Concentration course. Prerequisites: LLC 101 and LLC 102.

Creative Writing Concentration: Body of Work

Course No. LLC 415-415C  Credits: 1.5
Prerequisite(s) Writing + Inquiry I: Basic Composition + Contemporary Ideas | Writing + Inquiry I: Basic Composition + Contemporary Ideas | Writing + Inquiry II: Research + Intellectual Traditions | Writing + Inquiry II: Research + Intellectual Traditions

Required of seniors pursuing the Creative Writing Concentration. Not open as an elective. Fall and spring semesters required. Prerequisites: LLC 101 and LLC 102.

Graphic Narratives

Course No. LLC 419  Credits: 3.0

Are you fascinated by the graphic novel (or nonfiction)? In this class, we will investigate a variety of ways that texts and images (specifically illustrations and photographs) interact to tell stories: how the visual and the verbal engage and catalyze each other, how they can reflect and inflect, reinforce, strengthen and gesture to each other in compelling, powerful and meaningful ways. To this end, the class will examine and practice different methods used in telling both personal and fictional stories. The course will also involve working at understanding different ways that graphic narratives have been, and may be, theorized. Assignments will include critical responses to our readings and a creative project involving an integration of writing and visual media. Primary readings are likely to include, but are not limited to, work by: Art Spiegelman, Marjane Satrapi, Alan Moore, Craig Thompson, and others. Films we watch may include Spirited Away, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, and Rashomon. Fulfills Humanities/Cultural Studies distribution requirement. Creative Writing Concentration course or Visual Culture Emphasis course. Prerequisites: LLC 101 and LLC 102.

Writing Across Gender

Course No. LLC 424  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Sarah Minor
Prerequisite(s) Writing + Inquiry I: Basic Composition + Contemporary Ideas | Writing + Inquiry I: Basic Composition + Contemporary Ideas | Writing + Inquiry II: Research + Intellectual Traditions | Writing + Inquiry II: Research + Intellectual Traditions

This course is designed to outline the contributions of women and non-binary authors to the origins and development of literature from antiquity to the present time. It will focus on the role of gender performance and visibility in literary space and explore questions like “What was ‘women’s writing’ in the 19th century? What is “trans writing” today? It will inquire into the areas of race and social class as they are directly relevant to (or feature as tropes within) the literature comprising our reading list. It also introduces some of the basic theoretical questions that trans and feminist scholarship has raised in connection with gender and writing. Through selected readings, research, and critical discussion, members of this class will become familiar with contemporary literature that thinks about and performs gender, its social/historical contexts, and some of the critical approaches through which it has been considered. Creative Writing Concentration course. Prerequisites: LLC 101 and LLC 102. Formerly Womans' Words.

Culture, Conflict, and Syncretism

Course No. LLC 441  Credits: 3.0

This course is primarily concerned with the dialectic of multiculturality and multidimensionality. Africans under colonialism, like most of the Third World at one time or the other, were confronted with the overwhelming encroachment of European/Western/Christian ways of life and thought alien to them. Yet Africa still struggles up till today to preserve its integrity, its intrinsic identity, notably in the form of neotraditionalism. This vortex of cultural interplay in Africa has led to socio- cultural phenomenon described as deracination or “the crisis in the soul” (Achebe) or “triple heritage/cultural accommodation” (Ali Mazrui). In postmodernist terms, it has led to syncretism. The course will also explore analogies from the multidimensional art, mainly from the interchange between visual and literary arts. Fulfills Humanities/Cultural Studies distribution requirement. Creative Writing Concentration course.

Narrative Art + Mythic Patterns in African + African-American Literature

Course No. LLC 471  Credits: 3.0

This course will focus on the various artistic ways African and African-American imaginative writers create a narrative interlock of mythic and contemporary materials to formulate in postcolonial and postmodernist terms an essentialist condition of their people's experience, while a number of them explore the interface of classical and African myths for an informed global vision. Their works are largely structured with images and symbols endowed with dynamic moral and spiritual significance. They problematize the African thinking underlain by the inseparableness of the natural world and the supernatural realm, the human and the divine, the animate and the inanimate, just as this inseparableness also aesthetically underlies the relationship between the naturalistic and the abstract in both African visual art and Harlem Renaissance. There is in postcolonial African literature, and in many 'Third World' countries, a new narrative art-form which can be called 'animist realism.' It is critically regarded as contesting the dominant protocol of conventional (Western) realist narrative which is predicated on knowability and linearity. We will also look at how the interface between oral art (free text) and written art (fixed text) mediates between fiction and history in this new form of narrative realism. And there will be an ample number of videos for visual elucidation. Fulfills Humanities/Cultural Studies distribution requirement. Creative Writing Concentration course.

Chinese Poetry

Course No. LLC 477  Credits: 3.0

The purpose of this course is two-fold: first, to determine, through intensive readings in translation from the work of representative poets, what characterizes Chinese poetic achievement and, second to articulate our own informed response to these poems. Primary emphasis will be placed on the lyric mode as it develops from its origins in the Book of Songs (compiled c. 600BCE) through its golden age in the T'ang and Sung dynasties. Continuing attention will be paid to the tension between public and private commitment expressed by poets who choose between, attempt to resolve, or transcend these commitments. Topics for special consideration include the classical Chinese language as a vehicle for poetic expression and Chinese calligraphy as an exercise in dynamic proportions, the technical requirements of two major lyric forms, nature as a source of both inspiration and poetic metaphor, and the didactic and individualist traditions of Chinese literary criticism. Fulfills Humanities/Cultural Studies distribution requirement. Creative Writing Concentration course.

Basic Theories of Psychology

Course No. SNS 308  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Valentino Zullo

This course will offer an overview of the basic theories of psychology and how they apply to human development. We will explore the questions of what motivates people to do what they do. How and why do people change as they grow from infants to adults? How do we develop in our ability to play, to work, to love and to be ethical human beings? The course will cover the major personality theories of Freud and his understanding of the unconscious, Erickson, Jung with his description of the shadows and archetypes in the human mind and Rogers' humanistic psychology as well as learning theories and systems of moral development. The course will also cover the major feminist critiques of these systems. There will be a brief overview of psychological problems such as major depression, schizophrenia, phobias, etc., as well as some methods of treatment.

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Mary Assad

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