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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alka Kurian
B CUSP 115
Bothell Campus

Discovery Core II: Individuals and Society

Addresses an important social issue through an interdisciplinary perspective, continues to build creative and critical skills, and focuses on the relationship between the individual and society. Offered: W.

Class description

Rapid urbanization and mass-scale rural exodus has led to the most profound and dramatic social changes in the post-World War II period across the globe. There are more people living in cities today than in the villages and a third of them are trapped in slums, shanty towns, chawls, or favelas. This course will examine the pathos, predicament, and agency of the so-called slum-dwellers, and investigate their representations in global literary and cinematic texts. If the shining cosmopolitan city occupies the center of the discourse of globalization, this course will investigate the unsavory reality of the city’s “Other” and look from close the lives of the subaltern and the marginalized that are caught in the peripheries of urban metropolises in India, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the United States.

Student learning goals

Gain a critical insight into the complexity of global slums and urbanity, the forces of neo-liberalism, the laws that enforce segregation, and the invasion of people’s land.

Be able to critically reflect on the concepts of global flows of people and capital, communal belonging, poverty, crime, and the construction of the new working class.

Be able to empathize with the strategies of dissent and resistance of the marginalized "others".

Understand the interconnectedness of cinema and literature with politics, society, and culture.

Become familiar with the language and tools of analysis of film and fiction as aesthetic constructs.

Be able to demonstrate in writing, group presentations, and discussions, the ability to think creatively and critically.

General method of instruction

The class will use a combination of lectures, seminars, student-led discussions, group work, oral presentations, and film screenings.

Recommended preparation

None

Class assignments and grading

Class participation and preparation, quizzes, Take-home midterm paper, and Student Group Presentation.

Class participation and preparation: 15% Quizzes: 25% Take-home midterm paper: 30% Student Group Presentation: 30%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Alka Kurian
Date: 10/18/2011