Stuart Alan Streichler
B CUSP 131
Various topics designed to respond to curricular interests and needs for first-year students. Offered: AWSp.
Course Overview: The purpose of this course is to introduce students to fundamental questions of politics through the study of literature. Students will consider enduring political questions of power, authority, liberty, justice, individualism, and social order through a wide range of literary texts, including ancient Greek epic poetry, Shakespearean tragedy, and a novel of the American West. Literary works are regularly supplemented with explanatory readings to provide background and context. The course is divided into four sections. The first three develop particular themes: (1) force and conflict; (2) authority and disobedience; and (3) politics and principle. The final section is devoted to Shakespeare's political ideas; this quarter concerning freedom, gender, and love.
Student learning goals
Students will learn to analyze literature through a variety of texts; understand the basic elements of various literary genres; read literary works carefully; develop skills in interpreting complex narratives; analyze relationships between individuals, institutions, and authority.
To compare and contrast diverse cultural traditions.
To evaluate the relationship between language and power.
To critically evaluate competing interpretations about political society.
To recognize and engage various perspectives on fundamental political questions.
To use evidence and logic in writing essays about literature and politics.
General method of instruction
Some basic knowledge of literature and politics would be helpful.
Class assignments and grading
There will likely be two tests and a paper. Students may also be expected to make a presentation before the class.
Grades will be assigned based on the presentation, tests, the paper, and class participation.