Barbara J Henry
Introduces important trends and movements in Russian literary and cultural history. Offered in English.
Underworlds are both real and metaphoric: subways and coalmines, Hades and Hell, criminal subcultures, political undergrounds, horror-movie basements and windowless office cubicles. Stories of these underworlds address the most profound questions of our lives: what happens after we die? Where do we come from? Where are we going? What are our responsibilities to our world, each other, ourselves? This class looks at works of art and literature from Russia, the US, and Europe, set in many different underworlds, which intersect with and shape our perceptions of the world around us today.
Student learning goals
You will learn to recognize the mythic underworld and understand how it functions not only in art, but in your own life.
General method of instruction
Lecture & discussion
No prerequisites, but a willingness to be creative is encouraged.
Class assignments and grading
Students will be asked to bring in one example from contemporary culture that makes use of the underworld tropes we'll be examining. Class participation will be 40% of the grade; final project will consist of either a paper on a topic of the student's choosing, or a creative project on student's personal conception of the underworld & afterlife.
Participation, final project.