FALL 2016 FWIS Course Schedule

Check out the Profile of a FWIS blogposts for more information about the different FWIS courses offered.

FWIS 105      Greek Myth in Words
FWIS 106      Marriage, Inc.
FWIS 107       In the Matrix
FWIS 108      Graphic Novels
FWIS 109      Art and Environment
FWIS 113       Race, Policy, & Racial Change
FWIS 117       Art in Place & Places for Art
FWIS 118       Music, Myth, and Madness
FWIS 120      Fiction and Empathy
FWIS 121       Time Travel Narratives
FWIS 122      Leaders and Leadership
FWIS 123      Star Wars & Writing Culture
FWIS 124      Witnessing the Holocaust
FWIS 125      Your Arabian Nights
FWIS 130      Writing Everyday Life
FWIS 135      Childhood on Film
FWIS 137      Pop Music and American Culture

FWIS 139      Natives in 19th C. America
FWIS 150      The World of Medieval Medicine
FWIS 155      Fakes, Forgeries, & Stolen Art
FWIS 156      Frontiers of Biomed Research
FWIS 157      Archaeology of Food
FWIS 160      Life Narrative
FWIS 163      Medical Humanities
FWIS 167      The Figures of Jesus and Paul in Antiquity
FWIS 171       Word Magic
FWIS 180      Legacies of 1960s America
FWIS 184      Religion and Sports in America
FWIS 185      Contemporary American Poetry
FWIS 188      Eng Design & Communication
FWIS 191       Literature and Public Health
FWIS 192      The Roaring Twenties
FWIS 193      Banned Books and Other Dangers
FWIS 197      Déjà vu: Literary Adaptations
FWIS 199     Jews on Film

FWIS 105   Greek Myth in Words: Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns

Mackie, Hilary・TR 2:30-3:45・D1
This course introduces you to texts that are integral to the mythology, literature, and culture of ancient Greece. Hesiod’s Theogony, a creation narrative, includes the epic battle between the Olympian gods and the Titans. The Homeric Hymns celebrate individual Olympian gods and goddesses. The Works and Days is an early Greek example of wisdom literature. Hesiod, as poet, challenges the authority of the local kings and educates his community about justice and the value of hard work. The course introduces you to these important texts through the regular practice of close reading, writing, and spoken discussion. You will learn to develop and articulate your own interpretations of them in response to the views of others, including your classmates. The assignments and in-class activities will help you to hone your communication skills, and to employ reading, writing, and speaking in the service of critical thinking. (All works read in English translation.)

FWIS 106   Marriage, Inc.

Michie, Helena・TR 10:50-12:05・D1
This course looks at literary and cultural representations of marriage in the Anglo-American tradition: from Renaissance marriage bed poetry, to marriage plot novels and films, to present-day debates about the status of marriage as an institution. We will also explore cross-cultural and historical conceptions of marriage. This course is eligible for credit toward the major in English.

FWIS 107   In the Matrix: On Human Bondage and Liberation

Wood, Philip・Thursdays 1:00-3:50・D1
Using the film The Matrix as the point of reference, this course presents celebrated explorations of servitude and emancipation—from religious mysticism to Marxism and artistic modernism. Texts by Lao Tzu, Farid ud-Din Attar, Plato, Freud, Marx, Baudelaire, J.S. Mill, Proust, de Beauvior, Malcolm X, Marcuse, Baudrillard.  [Note: this course was previously taught as FWIS 103.]

FWIS 108   Graphic Novels and the Art of Communication

Messmer, David・MWF 10:00-10:50・D1
While the image of spandex clad superheroes still dominates perceptions of graphic novels, the medium has evolved into a varied and complex form of expression in the decades since Superman’s first appearance in Action Comics (1938). From their inception, though, graphic novels have always showed a deep connection to the historical events, anxieties, and struggles that surrounded their creation. In this course, we will examine graphic novels from a variety of perspectives, including the historical, the political, the social, and the literary. Students will develop research skills through an engagement with the growing critical literature on graphic novels, and will strengthen communication skills by writing and presenting analyses of the cultural relevance of graphic novels, all while maintaining an awareness of the formal properties that make them such a unique and diverse medium.


 Fluvial Intervention Unit by Lucy and Jorge Orta ( image credit )

Fluvial Intervention Unit by Lucy and Jorge Orta (image credit)

NEW! FWIS 109   Contemporary Art and Environment

Dib, Lina・TR 1:00-2:15・D1
This course delves into questions of environment, ecology and sustainability through the lens of contemporary art. From earthworks, to performance, to land art, activist art, and community-based practices, participants engage critically and creatively with various contemporary practices. We discuss works that put art and environment into conversation by using landscapes as raw material and by highlighting our relationship to local and global ecological systems. Throughout the course, we explore how art provides ways to rescript interactions with our environment. Students work to design and create their own projects. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of much of the work we view, discuss, and propose, we read across a wide range of disciplines, including media studies, design, urban planning, humanities, art and anthropology. The course involves excursions to landfills, museums, gardens and other visits led by experts. This course is eligible for credit toward the Environmental Studies minor.

NEW! FWIS 113   Race, Public Policy, and Racial Change in America

Marschall, Melissa・TR 9:25-10:40・D2
This course provides an introduction to race and public policy in the United States. We will examine the different ways in which race and political representation have been conceptualized and studied in America and how has race been intertwined with public policy development in the 20th century. The course will also explore how American political institutions have shaped outcomes for different racial groups, focusing on several contemporary public policy areas—e.g., education, housing, policing and incarceration, and voting rights. Finally, the last section of the course will focus on issues of mobilization and change: What political victories have racial minorities achieved, where and in what ways does public policy in America now provide equal protections and equality of opportunity to racial minorities? How have political mobilization and participation contributed to racial change in the United States?

 The Light Inside by James Turrell

The Light Inside by James Turrell

NEW! FWIS 117   Art in Place and Places for Art

Grenader, Nonya・TR 2:30-3:45・D1
Students will look closely at a curated selection of influential, Houston‐based works of art, installations, and architecture from the past century to understand the context and ideas behind the emergence of modern and contemporary art and design. They will observe, analyze, and describe these primary sources using both words and images. Through a sequence of reading, observing, and responding, students will: understand methods of viewing original work to observe nuances of color, form, style, material, massing, and context; develop skills for conveying their observations to audiences using words (written and spoken) and images (photography, collage, diagram, drawing, etc.) in precise and descriptive ways; learn strategies for preparing questions for active participation in class discussions and site visits; apply techniques for planning, editing, and revising their responses; and learn various approaches for synthesizing ideas in a final paper and presentation, comparing or contrasting several works of art viewed during the semester.

FWIS 118   Music, Myth and Madness: Studies in Musical Biography

Ferris, David・TR 1:00-2:15・D1
Biographical narratives about musicians typically borrow from mythology and literature and treat their subjects as creative heroes who defy societal conventions and devote themselves wholly to their art. In this seminar we will study memoirs, scholarly biographies, novels, and films that are concerned with a wide range of musicans, including J. S. Bach, Bob Dylan, Thelonius Monk, Mozart, and Robert and Clara Schumann. We will focus on the themes of genius, creative inspiration, and madness and on the literary and cinematic techniques that biographers use to bring their subjects to life. Students will also be introduced to the music of these composers and performers, but no musical background is necessary.  


FWIS 120   Fiction and Empathy

Nixon, Burke・MWF 1:00-1:50・D1
Is there a link between reading literary fiction and empathizing with others? A much-discussed 2013 article in Science seemed to answer this question in the affirmative, but writers and readers have been making (and challenging) similar claims for almost as long as the novel has existed. In this course, we’ll explore and debate the question ourselves. What does empathy actually mean? What’s the difference between empathy and compassion? Can a work of fiction actually change the way we perceive others in real life? We’ll read and write about the work of fiction writers who are often praised for their ability to inhabit the consciousness of their characters, as well as contemporary authors who attempt to do the same thing in different ways. We’ll also examine and debate what literary critics and authors themselves have claimed on this topic, focusing in particular on the elements of fiction and how those elements might provoke empathy.

FWIS 121   Time Travel Narratives: Fiction, Film, Science

Richardson, Laura・MWF 2:00-2:50・D1
From an aesthetic perspective, time travel has existed as long as there have been stories: narrative is time tourism. Narrative introduces alien temporalities, transporting listeners and readers into different temporal landscapes. Throughout the twentieth century, science and science fiction participated in a shared economy of inspiration, each stirring the other to new creative potential. This course investigates the historical, aesthetic, and scientific connections between the authorial and scientific co-creation of time travel. Our central quests will be to define the relationship between scientific and narrative jumps through time, as well as forge, as a class, a general understanding of how our culture represents time travel, given not just technological limitations, but also the historico-cultural limiting factors of gender, race, politics, and language.  

FWIS 122   Leaders and Leadership: What We Know, What We Believe

Cornwell, John・TR 2:30-3:45・D2
For over a hundred years, social scientists have studied leaders and leadership. The popular press and media pundits continue to expound on the topic with conflicting views. Students will explore what they believe and what science informs us about leaders and leadership and share their analyses through discussions, writing, and oral presentations. This course does not study individual leaders but instead is devoted to learning about scholarship in the field of leadership and applying it to better understanding oneself as a leader. Besides writing about their leadership experiences and applying leadership scholarship in analyzing those experiences, students will also create visual images about leadership using digital technologies and share them with each other.

NEW! FWIS 123   Star Wars and the Writing of Popular Culture

Messmer, David・MWF 11:00-11:50・D1
From Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” speech to Hilary Clinton’s declaration at the end of a recent primary debate, “May the Force Be with You,” the Star Wars franchise has entered our national vocabulary in ways that no one could have imagined upon its release in 1977. This course will unpack the stakes of that discourse through a variety of disciplinary approaches. Why did the Star Wars franchise and its hopeful message emerge out of a popular culture rife with cynicism, and why does it continue to resonate today? What does the franchise’s popularity reveal about our nation’s relationship to issues of imperialism, race, gender, and spirituality? Are these films merely escapist fun, reaffirming a nostalgic vision of America, or are they a vehicle for cultural and social critique? Writing assignments in the class will challenge students to address these questions, while engaging the ever-expanding scholarly discourse surrounding the films.


NEW! FWIS 124   Witnessing the Holocaust

Oesmann, Astrid・MWF 1:00-1:50・D1
This course will examine selected testimony given by Holocaust survivors. Their testimony varies according to time and the circumstance in which it was given, and also according to the genre (film, memoir, drama) in which it is presented. Representation then will also be a continuous field of exploration throughout the course, as students will examine how to speak and write about this challenging topic.

NEW! FWIS 125   Your Arabian Nights

Sanders, Paula・TR 4:00-5:15・D1
The Arabian Nights is one of the best known yet poorly understood literary masterpieces. It has been passed down orally, in writing, in performance and film; in multiple languages; and with different collections of stories. What is your Arabian Nights? Is it one of the many Arabic versions? The famous Burton translation? Disney's Sinbad? Alladin or Ali Baba? Scheherezade the storyteller? Robert Louis Stevenson's stories? Do you know it as a collection of stories or a group of colorful characters? We will consider stories of the Nights through both a literary and historical lens, and we will consider stories, films and works of art that were inspired by the Nights in different cultures.


FWIS 130   Writing Everyday Life

Dib, Lina・TR 10:50-12:05・D2
This course is dedicated to the poetics of everyday life. It introduces its participants to cultural and historical writing that draws from the real world and from the forms and colors of the ordinary. First, we will experiment with some non-fiction writing styles, from journalistic, to poetic, to documentary and ethnographic. Then, shifting the focus from writing styles to writing topics, the course will delve into how we experience landscapes, bodies, and objects in prosaic ways. We will develop reading, research, writing, and presentation skills through creative assignments and workshops. Engaging in fieldwork around Houston, we will practice observational and literary tactics, such as experimenting with rhythm and repetition, shifting scales from the micro to the macro, and making the strange familiar or the familiar strange. In short, we will explore, evaluate, and communicate the everyday. This course is eligible for credit toward the major in Anthropology.


FWIS 135   Childhood on Film

Oukaderova, Lida・TR 9:25-10:40・D1
This seminar will examine the filmic representation of childhood across diverse historical periods and places. We will utilize a variety of critical perspectives to explore the place childhood occupies in modern cultures—and particularly, how cinema contributes to and complicates our understanding of that place. Of particular concern will be issues including children’s relations to nature, language, and sexuality; modern systems of education; children’s perceptions of race; children in horror films; and filmmakers’ interest in childhood as a metaphor for cinema itself. Our meetings will be grounded in discussion of films and critical texts, with substantial time dedicated to working on students’ writings skills.

FWIS 137   Popular Music and American Culture

Klein, Andrew・Section 1: MWF 3:00-3:50 / Section 2: MWF 4:00-4:50・D1
This course will explore the world of popular American music by looking at a number of recent albums and songs as well as many critical and journalistic writings about music. Ranging from Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love to Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap, and from a novelistic portrayal of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality to a memoir of the Riot Grrrl movement, these texts will also allow us to think critically not only about music itself, but about what other issues (race, gender, sexuality, class, taste, etc.) we talk about when we talk about music. Assignments will include album reviews, song analyses, genre/region presentations, and personal essays.      

 Mattie Tom, Apache, 1899

Mattie Tom, Apache, 1899

NEW! FWIS 139   Beyond Pocahontas: Natives in Nineteenth-Century America

Yarbrough, Fay・MWF 11:00-11:50・D1
This course examines the dramatic change and upheaval experienced by American Indian nations during the nineteenth century: the removal of Southeastern tribes to Indian Territory; the American Civil War, in which several Indian nations experienced their own civil wars as a result of their divided loyalties; and American expansion. Students will read primary sources about these events, and engagement in class discussions about these sources is an important component of this course.

NEW! FWIS 150   The World of Medieval Medicine

Fanger, Claire・Tuesdays 1:00-3:50・D1
How we experience our own bodies is in part culturally conditioned. In the middle ages, medicine is based in the idea that the body (the microcosm) reflects the cosmos (the macrocosm). Christian theology maintains that the body of Jesus holds the divine and human worlds together. Bodily and medical metaphors abound elsewhere: sin is an illness, cured by the medicine of the sacraments; the Christian church is a body with Christ at its head. This seminar will examine the context of the medieval understanding of medicine, exploring the network of relations between natural, social, human, and divine bodies. First-hand accounts by medieval writers provide the main platform from which students can get a picture of medieval people’s relation to their own bodies and the world around them. Secondary readings are drawn from history (especially history of medicine), ritual studies and psychology.


NEW! FWIS 155   Fakes, Forgeries, and Stolen Art

Fuqua, Kariann・TR 9:25-10:40・D1
In 1990, two men dressed as police officers entered the Gardner Museum and stole 13 paintings worth an estimated $300 million dollars. This crime remains unsolved. It has been estimated that 40%—70% of the artwork on the market today is either a fake or a forgery, and countless pieces of art and antiquities have been looted over centuries. It makes sense why faking or stealing art is such a lucrative enterprise. This class will discuss complex issues involving authentication, repatriation, the black market and art law, and scientific advancements in identification technology. Can a copy of a work of art be exactly the same as the original? Why is art often discussed first in terms of monetary value opposed to its cultural or intrinsic value? What, then, is the true value of art or cultural heritage, and what does this say about the societies that exchange it?

FWIS 156   Frontiers of Biomedical Research

Schultz, Andre・MWF 11:00-11:50・D3
New advances in modern medicine emerge every day. Novel treatments are constantly being developed to combat a myriad of different diseases, and researchers continue to unveil basic principles of how our organism operates. In this course, students will be introduced to the research being done in the current major topics in biomedical research. Topics covered in this course will include cancer research, epigenetics, imaging, microbial antibiotic resistance, gut microbiota, stem cell research, and tissue engineering. Throughout the course, students will also be introduced to several experimental techniques that are widely used in general biomedical research, and will develop a deeper understanding of the scientific investigative process. Experimental techniques covered will include gene editing and CRISPR, fluorescent labeling, microscopy, electrophoresis, flow cytometry, and animal experimentation. Reading assignments for this course will draw largely from scientific articles, scientific reviews, and news articles.

NEW! FWIS 157   Archaeology of Food

Morgan, Molly・TR 1:00-2:20・D2
Food is an essential part of human life.  People have sought food not only for sustenance, but also to symbolize, celebrate, innovate, and protest cultural norms since ancient times.  Through the perspective of archaeology this class will explore what we eat, the origins and development of food technologies, ways in which our bodies are affected, and how food acquires cultural meaning.  While learning about how people used to eat and ways in which ancient food choices led to modern cultural preferences, students will be introduced to methods used by archaeologists for understanding the wide human experience.  In our own society the general awareness of food and food culture has become an integral part of contemporary life.  The explicit emphasis on food in this course provides a concrete way to link our own personal experiences with scholarly discourse, and to express our opinions through reflective writing assignments, research papers, and casual classroom presentation.

FWIS 160   Life Narrative

Fax, Joanna・MWF 1:00-1:50・D1
“This is the age of memoir,” observes writer William Zinsser, “everyone has a story to tell, and everyone is telling it.” In addition to telling stories, we are consuming them, thanks to the advent of podcasts, blogs, and other digital formats, at a remarkable rate. This course explores the historical and contemporary significance of life narrative in popular culture—from its origins in the 16th century to the popularity of This American Life. What various, often competing, versions of selfhood does the genre offer us?  What does life narrative reveal about shifting status of the “personal” in different historical and political moments? What counts as life narrative, anyway, and how is it different from autobiography, personal narrative, and memoir (is Facebook a form of life narrative?)? In addition to writing analytically about these and other questions, students will compose their own creative work. 


FWIS 163   Medical Humanities: Literature, Medicine, and the Practice of Empathy

Nixon, Burke・MWF 2:00-2:50・D1
This course will provide an introduction to the field of medical humanities, focusing specifically on narrative medicine and the role narrative can play in illness and the clinical encounter. We’ll also examine the use of literary fiction as a way to increase empathy in doctor-patient interactions, which will lead to a series of questions: Can empathy be taught? If so, can the humanities, and literature in particular, teach it? To help us explore these and other questions, we’ll scrutinize academic research on empathy and fiction, as well as examining some of the most influential texts in the field of medical humanities. We’ll also read medical-themed short stories by Ernest Hemingway, Lorrie Moore, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the physician-writer Anton Chekhov, among others. Writing assignments will range from a work of personal reflection to a research paper and presentation arguing for or against the use of literary fiction in medical schools. 

NEW! FWIS 167   The Figures of Jesus and Paul in Antiquity

Domeracki, Michael・MWF 9:00-9:50・D1
This course examines the growth of Christianity from its origins as a Jewish group to a religion in the mid-second century that distinguished itself from Judaism. The focus of the course is on the development of Jesus and Paul in Early Christianity as leaders and founders of religious movements. This class will be taught thematically to evaluate Jesus and Paul in their Jewish contexts and roles in the early church. This class will consider both canonical and non-canonical materials, as well as appropriate secondary literature.

FWIS 171   Word Magic

Belik, Katerina・TR 10:50-12:05・D2
People create inner models of the world to represent their experience and guide their behavior. How we state and say things has direct impact on how we feel and affect others. Students will be introduced to art of persuasion, learn about the power of words, the importance of word choice, and might of a metaphor. They will learn to create effective messages through understanding patterns of communication and how they can be altered to bring about a change in human behavior. The course offers an opportunity to analyze and discuss various readings related to neuro-linguistics. It suggests recording observations, writing reports and a short research paper.

FWIS 180   The Legacies, Myths, and Memories of 1960s America

Abramson, Sam・MWF 9:00-9:50・D1
In this course, students will analyze and explore the events, legacies, and myths of 1960s America. Perhaps no decade in twentieth-century American history is immortalized quite like the 1960s. Today, the 60s are often couched in the colorful rhetoric of peace and love, complemented by stirring images from the civil rights movement. For the post-World War II generation, the decade brought hopes for a forward-thinking, more inclusive America. While much of the 1960s are fondly remembered for music, art, and activism on university campuses, the decade was also plagued by strife, ranging from the Vietnam War to American inner-city riots to the untimely deaths of several public figures who symbolized the young generation’s ambitions. As this course will demonstrate, the 1960s were a complex, ever-changing decade where struggle and disillusionment often tempered social, cultural, and political change.


NEW! FWIS 184   Gods of the Diamond, the Gridiron, and the Hardwood: Religion and Sports in America

Homewood, Nathanael・MWF 10:00-10:50・D1
From the origins and development of the culture of athletic competition in America through the contemporary professionalization of sport, from James Naismith to Russell Wilson, this course will look at the curious intersection between sport and religion in America. This course will approach this intersection in two distinct ways. The first is, how do religion and sport work together as separate but cooperative entities in culture-shaping. For example, how is God invoked during matches, how do religion and sport cooperate in defining the ideal human body, gender, sexuality etc.? The second is to consider sport as a religion, filled with rituals of its own that make it meaningful and central to those who watch and participate. Each week a case study (an athlete, a team, or an event) will be presented alongside academic works that will help us analyze how the combination of religion and sport in America.

FWIS 185   Contemporary American Poetry

Klein, Andrew・MWF 2:00-2:50・D1
This course will explore the world of contemporary American poetry by looking at some of the most exciting collections to come out in the past few years.  Ranging from the intimate lyrics of Peter Campion’s El Dorado to the minimalist verse of Christina Davis’ An Ethic to the historical polyphony of Amaud Jamaul Johnson’s Darktown Follies, these collections have been chosen: 1) to introduce students to some varieties of American poetry in their literary and historical contexts; 2) to increase each student’s ability to understand and analyze how given poems “work”; 3) to develop each student’s ability to put the results of their engagements with poetry into clear, effective prose; and 4) to build a framework for reading and understanding other types of poetry.  Perhaps more significantly, though, these books will also allow us to ask a larger questions: what, if any role, can poetry play in contemporary life?

NEW! FWIS 188   Introduction to Engineering Design and Communication

Loyo Rosales, Jorge・Section 1: TR 9:25-10:40*・D3
Wettergreen, Matthew・Section 2: TR 9:25-10:40*・D3
First-year students learn the engineering design process and use it to solve meaningful problems drawn from clients such as local hospitals and medical facilities, other local and international companies and organizations, and the Rice University community. Students work collaboratively on a team to design an engineering solution to meet the client’s need, and they use the resources of the OEDK to construct innovative solutions. Documentation is an essential element in the engineering design process. Engineers must be able to communicate the need for a novel design, numerical design objectives, ideas for solutions, and the success or failure of a project. During the engineering design process, students interact and communicate with teammates, the project client, instructors, and potential users. This course covers the same technical content as ENGI 120, Introduction to Engineering Design. This course places additional emphasis on an individual’s development of the written and oral technical communication skills necessary for professional practice, especially results-oriented technical memos and oral presentations.  *both sections are offered in the same time slot

FWIS 191   Literature and Public Health

Hsu, Sophia・TR 4:00-5:15・D1
Zika, Ebola, AIDS, gun violence, birth control, climate change, healthcare reform: these are just some of the wide-ranging issues concerning public health today. But how do the realities of public health correspond with popular conceptions of it? How do depictions of the objects and subjects of public health reinforce, enhance, or complicate our understanding of the position of public health in our contemporary world? This course will examine how these depictions help us rethink our understandings of “health,” as well as our understandings of the “public” that public health policies are supposed to target. Through analyses of novels, short stories, newspaper and journal articles, and films, we will explore the concept of public health and its gendered, racial, class, and global connotations.


FWIS 192   The Roaring Twenties

Richardson, Laura・MWF 3:00-3:50・D1
Jazz. Flappers. Speakeasies. Art Deco. The Harlem Renaissance. After WWI, the U.S. and Europe erupted into frenzied cultural and aesthetic expression: the “Roaring Twenties.” New forms of art broke traditional modes of representation and inaugurated new structures and styles of narration, temporalities, and poetic form. The ’20s were about possibility, newness, change, and energy. In this course, we’ll read iconic ’20s literature by modernist authors, including Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. We’ll also study literary and cultural responses to WWI; high modernism’s poetry and novels; the Harlem Renaissance; prohibition, jazz, and dance; and popular comedic writing. Highlights include a screening of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, lessons on the Charleston and the Lindy Hop, and a Roaring Twenties-themed costume party, complete with jazz, mocktails, and dancing.

NEW! FWIS 193   Banned Books and Other Dangers

Fax, Joanna・MWF 3:00-3:50・D1
What makes a work of literature suitable for the classroom? And who gets to decide? In this class, we will read, discuss, and write about literary works made infamous by their appearance on the American banned books list. Central to our examination of these texts will be the overarching question of the role of censorship in U.S. education, and culture at large. We will investigate the complex issue of censorship and its role in public education from multiple perspectives, starting with a look at the history of educational censorship in the twentieth-century U.S.. Situating each banned work within its historical context, we will explore the ways in which individual writers responded to the cultural and political climates of their time, as well as the social conditions that made their works the objects of public scrutiny—and, oftentimes, scorn.

NEW! FWIS 197   Déjà vu: Literary Adaptations and Spinoffs

Hargrave, Jennifer・MWF 10:00-10:50・D1
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” And so begins Seth Graham-Smith’s 2009 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Since its publication in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has been adapted for television and film and, most recently, has been overrun by the living dead. The post-publication genealogy of Pride and Prejudice is only one example in a history of literary adaptations. Both the numerous adaptations of Shakespearean drama and the contemporary retellings of fairy tales are evidence of a cultural compulsion to revisit familiar stories. What motivates these literary adaptations? How do we tell a fresh, new story while also staying true to the original? In this course, we will look at five different narratives and their cultural afterlives in order to understand the motivations behind adaptations and to determine the criteria for a successful remake.

FWIS 199   Jews on Film: Cinematic Representations of Jewish Life

Weininger, Melissa・TR 10:50-12:05・D1
This course will explore the modern history and culture of Jews in America, Europe, Israel, and elsewhere through the medium of film. Students will be exposed to a diversity of Jewish communities around the globe while at the same time examining the way those communities are represented on film. The course will be organized around various themes and ideas that have shaped the Jewish experience in modernity, including secularization, immigration, assimilation, nationalism, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and religious practice. By situating the films in their historical, cultural, and political contexts, students will learn about the varied and changing forms of modern Jewish identity.