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Genres to be explored (in English) include poetry and travel memoirs; literature and film of ancient Rome, including toga epics; contemporary novels and films (e.g., Michael Dibdin, Donna Leon; Close Encounters with the Middle East In the west, few other cultures have evoked such strong emotions or have been so widely misunderstood as the cultures of the Middle East.
In this seminar, we will explore alternative understandings of the region by examining various types of historical and contemporary narratives.
We will hear virtuosos like Franz Liszt and Keith Jarrett, study milestones of the pianistic repertoire, and discuss representations of this instrument and its artists in literature, the arts, and film. Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins are known as reticent, self-concealing poets; nonetheless their poems tell their life stories.
John Berryman is a "confessional" poet; yet questions about the relationship between his poems and his life are similar.
Rather than focus exclusively on political events and trajectories, we will investigate social and cultural experiences of peoples in the Middle East which have emerged through the intersection of history, identity, modernity, gender relations, and popular expression.
This approach allows students to become familiar with the region’s inhabitants and cultures, and to think beyond the static images commonly portrayed in today’s media. AAL CW HIS Fall 2016 More Information » Faith and Reason In this seminar we will explore perennial and contemporary questions in the philosophy of religion: Is there a God? CW PHL Fall 2016 More Information » Empires Why do empires rise and fall? Drawing on classical and contemporary sources, we will explore the origins and fates of empires from Ancient Greece to the present.
We will ask such questions as: can a poem really be "analyzed " or "explicated", and what assumptions lie behind such an attempt? CW LIT Spring 2017 More Information » Shakespeare's Characters Shakespeare’s reputation owes much to his characters.This seminar deals with aspects of the history of desire and fear in Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the industrial era.Topics will include sex, marriage, child-rearing, disease, suicide, and the belief in immortality.In this seminar we will try to answer this question by exploring the cultural history of the piano.As we study the piano’s special place in our (musical) culture, we will learn about the technical as well as social aspects of this instrument’s developments over the past 300 years. ART CW EUR Fall 2014 More Information » The Poet’s ‘I’: Poetry and Autobiography In this seminar we will work to discover the sometimes subtle connections between the "objective" events of a poet's life and the poems that he or she produced.
Finally, we will look at the role the plague has played as a metaphor in society and will discuss modern plagues like the hemorrhagic viruses and AIDS using fiction and film as well as the works of modern scholars. We’ll “listen” to the 1930s through existing oral history sources (Studs Terkel’s ), and the class will create its own oral history podcast using interviews with local residents who remember that decade. AMR CW HIS Fall 2014, Fall 2018 More Information » Mozart Operas: Swains, Countesses, and Magic Flutes In this seminar we will delve into how opera comes about, its place in our culture, and its aesthetic, with our explorations centering on musical components. The main work will be viewing, listening to, and understanding these great works, with excursions into operas old and new.