Have fun while satisfying your arts and learning requirement. Explore your own creative side through discussion and group activities. Read a variety of fantastic short stories from Kafka to contemporary Sci-Fi.
Earn your Arts & Letters requirement by peeking into some of the more bizarre corners of Western literature. In this four-week introductory course we will examine how the fantastic has shaped the modern imagination. From Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters to Dali’s melting clocks “the fantastic” has always provided new and unique ways of seeing the ordinary—again—for the first time. Each week, we will read roughly 100 pages about magical libraries, swank overcoats, and therianthropy that will make Potter and his gang look like Muggles. We will dive into the uncanny works of Kafka, Melville, and Borges, while examining similar themes in contemporary films such as Fight Club, Office Space, and The Lobster. We will sample the contemporary sci-fi stories of David Liu that contemplate the complexities of love, race and politics through magical stories ranging from living origami to intergalactic book making. And in Margaret Atwood’s psychological thriller, Surfacing, we will follow a woman artist searching for her missing father on a remote island—searching through wilderness and madness. In the end, we will see how these forays into wilderness and weirdness, are forays into our own life stories.
Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.