Spring 2014 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Starnaman, Sabrina
Discipline and Number
LIT 3334 Section 001
MW Time 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Course Title
The Mismeasure of Man

Description of Course:

This course examines and critiques the ways that American society, science, and culture has tried to quantify and measure humans. People have historically been ranked physically and intellectually in the name of science and progress, though the methods and outcomes were sometimes hardly “scientific” or “progressive.” From the construction of “the normal man” arises the notion of “the abnormal” or “the defective man.” We will explore historical constructions of normality, disability, sanity, madness, and approaches to treatment, eugenics, and reformation.

We will examine historical and critical works, fiction, memoir, and film.

Required Texts:

Texts may include:

Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom, Wendy Kline. (2001)
The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould. (1981/1996) Selections.
The Disability Studies Reader, 4th ed. (2013) Selections.
Humanity’s End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement, Nicholas Agar. (2010) Selections
The Lives to Come, Philip Kitcher. (1997) Selections
Geek Love, Katherine Dunn. (1983)
Depression: Integrating Science, Culture and the Humanities, Bradley Lewis. (2012)
Darkness Visible, William Stryon. (1990)
A Mind that Found Itself, Clifford Whittingham Beers. (1908)
Tomorrow’s Children, (1934)
Gattacca, (1997)
Murderball, (2005)

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Course requirements will likely include:
Reading quizzes
Midterm and final take-home essay exams
Analytical or research paper (2400-3000 words)
Active course participation

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