Summer 2015 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
LIT 2331.55A presents a study of selected themes in world literature and serves as a prerequisite for upper-division literature courses. In this course, we will read and discuss various world masterpieces by considering the question, "What is human, and who decides what it means to be human or nonhuman?"
Many of the texts employ repeated ideas or images of barriers, including walls, cages, preconceived biases and other kinds of physical and mental boundaries that exclude groups of people, animals, and things and hinder change. We will ask how texts from different time periods and geographical spaces address such boundaries, whether real or imagined, especially those dividing human from nonhuman but also self from other, country from country, native from wanderer, wanderer from exile, and so forth. Which figures in the texts are confined and which are allowed to move from their confines? Who determines how boundaries function in these cases? Which things are considered living, and to which does the author grant agency? Does such agency determine or change what it means to be human? Finally, when do writers choose to defy such traditional ideas of identity, form, word, and so forth, and what do they choose to exclude--or free--from the bounds of the text in the process?
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria: