Freshmen are not permitted to enroll in Advanced Electives without permission from the Honors Director
Broadway Musical: The Golden Years (1943 to 1959)
The Broadway Musical hit its pinnacle in1943 with the arrival of “Oklahoma!” The partnership of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II lasted until Hammerstein’s death, and spawned what is known as the Golden Age of Broadway Musicals. It was a time when song and dance became character driven, and were fully integrated into the plot to propel the story to its conclusion. Most of the classic “book” musicals come from this era, and defined how we viewed the American Musical for some forty years. In addition to Rodgers and Hammerstein, we will explore works created by Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Wright and Forrest, Burton Lane, Adler and Ross, Frank Loesser, Lerner and Loewe, Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne, Bock and Harnick and others. There will be a field trip to attend a performance in NYC and/or Tilles Center as appropriate.
CMA 360 Truth in Popular Media
“Truth” as it is used and misused in popular media is an idea worth exploring. This course will begin with study of the concept of truth from philosophical, logical and psychological perspectives. We will then study several different varieties of popular media where truth has proven to be a complex issue and deserves scrutiny. At one end of the truth spectrum, we will consider the way journalists understand and present what they consider to be ‘ objective” truth, and at the other end, the questionable use of the concept in media genres such as “reality “ tv”. In between are interesting forms such as the documentary film, (and pseudo - documentary films like “The Blair Witch Project”, Wikipedia, the tabloid press, memoirs and faux memoirs, advertising and public relations messages which often deal in half-truths.
ENG 360 The Poetics of Time and Memory
In this course we consider the ways that time can work magically: loop, repeat, fall away in sublimity. Our memories carve out time and seem also to link to spaces in the past. What does it mean for memories to be revised or erased? Do our memories constitute who we are? Is it worth dwelling in the past, living an examined life? In this class we will muse about what it means to live, as we all must, embedded in time. Our texts will include Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (part of volume one), La Jetee, Wells’s The Time Machine, Donnie Darko, Memento, and many more.
By taking texts that explore the nature of memory and that treat time as something that can bend in various ways, this class will develop an aesthetics of time. We will read the Combray section of Proust to interrogate the nature of the involuntary memory. A tale or two from the Arabian Nights will show us how dream spaces can open up into the real world. Science fiction will come into our sights, so that we can consider travelling into the future, getting caught in a repeating present, or being thrown back into a past that will then change the future. Scientific theories about time will also be explored. Film will be a major discipline for this class, as so many splendid films have worked through these topics: La Jetee, Donnie Darko, Groundhog Day and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in particular
Pre-requisites: ENG 303/304 or its equivalents
ENG 360 Who Killed Kit Marlowe?
Born in 1564, the same year as William Shakespeare, Christopher (Kit) Marlowe was stabbed to death at the age of 29, in a suspicious incident that abruptly ended his brief, troubled, and brilliant career as one of England’s most provocative literary geniuses. During the six years he wrote plays--such as Doctor Faustus--for the stage, he almost single-handedly created modern theater. He did so by shocking London audiences with a series of dynamic villain-heroes, embedded in bold transgressive plots. But what particularly set these plays apart was their new raw eloquence, a style that Ben Jonson called “Marlowe’s mighty line.” Second only to Shakespeare in literary importance, he embodied the contradictions of his age. Spy, atheist, blasphemer, counterfeiter, violent street-fighter, and homosexual (when sodomy was a capital crime), Marlowe had been under government surveillance at the time of his murder, prompting speculation that he had been assassinated. This course examines his turbulent life and sudden death, as it traces the evolution of his plays and poems over the path of his meteorically short but brilliant career. One of its central concerns will be to document Marlowe’s decisive influence on Shakespeare, who repeatedly imitated, adapted, and parodied the powerful and passionate voice of his fallen colleague.
Pre-requisites: ENG 303/304 or its equivalents
PHI 360 The Philosophy Of Soren Kierkegaard: The First Existentialist
We will explore in this course the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55), one of the most extraordinary writers in the history of Western literature, and one of the greatest philosophers of the nineteenth-century, who has had a profound and lasting influence on modern and contemporary philosophy, literature, religion, psychology, and the arts.
The First Existentialist, Kierkegaard’s possessed a dialectical, paradoxical, and ironic cast of mind, which decried the moral and religious inauthenticity of his age. Indeed, it has been said of him that “one explanation of his power over us today” is that, “like Nietzsche after him, he goes for the jugular.”
Claiming that his authorship was essentially religious from the very beginning, Kierkegaard, however, also identified himself in his Journal as “essentially a poet.” At the end, as at the beginning, he published a piece of religious writing contemporaneously with a piece of aesthetic writing, as if to attest to the paradoxical character of his angle of vision. Ironically, it is his aesthetic writings (specifically Either/Or, I, in which the seducer’s voice of the Mozart’s Don Juan is privileged), not his religious writings (i.e. The Edifying Discourses; The Works of Love) for which he is most known and valued. Indeed, his religious writings have received little philosophical attention, except by the leading Protestant theologians of the last century (Karl Barth, Rudolf Bultmann, Paul Tillich, et al). Even more paradoxically, Kierkegaard’s so-called central doctrines almost all appear in his “aesthetic” writings, ones that he refused to sign except pseudonymously.
It would seem to follow from own conception of his authorship as essentially religious that he holds none of the doctrines traditionally ascribed to him. Is it possible that the Kierkegaard that we have inherited philosophically -- the canonic Kierkegaard -- is a fairy-tale of the philosophic imagination?
PHI 360 Islamic Philosophy
This course examines the pinnacle of Islamic political philosophy from the 9th to 12th centuries AD. During this time, there was a fierce battle between the philosophers and certain theologians who would brand such philosophers “heretics.” If the question of how to live is the decisively human question, then whence this knowledge comes is of the utmost importance: the philosophers offered reason, the theologians offered revelation. And although the philosophers suggested that reason provides the same answer to this question as Revelation, the theologians disagreed. It was thus one of the main intentions of the philosophers to show there was no tension between philosophy and their Holy Law (Sharia). This tension between philosophy–or reason–and the Holy Law–or Revelation–forms the underlying theme of the course.