Below, please find syllabi for our November 19th discussion and lecture. Typically these resources are posted 2 weeks in advance.
Theory, Criticism, and Society: 10/2018 – 3/2019
During this semester, we’ll explore ideas from theory and criticism focusing on art, literature, music, and culture, with the further intention of applying such ideas to the creation and organization of society. Our goal is to deepen our understanding of theory and criticism, and to broaden our perspective of the world we live in—and the possibilities open to us.
This lecture covers horror in the context of race and how particular characters are racialized in horror through the lens of the absolute other. We will start by recapping the problem of the Other in phenomenology and how it applies to the horror film, as well as revisit Carroll’s definition of the monster. Then we will examine various tropes, including those that tend to exoticize certain races in terms of supernatural powers (examples include gypsy fortune tellers, Native American shamans, and the “magical negro”) or marginalize characters of color further through onscreen violence (“the black guy always dies first”). We will also look at how these tropes have shifted over the years and discuss whether or not they have changed given our current direction within contemporary horror.
Discussion: Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience.”
Henry David Thoreau asserts in the beginning of perhaps, his most famous and influential essay, “Civil Disobedience”:
“That government is best which governs least”…Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe- “That government is best which governs not at all” and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.’
Thoreau meant to provoke debate. We’ll let him do that for us in this discussion.
In our time of political and social turmoil where many are questioning whether the individual can have any significant influence on her government, Thoreau addresses such questions as: What should the role of the individual in society and government be? What should be the limits of government? Is it the individual’s duty to resist a government that she deems to be immoral or unjust regardless of the consequences?
In this piece Thoreau also addresses such questions as the importance of voting, and the importance of individualism in American society. This essay was an inspiration to many, including Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. in their efforts to effect change in their governments.
Together, we will read through key passages of this text and discuss Thoreau’s various views and whether we believe his ideas are still relevant and useful in our times, or whether they are merely the outdated musings of an eccentric, unrealistic dreamer.