Reading & Composition

In addition to fulfilling R&C’s writing requirements, this course will focus on ideas about plants, flowers, and gardens spanning from the medieval period to the twenty-first century. We will closely scrutinize received preconceptions about plants and gardens, such as the negative perception of plants’ lack of mobility as a deficiency and the notion of the garden as an enclosed space with borders, and read a variety of texts that challenge and/or complicate such normative perceptions.

Reading & Composition

Friedrich Nietzsche, from whom we borrow our course title, is one of the most famous critics of morality. But he’s by no means the only one, the critique of morality having been the focus of intense literary and philosophical attention for some time before and after Nietzsche. We will study literary, philosophical, and critical texts that take up this critique, as well as related issues: the difference between ethics and morality; the relation between morality and happiness; the possibility of morality without God; the meaning of the good life; and so on.

Reading & Composition

Reading & Composition

What does it mean to be the protagonist of a novel whose title bears your name? What loneliness occurs when another protagonist emerges, dividing the time in which you get to appear on the page by half? In this course, we will spend the semester reading Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina alongside several short texts of various genres that speak, in one way or another, to this central problem of division and loneliness.

Reading & Composition

Reading & Composition

This course will explore the construction of gender and the occult, considering the witch from the perspectives of different races and genders, cultures, time periods, and languages.  How does the witch transgress boundaries and norms across different cultures?  Where is she in possession of power, and where is her agency precluded? How do transgressive readings of witches undermine simplistic moral dichotomies of good and evil?

Reading & Composition

Reading & Composition

Imagine that you are reading a book and, at some point in the story, you learn that what you are reading is actually the translation of a work written in an ancient language by an author from a faraway land. How would this affect your relation to the text? Would you now consider the story more interesting and valuable? Or would you start suspecting that the translator may have made changes and additions to the story? Would you be worried—or perhaps excited—about the possibility that there may be different versions of the text?

Reading & Composition

The frontier is a tricky place to define: within, yet apart; the same, yet different. It shouldn’t surprise us that literary and cinematic depictions of these peculiar spaces often contain unexpected contradictions. Think, for example, of the Hollywood western – the genre most famous for depicting the American frontier. These movies are set on the outskirts of Western civilization, in the forests and deserts of the American West, and yet they’re all about the things that make up civilization: law and order, financial stability, and the family.

Reading & Composition

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