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Group Proposal

pfischer's picture

Week One: Clash of Civilizations

9/11 Commission Report  - A Graphic Adaptation (we could also read the original text but this plays with form)

Path to Paradise: The Inner World of Suicide Bombers and Their Dispatchers  -

Week Two: Environmentalism and Capitalism

Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water

Silent Spring

Week Three: Restless and Uncertain

Affluent Society

On the Road

Week 4: NY/LA - City as Subject

Helluva Town

Metropolis in the Making

Week 5: Religion, Morality, Modernity

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

The Screwtape Letters

Week 6: Racism and Violence

Autobiography of Malcolm X

Temple Bombing

 

Things to keep in mind: I included links to the Amazon pages of each book so you can check out length, reviews, content etc. Please please feel free to suggest other works that would work with the thematic content of each week, or suggest an entirely new topic. I came up with the week headers in about 3 seconds so don't feel constricted or limited by their language. I think this could work really well with our class but please make suggestions about what you would like to read! (as comments?)

Comments

veritatemdilexi's picture

Revised Syllaship

I completely agree that this course proposal has a heavy reading load.  However, I do not think that we should let the complexity of these topics deter us from trying to read some of the above selections.  I think that reading selections of the 9/11 report would be incredibly interesting considering that the report is an investigative approach to a powerful and emotional event that the members of the class experienced.  I think that the 9/11 report paired with the book Path to Paradise would be an interesting combination that might present a new perspective.  I really like the idea of incorporating documentaries, perhaps The Affluent Society and the TrueLife documentary that the other group suggested? Religious writing would be an interesting genre of nonfiction to approach and I think that "The Screwtape Letters"and "God is not Great"are interesting because they offer such different views on religion and faith.  After reading "The Ecology of Wisdom" I became very interested in environment, and how that affects the people who live in these spaces, having a book on New York and Los Angeles during eras that defined the identity of each city might explain the very different environments of each city.  I really like the comparison of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X"and "Temple Bombing" because it offers to different approaches to the Civil Rights Movement, which as these two books indicate was much more complex than the version that many of us learn.  I feel that the use of two texts for each topic allows the reader to form their own conclusions, this proposal is not about finding connections but forming your own.

Revised Syllabus:

Week 1:

 

9/11 Commission Report  - A Graphic Adaptation (we could also read the original text but this plays with form)

Path to Paradise: The Inner World of Suicide Bombers and Their Dispatchers  -

 

Week 2 and 3:

 

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

The Screwtape Letters

Week 4:

 

Helluva Town

Metropolis in the Making

Week 5 and 6:

 

Autobiography of Malcolm X

Temple Bombing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVD's picture

Proposal Ideas

I still really like the format of this proposal and think it would give our discussions a lot more direction...I'm not sure if this would be a good idea but for a week or two could we even think about having some people read one selection and others read the other selection? I'm not sure how that would work exactly but it might give us more to discuss without having to only read excerpts.

AyaSeaver's picture

 I feel like then everyone

 I feel like then everyone loses something? Maybe everyone has to read the selections, but certain people are assigned to be able to discuss parts of it thoroughly?

just my two cents!

SandraGandarez's picture

proposal

The issue that I have with this proposal is that the second excerpt will always be read in comparison to what we thought of the first and we will never be able to see it as its own entity. I also feel that by using so many texts and excerpts there will be a great  amount of time that goes into selecting the excerpts, and possibly debate about which ideas were expressed in the excerpt but may not be an accurate depiction of the book as a whole. I like the texts selected but the actual outline itself overwhelms me.  Maybe I am thinking with a narrow minded mentality but this much work should go into reading and discussing the book, not choosing which areas to discuss.

AyaSeaver's picture

if there were more time

 I'd love to see this format done with smaller texts: journal articles, short documentaries, news pieces? But I agree that the texts would be cut off from their context and that this would greatly change the nature and form of discourse. 

AyaSeaver's picture

The parts of this proposal

The parts of this proposal that appeal the most to me are weeks 5 & 6. Religious writings are an interesting are to examine non-fiction and fiction through, and I think there is also a way that we could discuss things like the construction of genre and form, literature and reality through a reading of some religious theory.Screwtape Letters is one of my favorite books and its an excellent read that plays with non-fictional/fictional forms. Allegory is trick, C.S. Lewis has another allegory/philosophy called "The Great Divorce" but I don't know that it has the connections to modernity this proposal envisions?

I find religious extremism and 9/11 to be an almost absurdly hard topic to navigate. A German Professor I've met with a few times has complained multiple times about how modern German Literature is always caught confronting fascism but that it never moves beyond that to anything transformative. I question our ability to find something transformative (merely because the time would constraint discussion and reading) in one week and I think the frustration with the topic would be extreme. We would also be coming in with such varied backrounds and experiences. This could all make the conversation more interesting and more necessary to the subject but I did want to get that thought out there just in case anyone else had similar feelings. 

The main drawback I see to this course is that we would be constantly reaching for connections and I feel we've done enough of that so far. The format of the texts confronting one another is very interesting but the movement within the groups is almost not connected enough?

Open to have my mind changed though!

 

Aya

 

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