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IAP 2018 Non-Credit Activities SP2018 Course Supplement Fall 2018 Course Supplement
Show Descriptions

Introductory

21L.000[J] Writing About Literature: Writing About Surprises
21W.041J
Sandy Alexandre TR 2:00 - 3:30 4-144

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-HW
Topics: Writing

How do elements of surprise in a work of fiction make us more aware of our position as readers? What can those elements of surprise teach us about ourselves? Can a shift in how we read texts inside the classroom reverberate through our experiences with processing reading materials outside of the classroom? If these surprises help to breathe new life into our reading experiences, then how exactly do they do that? In this course, we will attempt to answer these questions by exploring at least three different ways in which the element of surprise can take shape: Through 1. plot twists; 2. story endings; and 3. experiments with narrative style. The texts for the class may include the following: Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno,” some poems by Emily Dickinson, Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi,” three short stories by Flannery O’Connor, Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif,” Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, M. Night Shyamalan’s Sixth Sense, and Ian McEwan’s Atonement.

21L.001 Foundations of Western Literature: Homer to Dante Stephanie Frampton MW 2:00 - 3:30 4-257

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H
Topics: Classics

Masterpieces of European literature read with an emphasis on understanding the roots of an expansive classical tradition stemming from ancient Greece and Rome. Core texts will be Vergil’s Aeneid, the Homeric Odyssey, and Dante’s Inferno. We meet heroes and monsters, gods and demons, and read deeply into three of the foundational texts of Western literature. We ask what it means to be “a classic,” and explore the ways in which literary authority comes into being in the context of history and society.

21L.003 Reading Fiction: Imagining Alternative Worlds , Section 1 Marah Gubar TR 11:30 - 1:00 1-277

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H
Topics: Fiction

In this course, we will study what one critic has called “the literary prehistory of virtual reality”: fantasy narratives that invite readers to immerse themselves in enchanted alternative realms or magical worlds enmeshed within the realm of everyday life. Starting with L. Frank Baum’s Oz and J. M. Barrie’s Neverland, we will investigate how authors employ tools of fiction to craft such convincing alternative worlds. Were these fantasies an escapist solution to the problem of modern disenchantment, or can we tell some more complicated story about their emergence and function? As we move through the twentieth century, we will compare comic fantasies by writers like E. Nesbit with more somber ones by writers like C. S. Lewis, and conclude with J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

21L.003 Reading Fiction: Section 2 Ina Lipkowitz TR 9:30 - 11:00 1-277

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H
Topics: Fiction

Fiction: late 14c., “something invented,” from L. fictionem, “a fashioning or feigning,” from L. fingere “to shape, form, devise, feign,” originally “to knead, form out of clay.”

What is fiction? Something invented or something formed out of clay—or out of one’s life, one’s culture, one’s historical moment, or even out of someone else’s fiction? In this class, we’ll consider what fiction is, the difference between historical truth and fictional truth, and have fun looking at some of the many ways writers have formed their fictions out of the materials at hand. Authors might include: E.M. Forster, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Alistair MacLeod, Tim O’Brien, and Sandra Cisneros.

21L.004 Reading Poetry: Section 1 Stephen Tapscott MW 3:30 - 5:00 56-167

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H
Topics: Poetry

An introduction to poetry in English. We will explore poems written during several periods and in several genres (nature-poems, narratives, the epic, sonnets, odes, experimental forms.) Our focus will be less on names and dates than on tactics of analytic reading. Poets whose work we’ll read include William Shakespeare, John Milton, John Keats, William Blake, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Langston Hughes, Elizabeth Bishop, and many others. Special course-related events (readings, lectures, film screenings) may take place on selected evenings throughout the term; regular classroom-hours will be reduced in the weeks for which special events are scheduled.

21L.004 Reading Poetry: Section 2 Noel Jackson MW 2:00 - 3:30 56-167

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H
Topics: Poetry

An introduction to poetry in English, chiefly by British and American poets. We will explore the Renaissance, Romanticism, and Modernism in particular detail. Though the organization of the subject is chronological, our focus will be less on names and dates than on cultivating skills in careful reading and effective writing. Poets to be read may include Shakespeare, Sidney, Wordsworth, Keats, Dickinson, Frost, Eliot, and Elizabeth Bishop. Special course-related events (readings, lectures, film screenings) will take place on selected evenings throughout the term. Regular classroom hours will be reduced in the weeks for which special events are scheduled.

21L.005 Introduction to Drama Anne Fleche MW 1:00 - 2:30 1-135

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-A, CI-H

Drama might be described as a game played with something sacred. It tells stories that go right to the heart of what people believe about themselves. And it is enacted in the moment, which means it has an added layer of interpretive mystery and playfulness, or “theatricality.” This introductory course will explore theater and theatricality across periods and cultures, through intensive engagement with performance texts. We will study and discuss plays that exemplify different kinds of dramatic structure, and class members will also attend and review dramatic performances and have a chance to perform scenes on their own. In addition to modern and contemporary plays, readings will range from ancient Greece to Medieval England, Renaissance Spain and Classical Japan.

21L.006 American Literature Wyn Kelley TR 3:30 - 5:00 4-144

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

This class surveys American stories about itself, focusing on such topics as: Myths of Origin, Declarations of Independence, Realism and Satire, and Rewriting History. Although we address a wide range of authors, students also scrutinize certain core works in historical, biographical, and literary contexts: Mary Rowlandson’s Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration, Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of an American Slave, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Toni Morrison’s Jazz.

21L.007 World Literatures William Donaldson TR 9:30 - 11:00 4-253

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

This class looks at the forces of globalization, post-colonialism, internal colonialism and cultural imperialism that have bound large parts of the world together down the centuries. Areas of particular focus will include the poetry of the eighth-century Chinese Tang Dynasty and its reception in the west; novels and poetry from twentieth-century Africa with related patterns of cultural diffusion and appropriation; and poetry and drama from Scotland, shedding light upon writing from the periphery and the possibility of long-term resistance to cultural hegemony.

21L.009 Shakespeare: Section 1 Shankar Raman TR 2:00 - 3:30 1-150

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

We will focus on three or four plays by Shakespeare, drawn from different genres. Close reading of the texts will be accompanied by examining how they have been adapted and performed around the world, on film and in theatre. Students will watch different versions of the plays chosen, reflecting upon how staging them in different ways and contexts changes our understanding of the texts and their cultural impact. We may also attend one or more theatrical performances, depending on what is available in the Boston area in the Fall semester. Plays selected will probably include: Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest.

21L.009 Shakespeare: Section 2 Peter S. Donaldson TR 3:30 - 5:00 4-253

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

We will focus on three or four plays by Shakespeare, drawn from different genres. Close reading of the texts will be accompanied by examining how they have been adapted and performed around the world, on film and in theatre. Students will watch different versions of the plays chosen, reflecting upon how staging them in different ways and contexts changes our understanding of the texts and their cultural impact. We may also attend one or more theatrical performances, depending on what is available in the Boston area in the Fall semester. Plays selected will probably include: Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest.

21L.010[J] Writing with Shakespeare
21W.042[J]
Diana Henderson TR 3:30 - 5:00 1-242

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-HW

William Shakespeare didn’t go to college. If he could time-travel like Dr. Who, he would be stunned to find his words on a university syllabus. But he would not be surprised at the way we will be using those words in this class, because the study of rhetoric was essential to all education in his day. We too will focus on communication using words, with Shakespeare as a capacious model and inspiration for dialogue, self-presentation and writing.

By writing “with” Shakespeare—creatively, critically, in groups and in a variety of media—you will have ample opportunity to explore the elements and occasions that shape effective, meaningful communication. In addition to famous speeches and sonnets, we will consider film versions of Hamlet and the challenges of social exchange in Othello. We will examine the specifics of stage comedy and the enduring power of Shakespeare across the globe. Nevertheless, our aim is less to appreciate Shakespeare as an end in itself than to draw on his remarkable drama (its vocabulary, variety, and verbal command) in order to help you improve your own writing, speaking, analytic thinking, use of resources, and understanding of media today.

21L.011 The Film Experience Eugenie Brinkema T 3:30 - 5:00 4-270
Screening M 7:00-10:00pm 4-270
Recitation 1 R 3:00-4:00 4-265
Recitation 2 R 3:00-4:00 4-261
Recitation 3 R 4:00-5:00 4-265
Recitation 4 R 4:00-5:00 4-261

Prereq: none
3-3-6 HASS-A, CI-H

Films are familiar to you; this course should make them strange again.

The Film Experience serves as an introduction to film studies, concentrating on close analysis and criticism. Students will learn the technical vocabulary for analyzing the cinematic narrative, frame, and editing; develop the critical means for turning close analysis into interpretations and comparative readings of films; and explore theoretical issues. We will look beyond the surface pleasures of cinema to ask how films are put together; what choices are made formally, narratively, and politically in the constructions of different types of films; and how films have changed historically and in different production and national contexts.

We will study a wide range of works made between 1895 and 2010, including films from the early silent period, documentary and avant-garde films, European art cinema, and contemporary Hollywood fare. Directors will include Coppola, Dreyer, Eisenstein, Fellini, Godard, Griffith, Haneke, Hawks, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Kurosawa, Lang, Resnais, Spielberg, Tarantino, Vertov, Welles, and Zhang. Readings will include work from film theorists including Bazin, Bellour, Bordwell, Doane, Gunning, Metz, Mulvey, Williams, and Wollen.

Format: one 90-minute lecture, one evening screening, and one discussion hour per week.

21L.012 Forms of Western Narrative: Storytelling from Epic Poem to Graphic Novel David Thorburn MW 3:00 - 4:30 14N-325

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

A sampling of some of western culture’s central storytellers and story-forms, including Homer, Cervantes, the Brothers Grimm, and Charley Chaplin, the course aims to update and complicate older notions of our literary tradition by juxtaposing classic texts with such popular forms as folk tales, movies and graphic novels. Through close reading of specific scenes and passages, we’ll study the way stories are both enabled and constrained by the medium in which they’re expressed and by the societies they inhabit. This subject should be especially valuable for students interested in a serious but also joyfully various introduction to literary or media study.

21L.020[J] Globalization: The Good, the Bad and the In-Between
21G.076[J]
Margery Resnick TR 3:00 - 4:30 14E-310
Joaquín Terrones TR 3:00 - 4:30 4-249

Prereq: none
3-0-6 HASS-H, CI-H

This subject combines a global forum with the study of one new or familiar foreign language of your choice. Think of 21L.020 as a model United Nations focused on cultural and historical issues. Guest lecturers visit class as we examine the impact of globalization on cultural identity, the arts, the politics of language, and the media. How has migration changed notions of cultural and racial hybridity? What can we learn from specific examples of global media and expressive culture including popular music and film? In what ways has globalization affected human rights? Through novels, essays, poetry, films, audio files and team projects, students develop sensitivity to other cultures and the ability to read broadly across national boundaries. You will also acquire the analytical frameworks to contextualize contemporary debates about globalization. Furthermore, the emphasis on the historical context gives students a foundation to continue work in literature, history and the arts from a global perspective.

Students enrolled in 21L.020 must be simultaneously enrolled in a language subject at any level in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, or Spanish. Students receive 9 CI units for 21L.020 and 9 HASS elective units for their language class. This combination counts for two of the 8 required Humanities, Arts and Social Science subjects. Freshmen can take three 12-unit subjects plus 21L.020 and a 9-unit global language subject and still meet the 54-unit limit.

21L.022[J] Darwin and Design
21W.739[J]
Alvin Kibel TR 9:30 - 11:00 1-145

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

The theory of evolution today is open to doubt just about as much as the notion that the sun and not the earth is the center of our solar system, but the full implications of Darwin’s revolutionary thinking have yet to be widely realized. In establishing his theory of natural selection, Darwin knew that he was implicitly challenging a whole way of thinking about humanity’s place in the scheme of life and about a good deal else, besides. In this subject, our main focus of attention will be the relevance of Darwin’s thought to what is called “the argument for intelligent design”, the notion that since innumerable aspects of the world (and most particularly the organisms within it) display features directly analogous to objects of human design, it follows that an intelligent, conscious agency must have been responsible for their creation. But a study of Darwinism must address other questions as well. For example, (a) is natural selection via our genetic endowment the source of our ethical biases? (b) if mindless nature can select, can mindless machinery, like computers, think? (c) does mankind’s intelligence set mankind apart from nature by virtue of the human capacity to adapt the natural environment to its needs or is intelligence just one way–and not an especially privileged way–to compete in the struggle for existence? In the course of discussing issues raised by such questions, we shall read literary texts by authors such as Lewis Carroll, Voltaire, E. M. Forster, H. G. Wells, Samuel Butler, and Robert Louis Stevenson, and excerpts from argumentative works by Aristotle, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thomas Huxley, Alan Turing, and others, as well as a substantial portion of Darwin’s major work, On the Origin of Species.

21L.023[J] Folk Music of the British Isles and North America
21M.223[J]
Ruth Perry TR 12:30 - 2:00 4-156

Prereq: none
3-1-8 HASS-A, CI-H

This subject will introduce students to some of the folk music of the British Isles and North America and to some of the scholarship as well as the folklore about it. We will examine the musical qualities of “folk music” and the literary qualities of “folk poetry”—particularly in the old narrative ballads—and will try to understand the historical context in which folk music was a precious part of everyday life. We will survey how, when, and why folk music began to be collected, beginning in the 18th century with broadsides, Percy’s Reliques, and Sir Walter Scott’s collections—and how it changed the course of literary history. We will compare the instrumental styles and sung ballads as they migrated from the U.K. to North America—with their attendant changes and continuities. We will examine the enormous influence of African-American musics and texts on U.S. folk music. We hope to conclude with the “folk revivals” in the USA and Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, although we often don’t manage to get that far.

Samplings

21L.310 Bestsellers: Detective Fiction Stephen Tapscott T 7:00 - 10:00pm 4-144

Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit; first half of term

Our topic is knowing: how the desire to solve “mysteries” (whether actual crimes or the “mysteries” of experience) is both a recurrent human need (Oedipus is the first literary detective!) and the grounding of one of the most important and resilient literary genres of the last 200 years. We will read detective stories as a literary genre from its emergence in the nineteenth century (Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Browning, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle) through classic twentieth-century and modernist and noir-ish examples (Agatha Christie, G. K. Chesterton, Raymond Chandler) to postmodern adaptations (Jorge Louis Borges, Patricia Highsmith, and others). Along the way we have some film examples (Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock). The course will also consider formal, ideological and philosophical aspects of detective fiction using essays by structuralist/narratology critics (Barthes, Peter Brooks) and essays by other recent critics including Jacques Lacan and Sally Munt. We’ll pay special attention to the cognitive work of “detection” and to the character of the detective: his or her social position, gender, intelligence, and wit. Speaking of which: we’ll also write our own stories and solve them collectively (if possible).

(Ends Oct 24)

21L.325 Small Wonders: Media, Modernity, and the Moment: Experiments in Time—Cancelled Noel Jackson M 7:00 - 8:30pm 4-146

Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit; second half of term

The “small wonders” of this class are isolated moments in time, depicted in the verbal and visual media of the modern age – newspapers, stories, poems, photographs, and films. Moving between visual and verbal examples across a considerable span of time, from eighteenth-century poetry and prose fiction to twenty-first century social media, the class examines how artists working in different media seek to evoke, preserve. and reflect on fleeting moments of present time. With help from philosophers, contemporary cultural historians, and others, we will think about some contemporary media practices in an expanded context. In the second half of term, students will work on final projects that develop their own experiments in time – in text, image, sound, video, code, or some combination of these. 6 units; meets 1 evening/week; enrollment limited.

21L.350 Science and Literature: Antarctica: Stories of Science and Struggle – Cancelled Mary C. Fuller M 2:30 - 4:00 8-119

Prereq: none
2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit

A continent devoted to science – discovered through brutal struggle.

The history of Antarctica is a history of leadership, loss, and survival against extreme odds. The experiences of its earlier explorers have been transformed from field notes, into stories, and into myth – while on bases across the continent, the patient accumulation of data continues to move knowledge of the planet forward. We’ll examine first-hand documents – letters, diaries, photos, and drawings – along with printed books, movies, and poems drawing on the experiences of figures like Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton. We will also have visits from some of the MIT explorers who research and write in and about Antarctica today.

Intermediate

21L.433 Film Styles and Genres Alvin Kibel TR 2:00 - 3:30 1-135

Prereq: 21L.011 or permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit

This seminar in film explores elements of cinematic texts—and two in particular, (1) mis-en-scène, which is to say, the setting of action in time and space, the background landscape, the lighting, the decor, the placement of camera, and (2) story or plot-line—in order to determine what makes a film an instance or version of a film of a particular kind, all of whose members discernibly express the same underlying narrative pattern despite differences in narrative details. Since each genre is adept at communicating a particular view of reality, classification by kinds is not an empty academic exercise. Discrimination of genre is implicit in understanding film narrative, as it is in understanding narratives of any kind–why the actions of the characters make sense and what they mean in relation to lived experience.

To get a handle on generic similarity, we will begin with two films which would seem to have the same kind of overt narrative premise and which yet do not belong to the same genres and then move on to examine several popular American genres, such as Westerns, Detective Films, Screwball Comedies, Gangster movies, Romances, and also a nameless genre: films about the relation of the cinematic medium to reality. Directors whose films will be examined include Buster Keaton, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, John Ford, Francis Ford Coppola, Leo McCarey, John Houston, Roman Polanski, and Clint Eastwood, among others. In addition to viewing films, we will also read some literary or dramatic texts or portions thereof to compare the treatment of similar narrative patterns in two different media, and we will take a glance at some theory of narrative—not just film narrative—as well.

21L.451 Literary Theory Shankar Raman T 7:00 - 10:00pm 4-253

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H

This subject examines the ways in which we read. It introduces some of the different strategies of reading, comprehending and engaging with literary texts developed in the twentieth century, paying especial attention to poststructuralist theories and their legacy. The course is organized around specific theoretical paradigms. In general, we will: (1) work through the selected reading in order to see how it determines or defines the task of literary interpretation; (2) locate the limits of each particular approach; and (3) trace the emergence of subsequent theoretical paradigms as responses to the achievements and limitations of what came before. The literary texts and films accompanying the theoretical material will serve as concrete cases that allow us to see theory in action. For the most part, each week will pair a text or film with a particular interpretative approach, using the former to explore the latter. Rather than attempting a definitive or full analysis of the literary or filmic work, we will exploit it (unashamedly – and indeed sometimes reductively) to understand better the theoretical reading it accompanies.

21L.455 Ancient Authors: Greek and Roman Mythology Stephanie Frampton MW 12:00 - 1:30 56-162

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit

Introduces students to the characters, themes, and questions of Greek and Roman mythology. Offers a who’s who of the ancient imaginative world; students will learn stories of Achilles and Helen, Zeus and Athena, Perseus and Theseus, the Cyclops, the Minotaur, and a host of other heroines, heroes, gods, and monsters. Students consider how myth addresses such indelible human concerns as coming-of-age, identity and transformation, community and society, kindness, bravery, justice, and death, as well as how these myths were produced, received, and reworked within specific social and historical contexts. Provides the opportunity for close reading of major poetic works by Greek and Roman authors, including Homer’s Iliad, Aeschylus’ Oresteia, Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus, Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

21L.458 The Bible Ina Lipkowitz TR 11:30 - 1:00 56-167

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H

The Bible – both Hebrew Bible and New Testament – is a complex and fascinating text, written by many people, in different languages, over a vast period of time, yet still displaying an overarching unity. Our purpose in this course is to consider the Bible as both a collection of disparate books and as a unified whole. Of course it is impossible to discuss the Bible without reference to religion, but religious interpretation – whether Jewish or Christian – is not our primary concern. Rather, we will explore the Bible’s literary techniques and its enormous variety of genres – everything from myth to history, from genealogy to poetry – as well as the historical periods that produced and are reflected in it. We will also consider issues arising from the history of the translation of the Bible from its original Hebrew and Greek. We will read Genesis, Exodus, selections from Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, 1 and 2 Samuel, Isaiah, Job, Daniel, the Gospels, Acts, Pauline Epistles, and Revelation.

21L.473[J] Jane Austen
WGS.240[J]
Ruth Perry TR 3:30 - 5:00 14N-325

Prereq: One subject in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H

We will study the full range of Jane Austen’s work, reading not just her novels, but her earlier hilarious juvenilia, several unfinished fragments of novels, and her wonderful letters over her lifetime to her sister Cassandra. This great writer’s work will be examined in relation to both biography and history. We will learn to analyze Austen’s characteristic style and techniques, thereby gaining an enhanced appreciation of her writing—its intelligence, its wit, its themes—as well as her values and moral code. We will also become more familiar with the culture of eighteenth-century England and the place of women, and art, in it.

21L.485 Modern Fiction: Twentieth Century Fiction: Modernist Masters David Thorburn MW 12:30 - 2:00 56-167

Prereq: One subject in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H

Tradition and innovation in a representative sampling of novels and shorter fiction by the great English and European modernists – Conrad, Woolf, Joyce, Kafka, and others. Recurring topics will include the role of the artist in the modern period, the representation of sexual and psychological experience, shifting atttudes toward gender roles and social class, and the aggressively experimental
character of so many modern texts. Early classes will link our writers with the great impressionist
and modernist painters.

21L.501 The American Novel: Three Trilogies Sandy Alexandre TR2 9:30 - 11:00 14N-325

Prereq: Permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit

Has The Lord of the Rings completely monopolized our understanding of the novelistic trilogy format? There were other trilogies, you know! American authors wrote many of these little-known trilogies, and they were, I daresay, just as gripping. What does “a trilogy” mean in an American context? Why do these American authors consider a trilogy the appropriate format in which to relate their stories? If brevity is proverbially “the soul of wit,” then of what attribute can we conclude a trilogy is the essence? What exactly sustains interest in the stories for these authors and for us as readers? Do we gain anything (new, different, or useful) from such steady attention to a trilogy versus what we gain from reading a single stand-alone novel apart from the trilogy to which it belongs? Is a trilogy just a meaningless convention, if a person can, in fact, read one novel in the trilogy without reading the other two? These are just some of the questions we will attempt to answer in reading the following texts: John Updike’s “Rabbit” series: Rabbit, Run (1960), Rabbit Redux (1971), and Rabbit is Rich (1981); Toni Morrison’s thematic trilogy: Beloved (1987), Jazz (1992), and Paradise (1997); Louise Erdrich’s almost-finished trilogy: The Plague of Doves (2008), The Round House (2012).

21L.512 American Authors: Autobiography and Memoir—Cancelled Wyn Kelley TR 11:30 - 1:00 56-162

Prereq: One subject in Literature, permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit

What is a “life” when it’s written down? How does memory inform the present? Why are autobiographies and memoirs so popular? How do they differ from fiction? This class will address these questions and others, considering the relationship between biography, autobiography, and memoir and between personal and political themes. Examples include such classics as Mary Rowlandson, Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, Solomon Northrup, and Harriet Jacobs; then more recent examples like Tobias Wolff, Art Spiegelman, Sherman Alexie, Alison Bechdel, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, or Edwidge Danticat. Students will have an opportunity to write memoirs of their own.

International Literatures

21L.611 Latin I Randall Colaizzi MW 1:00 - 2:30 14N-112

Prereq: none
3-0-3; first half of term

Latin I offers an introduction for those who do not know the language, or a review for those who would like to refresh the Latin that they have previously learned. In this half-semester intensive course, students will learn the rudiments of Latin vocabulary and grammar, including basic vocabulary, word forms, and simple sentence structure. This is the equivalent of a full first semester of college-level Latin.

(Ends Oct 24)

21L.612 Latin II Randall Colaizzi MW 1:00 - 2:30 14N-112

Prereq: 21L.611 or permission of instructor
3-0-3; second half of term

Latin II offers a continuation of Latin I. This class will complete the basic preparation for those who have begun the language with Latin I (330), or will give a review to those who have learned some Latin previously. In this half-semester intensive course, students will reach the level necessary to read Latin texts at an intermediate level, including the full basic Latin vocabulary, word forms, and a knowledge of more complex sentence structures. This is the equivalent of the second semester of college-level Latin.

(Begins Oct 27)

21L.617[J] Introduction to Hispanic Culture
21G.717[J]
Rebeca Hey-Colon T 7:00 - 10:00pm 16-668

Prereq: One intermediate subject in Spanish or permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H

Taught in Spanish, open to students who have completed Intermediate Spanish or its equivalent.

“Spain is different!” was a famous tourism slogan in the 1960’s. And indeed, for better or worse, Spain is different. Sandwiched between Europe and the North of Africa, holder of a vast transatlantic empire for over three centuries, forged by the co-existence of Arabic, Jewish, and Christian populations, Spain is a fascinating and unique crucible of cultures and traditions. This course examines the evolution of Spanish culture, with an emphasis on literature, art, music, and film.

Seminars

21L.704 Studies in Poetry: The First Person: Memoir and Lyric Voice Stephen Tapscott M 7:00 - 10:00pm 14N-112

Prereq: Two subjects in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit

In this seminar we’re reading a series of contemporary texts in which writers tell life-stories [usually but not always their own life-stories…usually but not always truthfully, or fairly] … texts that that also think about the process of how we tell our life-stories. How much does the process of the telling [or the style or voice or technique or genre] shape the stories we tell—? That, is, shape our lives as we understand them—? Some texts discover the shape of experience, some impose shapes, some ‘borrow’ shapes from other genres and formats, some find significance only in retrospect. Poems, short stories, letters, fables, fairy-tales, lies, even water-colors. Short lectures, student presentations, seminar discussions.

Readings include: Robert Lowell: Life Studies; Sylvia Plath: Ariel, The Bell Jar; Ted Hughes: Crow, The Birthday Letters; John Berryman: 77 Dream Songs; Elizabeth Bishop: Questions of Travel, Geography III.

21L.705 Major Authors: Mapping Melville Wyn Kelley W 7:00 - 10:00pm 2-103

Prereq: Two subjects in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit

In his life and work, Herman Melville traveled widely, from the streets of American cities to the decks of ships in Pacific archipelagos to the tourist sites of London, Rome, Cairo, and Jerusalem. He also traveled far in the worlds of knowledge through a lifetime of reading. And he explored the boundaries of texts themselves, experimenting with literary genres, styles, and creative hybrids. In this class, students will track Melville’s journeys in life and literature, immersing themselves in Melville’s novels, stories, and poems—Typee, Moby-Dick, his magazine fiction, and Billy Budd among others—in order to experience the sweep of his literary and geospatial imagination.

21L.706 Studies in Film: Remakes, Replays, and Remixes
CMS.830
Peter S. Donaldson R 7:00 - 10:00pm 16-676

Prereq: 21L.011, one subject in Literature or Comparative Media Studies; or permission of instructor
3-3-6 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit

Film adaptations of novels, plays and films. Films will include film noir adaptations of science fiction and detective novels and stories, classic fiction, autobiography; films made from plays; films based on other films, and avant-garde takes on Shakespeare. Films and texts: Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The Big Sleep, The Big Lebowski, The Hours/Mrs. Dalloway, Clueless/Emma, A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, X [Malcolm X]/Autobiography of Malcolm X, The Man Who Knew Too Much, North By Northwest, The Passenger (Professione: Reporter), Prospero’s Books, King Lear (Godard).

21L.715 Media in Cultural Context: Social Issues in American Films: Then and Now
CMS.871
Martin Marks TR 12:30 - 2:00pm 56-180

Prereq: Two subjects in Literature or Comparative Media Studies; or permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit

This seminar will explore the ways American films past and present have confronted fundamental social problems. Three topical areas will be the focus: urban life (in particular, the problems of congestion, poverty and crime); advocacy for and opposition to women’s rights (with side glances at issues of race and gay rights); and conflicts revolving around immigration and citizenship. These issues were all addressed in vital ways within a huge number of films from the medium’s very beginning. Thus, in each unit we begin by studying select examples of many types of film from the silent period. They will include fictional narratives (long, short, tragic, comic), educational films, animation, newsreels, etc. Our principal “text” for this material will be the DVD anthology Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 (2007), in conjunction with some mainstream landmarks (e.g., Stroheim’s Greed and Vidor’s The Crowd). In counterpoint to this material, we will examine various films (and television series) from the past two decades that continue to address the same issues. Readings will provide background for each group of films, including the aims and methods of the people who made them, as well as aspects of critical reception and media theory.

Freshman Seminars

21L.A26 Exceptional Scientists / Sciences of Exception Noel Jackson W 7:00 - 9:00pm 4-144

Prereq: none
2-0-4

This is a Freshman Seminar

Note: Freshman ‘advising’ seminars are special academic classes that combine freshman advising with small group learning.

At MIT, you will meet and take classes with exceptional scientists and engineers. Given your impressive background and an MIT education, you may perhaps become one in your own right. In this seminar we will reflect as a group on the backgrounds and experiences that go into making an exceptional human being, whether in the sciences, a profession, or other areas of life. While sharing our own exceptional stories, we will learn from exceptional work by poets and artists, including William Blake and Emily Dickinson, among other theorists and practitioners of what can be called the science of exceptions: a science not of the genus, species, or set, but rather of the unique and irreducibly singular.

Discussions will be led in large part by your own interests, questions, and shared topics of concern, accompanied by plenty of refreshments. Light reading and informal writing assignments will stimulate our conversations. Special excursions – to plays, museums, and readings at MIT and in the Boston area – will be planned throughout the year.

21L.A27 Reading Science Fiction and Fantasy Mary C. Fuller T 3:00 - 5:00pm 5-231

Prereq: none
2-0-4

This is a Freshman Seminar

Note: Freshman ‘advising’ seminars are special academic classes that combine freshman advising with small group learning.