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The purpose of this course is to give students an opportunity to improve applied communication skills. Research, creativity, and critical thinking are the core of this class. Students will learn the basics of small group communication. Students will participate in several debates and will develop formal presentations on interpersonal communication "soft-skills."
The Industrial Revolution is known to have ravaged the English cities which gave it birth: think of "industrial-era London," and a grim tableau of grimy street urchins, exhausted assembly-line workers, and factories shrouded in soot and smog comes quickly to mind. Yet authors of the time were often overcome with wonder at such bleak urban realities, resorting to language of the sublime, the gothic, and the grotesque to represent new modes of urban life. In this course we will examine the work of Romantic-era authors. We will pay particular attention to their feelings of confusion and ambivalence as they describe the city as a site of forbidding monstrosity and dreamlike enchantment alike. Readings will include work by Barbauld, Blake, De Quincey, Reynolds, Shelley, Wordsworth, and more.
In this course, we will study the fiction of three American Romantics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville. We will consider why these authors are often referred to as "Dark Romantics," contrasting their interest in humanity's sinfulness, guiltiness, and perversity to the Transcendentalists' celebration of the inner divinity. We will analyze their writing carefully, especially their affection for the gothic. We also will investigate the Dark Romantics' engagement with nineteenth-century social and political questions, including labor reform, slavery, and colonialism. Class sessions will feature in-depth discussions of particular works, while major assignments will include one three-page analytical paper and a five-page paper with a light research component.
The course will cover, in roughly chronological order, some important examples of the many films devoted to baseball. We will also read some of critical work devoted to the form and possibly one baseball novel that provides the basis for a film. We will pay particular attention in both book and film to the complex relationship between baseball and American culture. We will discuss the films as examples of the art of film, as products of American history and society, as treatments of the play and significance of the sport. Students will write approximately three papers based on the films, readings, and discussions.