A sampling of syllabi and assignments from recent courses.
What does it mean to dream of a better world? Humanity has been imagining Utopia for centuries – long before Sir Thomas More gave us a name for it in 1516. But why? If Utopia is as unattainable as its very name suggests, why do we continue to search for it? What does our constant need to search for Utopia say about us? This course offers a survey of Utopian texts from Plato’s Republic through contemporary science fiction films.
A course studying some of the most popular fiction of the middle ages: the tales of adventure and love that have come to be known as “romance.” These tales gave our world the idea of the knight in shining armor, fighting bravely for his beloved, but they are also tales of magic, of virtue, of friendship, and of faith.
self and society: british lit through the 18th century
A survey course focused on the ideas of “self” and “society” and how they shaped – and were shaped by – the literature and drama of England from the Anglo-Saxon period through the beginning of cultural divergence with America. The chosen texts, including Beowulf, selections from The Canterbury Tales, Doctor Faustus, Measure for Measure, selections from Paradise Lost, Oroonoko, and Gulliver’s Travels, illustrate how the balance between self and society changes over time, and how these shifting forces define what it means to be “English.”
An upper-level seminar exploring early English theatre. The course examines how the plays of the 14th – 16th centuries were enmeshed in religious, political, and civic life as well as how and why this drama has been categorized as “medieval” despite their continued flourishing throughout the Tudor period and beyond.
arthur: the once and future king
This course introduces students to the development of Arthurian legend from the chronicles and myths of post-Roman Britain through medieval epics, Victorian poetry, and the novels, films, and TV shows of today.
the undead: vampires in folklore, fiction, and film
This course (originally taught as a Summer Studies course for Duke TIP and later at Hood) examines the vampires of myth and legend, literature and film, and try to uncover what our obsession with vampires (and werewolves, and other creatures that go bump in the night) says about us as individuals and as a society.
british drama: from everyman to evita
A course that considers the ways that Britain’s cultural landscape is not only reflected in, but also shaped by, its theatre. Plays include Everyman, Doctor Faustus (Marlowe), The Rover (Behn), The Importance of Being Earnest (Wilde), Pygmalion (Shaw), and A Number (Churchill).