Spaces of Conflict/ Moments of Understanding

Welcome to Great Works II 2850! In this course, we will be asking questions about literature and its relationship to culture. This is a not a survey meant to solidify imposed Westernized images of what literature might mean or be to us personally but it is rather a class meant to unpack and examine the many varied aspects of a text that make up meaning and think through the ways we read. We will look at texts from many different perspectives (cultural, social, philosophical, scientific, and personal, etc…) and find a space in which these many discourses converge.

I would like us to start from a place that does not always make us comfortable. Moments of conflict, indecision, or confusion and think about reading through these works as erring, stumbling through, or wandering without necessarily searching for a truth or reason but rather thinking of the text as a space for engagement.

To offer a bit of a framework, I would like us to investigate the following together this semester:

How can we reevaluate what these texts mean to us and the way in which they are categorized?

What is the value of interpreting these texts and what are the consequences of our interpretation?

What power does language have in our interpretations? Furthermore, what is the relationship between Language and Power?

How can we think about these texts with a greater, global notion of History and how can we problematize this notion?

How do different modes of storytelling create communities and/or centers and peripheries and what does this mean for us as readers?

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