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“A reading research, and/or lecture seminar, as specified each semester, on a particular topic, period, or genre, as specified each semester. Reading seminars will require extensive reading of, and reports on, primary and secondary works involving the topic, while research seminars will require a research project(s), which extensively investigates a certain aspect about the topic, period, or genre. Student discussion will be paramount” (RSU Bulletin, 2001-02, p. 246).
official description is obviously a little vague (“to be specified”).
This course is an advanced seminar in the Humanities. It is designed to be
the culmination of your academic experience at Rogers State University in
the Bachelor's of Arts, Liberal Arts program (in fact, if you have not
already completed the BALA’s Portfolio/Capstone Project courses, you
need special permission from the professor just to enroll in this class).
In the above description, this seminar falls somewhere between a Reading
Seminar and a Research Seminar. The crucial fact to note is that student
discussion- your contribution- is paramount.
The specific topic for this year's Humanities Seminar is “Madness and Beauty.” We will read a number of literary and scholarly works that deal with madness (or irrationality), and its relationship to ideals of beauty and goodness. Each unit we examine a different work (or selections from various works), and we will spend the vast majority of our time reading, discussing, and writing about the meaning and significance of those works. That means that the course will require a great deal of work on your part, but it will be worth it. This course is also the first step toward the completion of your Capstone Project and Portfolio. In this course you will formally propose your project and begin compiling your portfolio, both of which you will complete in the Capstone Project course this spring.
Link to the Van Gogh Museum:
You have five main responsibilities during this course. First, of course, you must read all of the assigned readings; second, you must participate fully in all of our class discussions; third, you must create seven projects (for lack of a better word) during the course (one for each of the seven units); fourth, you will lead our discussions once during the semester; and fifth, you must propose your capstone project. Your grade will be the result of your performance on these projects, the discussions, the presentation, the capstone proposal, and the final exam.
a unit project? Basically, in every unit every student will respond to the
material for that unit. In most cases that material is a text, the reading
assignment for the unit, but in a few cases it is something else (an art
show, a web-site, etc.). Whatever the material in question, you the
student will respond to the work-- that may involve criticizing,
evaluating, or interpreting the work in question. If that sounds vague,
that’s for a reason. You are free to decide what form your response
takes. It may be a traditional academic essay; it may be a creative work
of fiction or poetry related to the material at hand; or it may be a
work of art, a piece of music, a painting—whatever you decide works best
for that particular unit. Hopefully, you will choose different means of
response for different units. We will discuss further (during the first
unit) what is involved in these projects, and what I expect from you.
Primarily, I want to see that you have done some critical and creative
thinking about the work in question, but we will discuss more what that
I will be grading these projects according to the
criteria listed under “Grading Policies” (below), but evidence of
creative and critical thinking will be particularly important. Understand
also that we are doing one of these projects every two weeks, so I do not
expect your masterpiece, your magnum opus. I do expect that
you will do some creative and critical thinking about the material in
question, and that's mainly what I want to see in your projects. You will
show your work in class so that everyone can see (and discuss) each
other’s creations. At least once in the semester every student will
write a more traditional academic essay for their presentation. All essays
must be typed and double-spaced, four to five pages long, with margins of
Given the time-sensitive nature of this course, no
credit will be given for work not submitted on time. All projects are
due at the beginning of the class period. Further details on the nature of
these assignments will be given in class. There will also be a final exam,
the nature of which will be discussed in class later in the semester. Failure to complete any presentation or assignment will be grounds for
failure of the course as a whole.
We will talk quite a bit about your capstone projects. I am sure
you are all feeling some anxiety. These are designed to be the culmination
of your Liberal Arts education, “an original, specialized project,
integrating the student’s cumulative academic experiences” (RSU
Bulletin 2002-03, p. 242). This can be an academic essay, a series of
artworks, a novella- the choice is yours. Once you have a general topic in
mind, you will need to contact a member of the faculty to serve as your
advisor. Whatever you propose must be approved both by your advisor and by
this year’s Capstone Committee. Further details on the requirements for
the Capstone Project will be discussed in class.
Finally, this course will emphasize discussion. I
will regularly suggest questions pertaining to the material we will be
discussing in the following class. Students should come to class prepared
to address these questions. On certain days, our discussions will be
student-led. Every student will be responsible for leading the discussion
twice during the semester. On those occasions, that student will present
questions for discussion, summarize some of the basic issues, and defend
their conclusions about the material in question. Regardless
of whether you are leading the discussion or not, you will have to participate every day to pass this class. Always
bring to class the book we are discussing.
All student work will be judged according to the following academic criteria:
Every student’s final grade will be earned via the following:
Aug 20 T Introduction to the Course
UNIT I: Madness and Beauty in Hamlet
* William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Sep 3 T
Film and Discussion: Hamlet
First Project Due
UNIT II: Subterranean Madness: Notes from Dostoyevsky
Sep 10 T
* Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes
Film: Christopher Nolan’s Memento
Second Project Due
UNIT III: The Philosopher’s Madness: Nietzsche
* Friedrich Nietzsche,
of Tragedy and Beyond
Good and Evil (selections)
Nietzsche, Ecce Homo
Third Project Due
UNIT IV: The
Artist’s Madness: Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh Slide Show and Discussion
Fourth Project Due
Civilization and its Discontents
* Sigmund Freud, Civilization
and its Discontents, Parts I-IV
* Freud, Civilization and its
Discontents, Parts V-VIII
Film and Discussion: Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound
Fifth Project Due
UNIT VI: Is it me?
* Ken Kesey, One Flew Over
the Cuckoo’s Nest
12 T Film:
Milos Forman’s One Flew
Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Sixth Project Due
19 T Film: David
Fincher’s Fight Club
J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye
10-16 FINAL EXAM
Exact day and time to be announced.
Indicates student-led discussion.
John Everett Millais. Ophelia, 1852. Oil on canvas, the Tate Gallery, London.
| VAN GOGH, Vincent
Branches with Almond Blossom
Oil on canvas
73.5 x 92 cm
Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam
Scan by http://http://www.artchive.com/ Mark Harden