Tuesdays, 7 PM – 10 PM
This course examines “failure to communicate” in a variety of cultural areas, among them literature, romance, politics, theater, law, science, war, and education. We’ll bring literary, philosophical, psychological and historical perspectives to these issues. Materials will include literary fiction (e.g., short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri, Herman Melville, Toni Morrison), drama (e.g., Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”), poetry (e.g., Robert Frost’s “Home Burial”) film (“Cool Hand Luke” among others) TV (e.g., an episode from “House”), and significant nonfiction, journalism and scholarship. We’ll also experiment, trying some role-playing communication exercises with students: a couple breaking up, a U.S. general talking to a Russian general, a novelist trying to explain to an editor why some material shouldn’t be cut, a back-and-forth between a stopped driver and a police officer. Finally, we’ll have to ask whether failure to communicate is always a bad thing, and how to avoid its worst consequences.
Requirements: A 6-page midterm paper, a 15-page final paper, 10 short (up to two paragraphs) ungraded critical comments on assigned reading or viewing over the term, and active participation in class discussion.
Please contact Professor Carlin Romano if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org