|Instructor Info:||Daniel Block|
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This writing intensive course examines the equivocal meaning of community across British literary history and at Hampshire College. To what extent is community a positive value, we ask? In what ways do conflict and hostility make community possible? How does literature represent existing forms of community and imagine alternatives?
To address these questions, the seminar explores a range of topics: among them, Shakespeare’s dramatization of the bond between master and slave, Hobbes’s claim that sovereign power must quell a violent state of nature, Swift’s misanthropy, Mary Shelley’s limited sympathy for the non-human, and Austen’s blurred line between life and literature.
Along the way, students practice the skills of literary analysis while also completing a range of non-traditional writing assignments to document their experience of community. Through experiential learning, students reflect on their activity at Hampshire and beyond to generate fresh perspectives on British literary history. Conversely, the readings provide students with a lens for reexamining their own communities.
Enduring goals: On completing this course, students are able…
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