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I will email posting of a beginning presentation schedule to students before next clas. Welcome to suggest changes or raise problems. Adjustments are always possible.
Nature of seminar topic
What's your familiarity with topic of utopian literature?
In American schools, subject mostly approached negatively, through "dystopias" or "satirical utopias" like 1984, Brave New World, or Lord of the Flies.
How to know Thomas More
1. Saint in Catholic Church (1935) (lawyer for Henry VIII; resisted English church's separation from Rome)
2. subject of 1966 film / play A Man for All Seasons
3. Renaissance man / Christian Humanist
4. Author of Utopia (1516)
Thomas More is often characterized as a "Christian Humanist," Renaissance tradition or school of thought
Erasmus, Dutch theologian and philosopher, opponent of Luther
John Milton, Paradise Lost
William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation
"Christian" and "Humanist" more often seen today as two opposing sides in "culture wars"
But opposition isn't essential, though always tensions
productive to regard as two essential traditions in western civilization
Utopia is not Christian but not exactly Pagan either--note insistence on their belief in afterlife as foundation of morality
Identify self, where you are in graduate studies, teaching or research interests
Comment or question on course objective, author, text.
What previous familiarity or reading in subject? Questions?
welcome, syllabus, webpage
webpage mostly used for convenience, formal presentations and web-reviews
1-2 student presentations per student
2-3 student presentations daily
+ research postings
nature of 5-wks grad course
downsides of schedule:
If you're slow starting or distracted, not much time to recover.
Few opportunities for extended out-of-class research
schedule forces selection of shorter texts, when many
upsides of schedule: (or, making silk purse from sow's ear)
3 meetings per week: not much time to forget (until class is over)
intensive study, concentration
classroom-intensive course: impossible to manage traditional lecture-discussion for 9 hours a week, so good chance to force-grow some student leadership, cooperative learning
pleasure of working, sharing with peers (also danger of irritation in intensive contact)
gain quick immersion in unusual but promising subject matter
summer school often has many teachers: utopia a good teaching subject, with appeal beyond Literature or English majors