Jump to content - Jump to section navigation
Sign up now for Summer 2013 News and Reminders.
Summer Session I
June 3 to July 5, 2013
Summer Session II
July 8 to August 9, 2013
Extended Summer Session
June 3 to August 9, 2013
High school students should view Courses for High School Students.
4 credit hoursInstructor: Laura HillOnline-M, W 06:00 - 07:30 PM
Extended Summer Session: June 3 to August 9, 2013Mental illness occurs in all groups, yet a very particular type of mental illness narrative became common - we could even say popular - in the twentieth century: stories of mental illness in young women. Almost always dramatic and frequently romanticized, the experience of mental illness as recounted in these books deserves to be examined. In this class, we will explore novels and memoirs that articulate and narrate experiences of mental illness while we interrogate gendered aspects of those experiences and narratives. Texts we may look at include "The Yellow Wallpaper," The Bell Jar, and Prozac Nation. We will use critical theory to discuss the ways that mental illness functions as a metaphor.By the end of the course, students will have written three essays: a close reading essay; a lens essay (one that uses one text to analyze another); and a research essay. As a University Writing Seminar, this class's primary goal is to prepare students for college-level academic writing. Students will develop a critical vocabulary for thinking about the process of composition and revision as well as cultivate crucial research skills that will help them make the most of the information resources available through Brandeis.Sage class number: 2115Course Tuition: $2,475 plus a nonrefundable once per summer $50 registration fee
4 credit hoursInstructor: Steven PlunkettM, T, Th 01:30 - 03:50 PM
Summer Session II: July 8 to August 9, 2013What does it mean to find something funny? When we laugh, must we laugh at something or someone? Why do I sometimes feel such keen discomfort when watching reruns of I Love Lucy, or The Office? Such notorious killjoys as Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, and Immanuel Kant have given their attention to humor, and their evaluations haven't always been positive. Some claim that laughter must necessarily be an expression of contempt for another, that enjoyment of comedy encourages coarseness of feeling and deadens our sympathy for others. These thinkers say that comedy transforms our neighbors' pain and humiliation into entertainment. Certainly, racist or sexist humor seems to operate on this principle, and as the saying goes -- most often attributed to Mel Brooks -- "Tragedy is when I cut my finger; comedy is when you fall down an open manhole and die." However, there are also those who claim that laughter encourages human sympathy and community. Comedy, they claim, can both unite us in common understanding and help us get outside of our petty jealousies and prejudices by giving us a new perspective on the world. Humor, it turns out, may make us more able to care about each other and to understand our world. It may even be one of the more valuable forms of intellectual inquiry available to curious and sympathetic thinkers. This course sets out to investigate the relationship between our capacity to enjoy comedy and our ability to appreciate the experiences of others, and seeks to provide interested students the opportunity to sharpen their academic skills and to deepen their analytic habits of mind. We will examine the real and supposed tensions between comedy and sympathy by carefully considering key ideas from a variety of disciplines and by closely examining examples of humor from literature, the visual arts, and performances in television or film. The question of what we find funny and how we ought to regard that feeling offers ample opportunity to rigorously investigate examples of humor, to engage critically the often contentious scholarship that considers that question, and to produce original research suggesting some kind of answer to it over the course of three substantive essay assignments. Students will leave the course with experience in applying essential strategies for framing and working through analytic questions in writing, amply prepared to begin with confidence their scholastic careers at Brandeis.You can view a syllabus for this class here.Sage class number: 2099Course Tuition: $2,320 plus a nonrefundable once per summer $50 registration fee