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Explore love, desire, and violence in literature and culture from the classical world to the present.

Director: Dr. Anna Gibson, Department of English


Amor students will examine the meanings of love and what it conquers, resists, and produces in literature and culture from the classical period to the present. Whom and what do we love? How do we think about love in relation to hate and violence? How do ideologies, social status, gender, and race shape the meanings of love? Students in Amor will learn to assess how acts of reading and writing shape cultural experiences of love and violence.

Amor Faculty
Amor Faculty: Dr. Sarah Miller, Dr. Erin Speese and Dr. Anna Gibson

FALL 2017

Love and Dystopia (ENGL 117C - TR 9:25-10:40am), Dr. Anna Gibson, English

In this class we will explore fiction that images how love suffers, survives, and even flourishes in dystopian worlds. Our readings each create fictional worlds that are strangely like our own but amplify the worst possibilities for our societies, economies, institutions, and environments. In each case we will ask what happens to love-sex; romance; love between friends and family; love for nation and creed; and love for objects and places-in a world that seems hostile and frightening. Many of the dystopias we will encounter in this class amplify the way our social and institutional structures treat and shape identities, communities, and relationships. We will read and watch a range of stories in this class, from classic dystopian fiction (e.g. George Orwell's 1984 or Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 or Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale) to more recent young adult and children's stories (e.g. The Hunger Games or WALL*E). Throughout the class we will examine how dystopian fictions interrogate our contemporary responses to gender, class, race, sexuality, and disability.

Love and Violence in Roman Poetry (CLXS 235C/WSGS 235C - MWF 2:00-2:50pm), Dr. Sarah Miller, Classics

This course is an exploration of the poetic representations of love and violence in several Roman authors. Students will read selections from Propertius, Catullus, Vergil, and Juvenal. A substantial portion of the semester will be devoted to the Augustan poet, Ovid. Students will analyze Ovid's portraits of women as both objects and agents of erotic desire and aggression that have led modern readers to label him a misogynist as well as a proto-feminist. Students will be encouraged to think critically about issues of sex and gender in ancient Rome and in the modern world.

The objectives of this course are:

1. Explore the representations of love, sex, violence, and the models of masculinity and femininity in Roman poetry

2. Identify genre and intended readership in Roman poetry, and to understand how they shape poetic content

3. Encourage creative thinking about how the themes, persons, and problems in Roman poetry remain relevant in the modern world

Thinking and Writing Across the Curriculum, (UCOR 101C - TR 1:40-2:55pm): Love in the Time of Colorblindness: The Rhetoric of Race and Social Justice, Dr. Erin Speese, English

After the Civil Rights movement and the move away from the doctrine of "separate but equal" commensurate with the Jim Crow era, the dialogue around race shifted from the use of openly racist rhetoric to language that was racially coded but did not appear racist. As a result, much of today's language used to discuss race, like "colorblindness," employs carefully crafted terms meant to capitalize on race while appearing to promote tolerance. This course will look carefully at the way racialized language and stereotypes have been employed to prevent empathy and promote intolerance. Rather than exploring the positives of love, this course will look at the way racial rhetoric has been used to promote its opposite: hate. We will look at the way language can appeal to one's emotions and how it can be used to promote social justice or destroy it. To that end, we will be covering Ian Stanley Lopez's Dog Whistle Politics, Melissa Harris-Perry's Sister Citizen, Beyoncé's Lemonade, Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me, and Jesmyn Ward's The Fire This Time. The papers in this course will ask you to analyze racially coded rhetoric, use secondary research to analyze cultural and popular culture texts related to race, and develop thoughtful thesis-driven argument papers about race and social justice. Ultimately, we will question the way racial discourse can dictate narratives of love and hate between ourselves and others as social beings and global citizens.