RCCORE 334 - Special Topics
Winter 2022, Section 001 - Lettered Worlds & Literary Imagination
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: RC Core Courses (RCCORE)
Department: LSA Residential College
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Waitlist Capacity:
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


One way to define literature-and it's as good a way as any--is to call it a carefully crafted thing made from language by imaginative people. And, if you believe centuries of writers, “literature” means written language, not spoken. The word “literature” itself is built on the Latin word for letter. 

This class will study what carefully crafted works of written language across time and around the world have to say about the letters that make them. Even as we critique the default association of “literature” with writing, these works will help us think about big issues: about orality and literacy as knowledge systems, about power and oppression, about religious revelation. Although our focus will be on language, we will engage with the visual arts (the alphabet is a graphic design, after all) and with theater (we’ll attend a stage adaptation of Octavia Butler’s prophetic novel The Parable of the Sower).

Major readings will range from one of the earliest known works of “literature” (the ancient Mesopotamian epic of Gilgamesh), selections from the Hebrew and Christian Bibles,  medieval French poems about poetry, love, and writing, to recent novels from the Creole Caribbean and the United States.

Course Requirements:

This is a seminar, and as such depends on consistent attendance, active and committed engagement in class discussions, and timely completion of reading and writing assignments. Students will write a series of short response papers (2-3 pages) working toward a final project of 10-15 pages (or equivalent).

Intended Audience:

An advanced seminar studying literature and cultures in a globalizing world, this course is aimed at students with Junior or Senior standing or special interest in its topic.

Class Format:

This will be a discussion-based seminar, with all participants contributing to discussion. We will supplement our classwork with attendance at a performance of a musical theater adaptation of one of our novels, Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower on March 25, 2022. If you would like to register but have accessibility concerns, please reach out and we can discuss possibilities for accommodations.


RCCORE 334 - Special Topics
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
003 (SEM)
 In Person

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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