Culture and Cultural Practices

The Secrets of Good Writing

Instructor: 
Eudora Watson
Meeting Days/Times: 
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.
Also Counts: 
This course also fulfills the HU general education requirement

When it comes to writing, do Virginia Woolf and Stephen King agree on anything? In this seminar we will consider the insights novelists, poets, and short story writers have shared with us about the whys and hows of writing. With an eye to investigating the relationship between stated practice and product, we will examine the historical context in which advice on how to write well has been offered and read from each writer’s body of work. As part of our inquiry we will take advantage of the SLU Writers Series to hear from writers first-hand.

The Craft of Acting, or Speaking for a Soul

Instructor: 
Matt Saltzberg
Meeting Days/Times: 
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.
Also Counts: 
This course also counts as PCA 107 and fulfills the ARTS general education requirement

Grounded in the Stanislavski Method of Physical Action, this course is designed to introduce you to the craft of acting and the role of the artist in society. You will learn basic techniques that actors use in order to create characters for performance in front of a live audience. The exercises we engage in are designed to focus on and develop the most fundamental tools at an actor’s disposal: voice, body, concentration, listening skills, and imagination.

This American Life: A Cultural Perspective

Instructor: 
Robin Rhodes-Crowell
Meeting Days/Times: 
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.
Also Counts: 
This course also fulfills the HU general education requirement

Ready to make some sense of American culture? Why do Americans do what they do? During this course, we will explore American culture through popular and scholarly readings, movies, radio and television programs, and extensive discussion. We will critically examine, reflect on, and evaluate important components of American culture, including interpersonal relationships and social structure, food and food ways, and technology. Through engaging texts written by citizens and non-citizens, we will deepen our understanding of what it means to live in America.

Knowing and Narrative: Storytelling Across the Disciplines

Instructor: 
Pedro Ponce
Meeting Days/Times: 
Tuesday and Thursday 10:10 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
Also Counts: 
This course also fulfills the HU general education requirement

This seminar will explore the role that storytelling has throughout contemporary culture--not just as literature but as the fundamental unit of creating and preserving knowledge. We'll look at the different ways that stories function across a variety of disciplines--and how digital technology is changing the way we think about storytelling.

Birth, Life and Death: The Philosophy of Your Life

Instructor: 
Jeffrey Maynes
Meeting Days/Times: 
Tuesday and Thursday 10:10 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
Also Counts: 
This course also fulfills the HU general education requirement

What can philosophy teach us about our experiences, decisions and trials as we live our lives and ultimately face our deaths? In this course, we will follow the course of a life, from birth, through childhood and education, to one's career and ultimately to death. Along the way, we'll examine the difficult and pressing choices we have to make. How do we find meaning in our life? What is the relationship between a good life and a good paycheck? Can one ever make a rational decision about having children? How does our identity develop as children?

How to Like It: Depictions of Happiness in the Modern World

Instructor: 
Josh Exoo
Meeting Days/Times: 
Tuesday and Thursday 10:10 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
Also Counts: 
This course also fulfills the HU general education requirement

“The purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear,” so says the Dalai Lama. But what makes him so sure? And what is happiness? Like pornography, do we just know it when we see it? What are the myriad definitions of happiness that flood a modern consumer, and how can we separate truths from fictions? How can a force so universally desired still be so elusive in the modern world? This course will investigate all these questions via various depictions of happiness in philosophy, literature and film. How do competing definitions of happiness compliment or contradict one another?

Fairy Tales

Instructor: 
Caroline Breashears
Meeting Days/Times: 
Tuesday and Thursday 10:10 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
Also Counts: 
This course also counts as ENG 190 and fulfills the HU general education requirement

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, / Who’s the fairest one of all?” As anyone who has read the Brothers Grimm knows, the answer is “Snow White.” With skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony, she surpasses her wicked stepmother in beauty and therefore seals her death warrant. But why does the stepmother sit around talking to a mirror? Why does Snow White have to escape from her stepmother by moving in with seven dwarfs? And why must she die before she can meet her prince? What’s really going on in fairy tales?

The Meaning of Life and Intellectualism

Instructor: 
Kyle Benton
Meeting Days/Times: 
Tuesday and Thursday, 10:10 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
Also Counts: 
This course also fulfills the HU general education requirement

What do you like to think about? What questions are recurrent in your mind? Finding meaning in life starts with finding meaning in thinking – concerning both what we know and how we come to know it. In considering both the lens we inherit (Facticité) and those we acquire from our world (milieu) we will first begin to contemplate the relationships between the socialized individual and culture.

American Prose, American Places

Instructor: 
Camilla Ammirati
Meeting Days/Times: 
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.
Also Counts: 
This course also fulfills the HU general education requirement

From Walden to The Wire, literature and pop culture texts draw heavily on their settings and strongly influence audiences’ perceptions about those places in turn. Paying particular attention to American fiction, this seminar will explore the relationship between distinctive places and the writing done in and/or about them. Combining close reading of creative texts and careful research into their cultural, historical, and spatial contexts, we will go from our own North Country to the South and the West.

The Healing Power of Poetry

Instructor: 
Karyn Crispo
Meeting Days/Times: 
Tuesday and Thursday 10:10 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
Also Counts: 
This course also fulfills the HU general education requirement

In the days following 9/11, the only section of Barnes and Noble that had any traffic was the poetry section. In times of personal and communal tragedy, people turn to poetry, tapping into its healing power. This seminar will explore how a poem that begins as an individual experience morphs into an exercise in language that, at its best, expresses a collective grief altogether separate from the personal anguish with which the poet may have begun.

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