Honors Rhetoric II: Human Responsibility

Honors Rhetoric II: Human Responsibility

2000-level honors rhetoric course

DISC/ENGL 2306, the second course in the Honors Humanities Seminar, considers how we tell the stories of some of the most contentious human choices and values. We will talk about history, memory, forgetting, invention, reason and rationalization, belief, and deception. To get at these topics, we will read drama, history, comics, novels, philosophy, and film. In the end, we will be thinking about the relation between the world we inhabit and the ways that world is told.

Required Texts:

Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men
Toni Morrison, Beloved
Michael Sandel, Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?
William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice
Art Spiegelman, Maus I and Maus II
Tim O’Brien, In the Lake of the Woods

Course Schedule:

Week 1: Flannery O’Connor, “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”; Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act I and II

Week 2: Merchant, Acts III-V; Said, selection from Orientalism

Week 3: Zygmunt Bauman, “The Dream of Purity”; writing workshop

Week 4: Michael Sandel, “What Matters is the Motive/Immanuel Kant”; Kant, “Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals”

Week 5: Spiegelman, Maus I; Jeremy Bentham, “Utilitarianism”; Sandel, “The Greatest Happiness Principle/Utilitarianism”

Week 6: Spiegelman, Maus II; Film: Night and Fog; writing workshop

Week 7: Browning, Ordinary Men; Video: Stanley Milgram Obedience Experiment (1961)

Week 8: Sandel, “Hired Help/Markets and Morals”; Donne, “Meditation 17”; Auden, “Friday’s Child,” “Law Like Love”; Du Bois, “Our Spiritual Strivings”

Week 9: Morrison, Beloved

Week 10: Morrison, Beloved cont’d.

Week 11: O’Brien, In the Lake of the Woods

Week 12: O’Brien, In the Lake of the Woods, cont’d.

Weeks 13-14: Final presentations; writing workshops for final research paper