Writing and Critical Inquiry 1510 (Fall 2021): Rethinking Domesticity

Over the past two years our relationship to domestic space has been transformed. Through long months of quarantine and isolation, many of us no longer simply lived at home: we worked or studied there, too. Yet this new dispensation affords us a unique opportunity: to rethink domesticity altogether. This class initiates and sustains a critical inquiry around the subject of domesticity and domestic life, inviting students to practice and extend their academic writing skills in dialogue with authors, and each other, about the meaning of domesticity in the present.

Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat in her home office in Miami.

Introduction to Literature Seminar (Spring 2021): Medieval Worldbuilders

What happens when we read or watch a film about an imaginary world? How are these worlds put together? What makes them convincing, vivid, and memorable? And why have so many great modern worldbuilders – authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis – been scholars of medieval English literature? This course considers the creation of strange, fantastic, and allegorical worlds in the Middle Ages. From Geoffrey Chaucer’s House of Fame to Christine de Pizan’s City of Ladies, we will think about the ways that imaginary worlds are made and sustained in the medieval period. We will also learn some Middle English, the language in which several of these works were written. 

The 13th-c. Ebstorf mappamundi

Writing and Critical Inquiry 1510 (Spring 2021): Religion, Race, and Democracy

In the summer of 2017, Charlottesville witnessed one of the most shocking episodes of public racism in recent American history. The Unite the Right Rally, which eventually broke into violent clashes with anti-racist protestors, resulted in three deaths and prompted a reckoning within the University community about race. More broadly, shifting divisions in the American electorate, a rising tide of populism, and economic trends that favor educated workers have only exacerbated tensions in the American democratic experiment, especially around two difficult subjects: race and religion. What does our country owe Black Americans, and what can be done to make government represent all citizens’ interests? What role do educational institutions have to play in the formation of citizens? Is religion special, and what place do religious beliefs have in public life? What is the future of our political project?

  • Syllabus
  • Click here to watch “The Monument,” directed by Maria Payton, a documentary that began as a paper for this course.
James Baldwin
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