* Thanks to everyone who voted in my recent poll. I'm so happy that there's still interest in my October "spooky posts." They will be back this year, beginning exactly in one month, on October 1!
* I have my teaching schedule now for the rest of the academic year for the upper-division, online seminars I'll be offering for Belmont University.
In the second quarter of this semester, I'll be teaching "History and the Gothic Imagination."
The Gothic literary tradition began in the mid-eighteenth century in Europe and lives on in various forms across the globe through contemporary fiction, poetry, art, music, film, and television. Mad scientists, blasted heaths, abandoned ruins, elusive ghosts, charming vampires, and even little green men people its stories. With ingredients such as a highly developed sense of atmosphere, extreme emotions including fear and awe, and emphases on the mysterious and the paranormal, Gothic works tend to express anxieties about social, political, religious, and economic issues of the time, as well as rejection of prevailing modes of thought and behavior. Using classic texts and the latest multimedia sources, this course will investigate the fascinating and subversive Gothic imagination (from the haunted castles of Horace Walpole to the threatening aliens of H.P. Lovecraft, from Frankenstein to The X-Files), identify the historical conditions that have inspired it, consider how it has developed across time and place and medium, and explore how it has left its indelible imprint on the modern genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
In the first quarter of the Spring 2008 semester, I'll be teaching "Native American Identity in the U.S. Context."
This course investigates major issues and expressions of Native American identity in the U.S. past and present. Through examinations of Native American history, political thought, film, and literature, students will gain a deeper understanding of the key questions and turning points that have shaped and continue to influence Native American self-expression and activism. Students will explore Native American events and concerns such as representation, removal, and repatriation in the U.S. context.
In the second quarter of the Spring 2008 semester, I'll be teaching "J.R.R. Tolkien in History, Political Thought, and Literature."
This course will explore the works, inspiration, and influence of J.R.R. Tolkien. Students will consider the historical era that directly inspired the world of Middle-earth, the political movements that adopted and reinterpreted Tolkien's symbols in the mid-to-late twentieth century, and the questions of religion, environmentalism, and war that now make Tolkien resonate in the the twenty-first century consciousness. In so doing, students will analyze The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and other Tolkien works as important examples of fantasy, art, and modern myth-making.
* And, last but not least, congratulations to my little sister Margret, who graduated with her Master's earlier this summer, and now has accepted a position as Operational Marine Meteorologist for Weathernews, Inc. Way to go, Sis!
The quote of the day never fails to crack me up, despite - or perhaps because of - the fact I'm a fan of Queen:
"Nothing about him looked particularly demonic, at least by classical standards. No horns, no wings. Admittedly he was listening to a Best of Queen tape, but no conclusions should be drawn from this because all tapes left in a car for more than a fortnight metamorphose into Best of Queen albums. No particularly demonic thoughts were going through his head. In fact, he was wondering vaguely who Moey and Chandon were."
- from Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett