In the meantime, I've lined up my teaching schedule for the rest of 2005, so for my benefit, and just in case anyone is interested, here goes:
For Belmont University:
Native American Identity in the U.S. Context (LIS 3600.01)
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. Texts include Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto by Vine Deloria, Jr., Prison Writings: My Life is My Sun Dance by Leonard Peltier, Genocide of the Mind: New Native American Writing by Marijo Moore (ed.), Tracks by by Louise Erdrich, and Night Sky, Morning Star by Evelina Zuni Lucero, as well as various documentaries, films, music, and a book of each student's choice.
For the Institute for Humane Studies:
*At Princeton University:
The "Foundations of Liberty" Seminar
(my subjects: "The Problem of Native America," "SF and the State," Viewing and Discussion of Dark City, "Why I Am A Cultural Optimist")
*At Chapman University:
The "Liberty, Art, and Culture" Seminar
(my subjects: "The Problem of Native America," "Artistry Before Agenda," "Why I Am A Cultural Optimist")
For Belmont University:
First-Year Seminar: “Ways of Knowing”: Knowing Today by Imagining Tomorrow (GND 1015), two sections
“We live on a minute island of known things. Our undiminished wonder at the mystery which surrounds us is what makes us human. In science fiction we can approach that mystery, not in small, everyday symbols, but in bigger ones of space and time.”
- Damon Knight
“That's really what SF is all about, you know: the big reality that pervades the real world we live in: the reality of change. Science fiction is the very literature of change. In fact, it is the only such literature we have.”
- Frederik Pohl
*What does it mean to be human?
*How do we know what, if anything, is consistent about the human experience, and what, if anything, is always in flux?
*Is change the only constant we can know?
One way in which each generation seeks an answer to these questions is by imagining its future. The way individuals conceive of tomorrow – technologically, scientifically, ethically, politically, socially, and philosophically – reveals a great deal about their time, culture, and intellectual tools. Such thought experiments tell us much about the people and their various ways of knowing in any given era; such “what if” propositions also provide new perspectives, suggest new avenues of inquiry, and experiment with new ways of knowing, as well.
This section of GND 1015 uses science fiction literature, film, television, art, and audio sources to illustrate and explore different ways of knowing. The class will investigate how Western views of tomorrow have evolved across time due to changes in technology, politics, culture, and the disciplines that shape and analyze each. Students will discover how the genre of science fiction has anticipated the future while reflecting the values, anxieties, issues, and intellectual climate of the present. Ultimately, the course texts, discussions, and assignments will challenge students to consider the question of what it means to be human from a variety of different approaches and viewpoints. Required texts include The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, 1984 by George Orwell, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, and The Life of Pi by Yann Martel (FYS common book), as well as various short stories (by authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, E.M. Forster, James Tiptree, Jr., Robert Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Connie Willis, and Lois McMaster Bujold, among others), films (such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Blade Runner, and Dark City, among others), radio broadcasts (War of the Worlds), and a novel of each student's choice.
J.R.R. Tolkien in History, Political Thought, and Literature (LIS 3600.01)
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 "On Fairy-Stories," The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and other Tolkien works, as well as the films, art, and music inspired by them, as important examples of fantasy, art, and modern myth-making.
I will also be participating in the following conventions, and I hope to see some of you there:
And last, a quote for the day from the brilliant James Goldman, from the imagined perspective of the 12th-century cleric Giraldus Cambrensis. Special thanks to theladyrose for the recommendation.
Historians are much like storytellers, are they not? They take events and put them into order. Facts must be connected, they must shed some light or have some bearing on each other. In a word, there must be form.
And one thing more. The final cause, the function or the use of history. Why does it exist? What is it for? Dogs get along without it. So do many men, both barbarous and civilized. Sometimes whole centuries go by without a book. Aside from the Bede, there is no trace of Alfred's reign, or Aethelred's. They managed very well without their chroniclers because they felt no need to find some meaning in events.
There is a purpose to all things. There is an order in the turmoil, there is sense beneath the chaos, there is something to be learned and this is why Man struggles to remember--...
The proper use of history is the elevation of mankind.
from Myself as Witness by James Goldman