Speaking of suggestions, I cannot recommend highly enough the French independent music label Prikosnovenie, which produces "fair and heavenly voices, medieval music, world-tribal and ethnica sounds." If you love the Gothic and/or fantastic, you must listen to some of the Prikosnovenie artists. My personal favorite is the Russian band Caprice, whose albums Elvenmusic, Elvenmusic II: The Evening of Iluvatar's Children, and Elvenmusic III are unique and haunting interpretations of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth. Other bands focus on ancient, medieval, dark, and fantastical sounds.
My classes begin tomorrow. I am teaching three courses.
Two sections of
First-Year Seminar: Knowing Today By Imagining Tomorrow
“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.
And one section of the upper-division class
The Trail of Tears
This course investigates the historical Trail of Tears and its popular legacy from both U.S. and Native American perspectives, considering the constitutional, political, ideological, social, and cultural issues surrounding the event. Students will consider not only what occurred in the 19th century, but also how its memory lives in 20th- and 21st-century art, film, and literature. The class also will explore relevant local sites such as the Hermitage and the Tennessee State Museum and evaluate how they relate to and communicate the story of the Trail of Tears.
(Note: The latter will work in harmony with the completion of my forthcoming book The Trail of Tears and Indian Removal for Greenwood Press.)
If I am quiet in the near future, it is simply because classes are getting started, and I'm wrapping up this book manuscript.
I'm wishing everyone a great day...
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.