COURSE THEME: THE PEN AND THE SWORD, VIOLENCE, EDUCATION, AND IDENTITY
Every time a mass shooting occurs, it shocks all over again. Those at schools seem particularly disturbing. We start asking why? How might it have been avoided? How can we stop this from happening again? And yet, it continues to happen. Violence is everywhere in our culture, from state-sponsored wars to domestic abuse to video games and films and, of course, mass shootings. For this course, we’ll focus on some explorations of the causes of violence and some of its representations, with an emphasis on youth and violence—why shoot at school? Why join a gang? How does violence at home affect people? How might other social factors, such as class and gender, affect violence? While I don’t expect us to answer these questions fully, and I know there are many answers to them, I hope that these texts will provide a rich array of issues for exploration in ways you might also adapt to some of your own interests. While violence is the theme of the course, the focus is on your writing. Authors likely to include Tommy Orange (There, There), Stephen Pinker, and Michael Moore, among others.