First-year students may choose to take one of four Learning and Living seminars offered this Fall semester and described below. More details about each seminar can be found on Wesmaps, Wesleyan's on-line course catalog.
The Three Great Myths: Prometheus, Persephone, and Dionysus
Professor Andrew Szegedy-Maszak
This course is a detailed analysis of three important myths from classical antiquity, the stories of Prometheus, Demeter and Persephone, and Dionysus. Using a variety of interpretive methods, we will examine both literary and visual representations from antiquity. We will also consider how these myths live on in the Western tradition. It is important that students in the course be ready and willing to participate in class discussion.
Unthinkable Suffering: The Problem of “the Problem of Evil”
Professor Mary-Jane Rubenstein
This course will explore the difficulties of reconciling the existence of evil and suffering in the world with the existence of an omnipotent and benevolent God. How have philosophers and theologians sought to justify God by redefining, relativizing, or even explaining away evil? We will explore traditional efforts to set forth "theodicies," or justifications of God's goodness, as well as the inadequacy of these schemes in the face of the horrors of the last century. How is it possible to account for evil that surpasses all understanding, or suffering that is too great to accommodate within some divine plan?
Professor Rashida Shaw
During his lifetime, the world renowned African-American playwright August Wilson graced stages with award-winning and nominated plays from his "Pittsburgh Cycle." This course examines the 10 plays of this cycle in the order that the playwright wrote them, from JITNEY (1982) to RADIO GOLF (2005). We will pay special attention to the playwright's use of language, history, memory, art, and music within his oeuvre.