Slavic R5A, Section 1: Madness

MWF 8-9, Dwinelle 250. Instructor: Brendan Hamilton.

Units: 4

On the one hand, this is a class about reading; reading for content, reading for meaning, reading to enjoy, and reading to understand. We will be looking at a variety of texts (short stories, poems, novels, films) together, all united, albeit loosely, by the attention they pay to the theme of madness. This might mean a central character is afflicted with some kind of mental illness, or even the narrator himself. In either case, we’ll be exploring what types of purposes the theme of madness might serve, either narratorial or representative.


On the other hand, this a class about writing, as both process and finished product. In terms of process, students should expect to be regularly engaged with some kind of writing, albeit often informal. Writing in these daily iterations, both in class and at home as reading responses, commentaries, and reflections, will function as a platform wherein you explore your own and your classmates’ thinking. It will be a place for you to develop your own approach to the texts, topics, and themes that come up in our course. 


In terms of product, we will be composing between five and seven short, though more formal essays over the course of the semester: essays that perform close readings of course-texts, essays that perform analyses, essays that advance arguments, and essays that do all three. The course is structured so as to guide you through these different modes of writing: the work we do in class and for homework will provide you with the tools, approaches, and frameworks you need to compose these essays.

Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.