Freshman Seminars

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The Art of Storytelling

Deborah Foster
2018 Spring
02:00pm - 03:59pm
Location: Warren House 102
Class Number: 13644  Course ID: 122447
Class Capacity: 12  Consent Required: Instructor

Description: Throughout the centuries and across all continents, men and women have told stories to express the values they find in their common experiences of everyday life. While the multiple storytelling traditions of the teller influence the content and form of the emergent tale, each narrator shapes the story to reflect his or her own intentions, making it personally expressive as well as publicly meaningful to a particular audience in a specific place and time. Drawing on scholarship of oral storytelling traditions and reading (in translation) myths, tales, legends, plays and other forms from several traditions, this seminar will examine the nature of storytelling, its enduring appeal, and its ability to adapt to multiple new platforms (stage, print, film, internet). Participants will engage in the storytelling process itself in order to understand better the interrelationship of structure, plot, character, imagery, rhythm, voice and gesture to the story as a whole in a variety of media, ranging from mime to video.

Folklore and the Culture of Childhood

Maria Tatar
2017 Fall
Wednesday, 03:00pm - 04:59pm
Location: Warren House 102
Class Number: 16259  Course ID: 160202
Class Capacity: 12  Consent Required: Instructor

Description: This course begins by examining the stories of Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen and explores the migration of fairy tales into literary and cinematic cultures for adults and for children. From fairy tales we turn to fantasy literature and to the great counterfactuals in Other Worlds constructed for children. Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Neil Gaiman's Ocean at the End of the Lane will guide us through our investigation of what Graham Greene called the "excitement and revelation" of books read in childhood. 

Comparative Historical Mythology

Michael Witzel
2017 Fall
Thursday, 04:00pm - 05:59pm
Location: Barker Center 211
Class Number: 16522  Course ID: 109498
Class Capacity: 15  Consent Required: Instructor

Description: Deals with an innovative approach to comparative mythology by incorporating an historical approach, not by the commonly assumed archetypes or diffusion. Working backwards from our earliest written sources (Egypt, etc.), successively earlier stages are detected through repeated reconstructions. Recent developments in genetics, archaeology, linguistics support the proposed historical model that tentatively reaches back to the "African Eve". Testing the proposal offers a wide scope for students participation and research in texts and in the sciences. Open to Freshmen only.