FALL 2009

The Life and Writing of Whitman (56:606:522:01)

In this course we will undertake intensive study of Walt Whitman’s body of writing, with emphasis on how it connects to his experiences in Camden in his late career. We will pay special attention to the digital worlds that Whitman now inhabits and explore local archives and museums that maintain the memory of Whitman. As a class, we will be part of a larger project (an NEH digital humanities grant) that will have us engaged with students at multiple universities (all involved in study of Whitman) in a concurrent, connected, semester-long inquiry into the relationship between a specific locale and a particular phase of the poet’s work. We will use open-source software to collaborate in an online learning environment, and each student will perform original research and publish it electronically through the project website.


South African Literature, with trip to South Africa (56:606:613:01)

In this course we will read work by some of the most accomplished writers in the English language, all of whom live (or lived) in South Africa. The history of South Africa is a violent one, but in recent years, with the end of the racist apartheid state, a new multiracial democratic society has emerged and the process of healing and reparation has begun. The literature—short stories, novels, poetry, and plays—we read will take account of this remarkable history and the diverse ethnic population of the country, which includes (as a result of European colonization and forced enslavement) British, Dutch, and Southeast Asian peoples, in addition to native Africans. The course will focus on literature of the last thirty or forty years and will include two Nobel Prize winners, Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee. We will also watch several films of the apartheid and post-apartheid eras. The course lasts eight weeks and culminates in a trip during Spring Break to South Africa, where we will experience first-hand some of the places we have read about, visiting world-class wineries, reading on the beach by the Indian Ocean, and going on safari in Kruger National Park. We will also tour several museums, meet with practicing writers, and go to a play or two in Cape Town and Johannesburg.