Course Descriptions: Summer Honors Program
June 24th - July 27, 2012
The Honors Summer Program for Summer 2012 is comprised of 2 courses plus activities and experiential learning. It is best if BOTH courses are taken together. Overall the program will address the student learning outcomes for Goals 9, 5, 10, and 6 with diversity and gender components.
"Genocide Embodied” considers our capacity to dehumanize, to be inhumane – really to be “un-human” -- and asks if there is any hope for us to be more fully human, even civilized. Looking at the negative extremes – recent, ancient and contemporary – we will search for humanity amidst the “facts” of genocide, ethnic cleansing, rape warfare, slavery, cultural annihilation, the justifications and rationalizations for these, and our responses. We will work with the contradictions of intellectual feelings and emotional reasoning to assert our human responsibility amidst the carnage that goes beyond the triumvirate of bystander, perpetrator, or victim. Whereas the “study of” may at times remove us from the immediacy and personal connections to such events, we will strive to recognize ourselves and the reality of our corporeality -- the physical body – that connects us to the horror, pain, and despair of genocide and the genocidal and the consequences thereof as experienced in and through our bodies and our emotions. We will challenge the Cartesian Mind / Body dualism in a construct of the genocidal as irrational, un-human, and obscene (see Claude Landsmann’s documentary Sho’ah and the “the obscenity of understanding”.
Gender and the Body
This course will focus on the gendered body. We will consider how different bodies are positioned in power dynamics of race, class, gender, sexual identity, and national location. We will therefore look at how women in particular able to claim authority over their bodies. We will discuss topics such as:
The course will disrupt the mind/body split to instead explore how our understandings of our bodies and those of others affect us physically, psychologically, and emotionally. We will combine intellectual discussions of the issues listed above with creative activities designed to enhance our sense of embodiment, including journal exercises on the five senses and reflections on our experiences doing everyday activities, such as exercising or eating. As we become mindful of our own senses of embodiment, we will also learn how to connect our experiences to the feminist course content and to apply the issues to our everyday lives. The class will conclude with a collaborative activity in which students work collectively to contribute something to the campus community about the issues we have discussed, thus working toward social change. The goal is to leave us with some feminist strategies for sustaining an empowering and healthy relationship with our bodies and whole selves in the future.