Syllabus supplement


Think of the dialogue as one additional way of discussing things with the others in the class. Since many do not have the chance to meet with one another after class, this electronic tool gives everyone the chance to do that. What would you say to one another about  the topics?

 These will be posted on Blackboard. Note that the links in the topics below should work from this page even though they do not show up on Blackboard, so you should have a look at those from this page before making your comments there.

As far as the instructors' place in the dialogues is concerned: the instructor is supposed to have an occasional presence but make sure not to dominate in this kind of tool. Hmmm. In other words, this is your forum to dialogue with one another and I and Matt should only pop in to correct a serious mistake or remind folks to be civil. I have to admit, there will probably be occasions when I won’t be able to help myself! But for the most part I will just be recording everyone’s level of participation for your course grade. The dialogue participation will count towards 10% of the course grade.


*  Question 1: Introduce yourself to the class.

*  Question 2: Discuss the nature of narrative conflict. How does such conflict feel to the person experiencing it? Meta narrative conflict

*  Question 3: How do we feel about our own narratives? In class I presented two short takes from contemporary movies. The one scene was from The Two Towers -- special edition -- titled "The White Rider" and the other from the movie "The Passion" (produced by Mel Gibson). (Fourth from last scene). I wanted to contrast the two regarding the nature of the tragic narrative as described by Aristotle in our text. Neither seem to follow all the steps Aristotle gives, but metanarratives seem to be tragic (I have never seen one that was not) and both of these examples fit the bill. But they are also close to our hearts (perhaps) so this brings up an issue that is serious. How do we feel when our own metanarratives come under analysis? Do we feel dispassionate or become concerned about what we are doing? Discuss!


*  Question 4: Safe way to address narratives?

I have asked friends who teach how they handle meta narrative conflicts in class. It seems the standard approach is to teach various meta narratives (religions) as history and to describe them as "described by selected authors" and by that method putting some distance between the teacher and the controversial opinions even as those opinions are introduced! This certainly did not work for Pope Benedict! Would this method be the best you think?

*  Question 5:  Is science in conflict with religion?

*  Question 6: Is appreciating art tantamount to appreciating a religion? To grant a piece the title "beautiful" argues acceptance of the religious narrative within which that piece and its message speaks to us. Do you agree?

*  Question 7: Can we believe a story true because it is good?

*  Question 8: Look up Lucan Freud and pick a picture of his that you like best - you might not like any, but even so, which do you least dislike? Why?

*  Question 9: What is the point of this course?


This page is maintained by William S. Jamison. It was last updated August 14, 2012. All links on these pages are either to open source or public domain materials or they are marked with the appropriate copyright information. I frequently check the links I have made to other web sites but each source is responsible for their own content.