Cinema and the City
The course explores the filmic representation of key "cinematic cities" such as Los Angeles, New York, Rome, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo in order to analyze the complex relationship between cinema, the fictional construction of urban space and the actual city. We will explore the interplay between cinematic constructions, lived experience and urban imagination with a focus on the following topics: the virtual city, the city as site of social encounters and conflict; the city and cinematic visions of utopia/dystopia; the city representing the nation; the city as site of destruction; the city as melting pot; the city and its rural surroundings; the city as site of globalization.
Literature has long been a privileged site for exploring the complex interplay of culture and identity. This course uses graphic novels as a lens through which we can examine some of the timely topics facing our society — immigration vs national security, globalization vs isolationism/nationalism, strength in unity vs richness in diversity — as well as more personal questions that our increasingly diverse student body must ask themselves when they come to Bucknell — Does my identity change when I speak a different language? Do I sacrifice a part of myself when I leave behind my hometown or go from an urban enclave to rural Lewisburg? Are my beliefs my own or simply a reflection of my culture?
How We Do Things with Words
This seminar explores the relationship between language and culture in both English-speaking and non English-speaking cultures. Knowledge of a language is not only a skill and an instrument for communicating thought and information, but language itself is an essential part of our thought processes, perceptions and self-expression. We will explore how language is a complex phenomenon that brings us together with other humans in global societies.
For example, to what extent does our language affect the way we live in the world? How does the way we describe our world with language affect the ways we perceive, think, and act? Do speakers of different languages have different perceptions of the world? How do the figures of speech and the types of sentences we use affect the assumptions we have about fundamental concepts of living in a cultural and linguistic community? What makes a promise something we should keep? What makes the words "I do" different from the words "I think"? Can we rely on language to say what we mean?