Comparative Literature | Writing the World: Forbidden Knowledge
C110 | ALL | J. Johnson
See schedule for times
This course satisfies Indiana University's General Education
requirements for Foundations in Writing: English Composition.
Knowledge is power, and forbidden knowledge makes for powerful
literature. Spend a semester with us watching people get into
trouble for knowing or wanting to know too much. The curious, the
greedy, the egomaniacal – all tempt fate as they try to peer beyond
the normal limits of human understanding. Some want to compete with
the gods, while others are just in it for the money, and some simply
won't take no for an answer. At the same time we will be looking at
the characters who declare knowledge forbidden in the first place.
What are their motives, and what are they hiding? And how do they
react when the ban is broken? At the heart of this rich literary
theme is forbidden knowledge itself: dirty family secrets, religious
taboos, keys to political power, and concealed identities. In some
tales, forbidden knowledge ruins the lives of the characters
forever, while in others it proves to be a hoax, a mirage, a lie.
Throughout the semester, we will be looking at the issue of how
knowledge is controlled and passed on, how we verify the knowledge
we get, and what should be done with it once it is in our grasp.
All sections of CMLT-C 110 will be reading Sophocles' Oedipus the
King, Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus,
Alexander Pushkin's “The Queen of Spades,” and Federico Lorca’s The
House of Bernarda Alba, in addition to other works unique to the
individual sections. Some sections will also sample art, music,
television, and film. The course emphasizes critical thinking,
clear communication, and effective argumentation. Assignments will
include 3 analytical essays, short papers to help develop the 3
essays, quizzes, and an introduction to basic academic research