College of Arts and Sciences | War as Experience, Representation, and Idea
C103 | 29207 | Elmer, J. & Rasch, B.


COLL-C 103 29207 War as Experience, Representation, and Idea (Elmer,
J. & Rasch, B.: English & Germanic Studies) (A & H) (3 cr.)

9:05 - 9:55AM MW
See Schedule of Classes for discussion section times
Part of Themester 2011:  Making War, Making Peace

This class is designed as an introduction to one of the most
persistent and troubling phenomena in human history:  war.  By taking
a very broad historical approach-from Homer's Iliad right up to the
present-and by mixing a very wide variety of kinds of
representation-philosophical, legal, and theological accounts of war,
photographs and film, poems and fiction, memoirs and diaries, social
psychology and political theory-we aim to achieve two basic goals:

1)  to demonstrate that war is not a single thing, but rather a
complex, multidimensional, ambiguous phenomenon, always subject to
interpretation; and

2)  to demonstrate that humanistic inquiry, with its embrace of
interpretation, its openness to ambiguity and multiplicity of
perspectives, its commitment to dialogue and reason and the variety of
human responsiveness, is the best way to grasp complex moral phenomena
such as war.

The class thus both serves as a hands-on encounter with some of the
most enduring and important representations of war, and as an
introduction to the techniques, basic orientations, and special
benefits of different kinds of intellectual discourse (historical
writing, literary criticism, moral philosophy, political theory,
visual studies, etc).

The class is largely lecture-based.  For the first half of the
semester, Fridays of each week will be focused around visual texts,
and will include more open-ended discussion.  During the second half
of the semester, Fridays will be devoted to discussion of the course
materials in sections.  The final two weeks of the class will be
devoted to student presentations.