College Of Arts and Sciences | Life Cycles
S103 | 4006 | McCluskey, J.


Examination of the human life cycle and its transitions. We will
integrate film, poetry, fiction, and biography to examine the
choices, challenges, and pressures (and joys) each individual
encounters during the “growing up” process. Because maturation is
never achieved in a vacuum, the materials will present the specific
historical, economic, and cultural contexts in which growth takes
place. Though we will discuss a film and several stories from the
Caribbean and Latin America, the focus and emphasis will be on North
America during the latter half of the 20th century.

Social science offers an enormous range of materials on adolescent
psychology, aging, and the formation of social, religious, and racial
attitudes. The course will begin with readings from works by some of
the major, if not most controversial, researchers. The discussion of
these readings will provide a framework for the experiences
dramatized in the narratives, poetry, and films. It is my hope that
this interdisciplinary approach will give a larger sense of the
importance of basic and longstanding questions. How does a community
educate its young to an ethic? What is the responsibility of the
individual to the group? What is the meaning of the good life and
what does it mean to be good? How do historical periods or
national/international urgencies affect these questions and what it
means to be individual, adult, and free?

The course materials will emphasize diverse ethnic, regional, and
class backgrounds. The class will also visit a few off-campus sites
in Bloomington to elaborate and expand on issues raised in the
seminar discussions. Active participation is expected in both
individual and small group presentations.