|Semester and Year||FA 2011|
|Time||12:30 PM - 1:45 PM|
Open to Gallatin first-year students only.
Ovid’s story of Echo and Narcissus from the Metamorphoses portrays the dangers of refusing to heed the call of the Other. Absorbed by his own image, Narcissus ignores the calls of the nymph Echo, who relies upon his words to speak. His solipsism leads to their deaths. This class takes Ovid’s story as a model for investigating how the Self is shaped in relation to the Other, a question considered by psychologists, writers, philosophers, filmmakers and literary critics. We will read psychological discussions of object relations theory and the formative role of the mother as original Other (Sigmund Freud, D.W. Winnicott, Jessica Benjamin), literary portrayals of the Self as dependent upon or isolated from others (Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway , James Joyce’s “The Dead,” Marguerite Duras’ The Ravishing of Lol V. Stein ), and philosophical essays on the ethics of the call of the other (Maurice Blanchot, Emmanuel Levinas). We will look at how extreme forms of suffering can be understood as a breakdown in the connection between the Self and the Other, reading essays by experts in trauma studies (Cathy Caruth and Susan Brison), and will consider ways in which colonialism and empire shape conceptions of Self and Other, reading novels (E.M. Forster, A Passage To India ) and theory (Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak). We will also ask what problems arise specifically when women speak—how Echo finds a voice—viewing films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound , and Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard .
First-Year Program: Interdisciplinary Seminars (FIRST-UG)