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First-Year Research Seminar: Adventure Narratives

Semester and Year SP 2014
Course Number FIRST-UG730
Section 001
Instructor Tara Gellene
Days Mon,Wed
Time 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


Adventure narratives have been a popular sub-genre of both fiction and non-fiction for over a century. In such narratives, men and women typically seek out, or are thrust into, unfamiliar spaces where they confront elemental forces. Some adventurers traverse dramatic natural environments—the Arctic and Antarctic Poles, Mt. Everest—while others explore spaces of dramatic cultural difference. We explore how and why these spaces are represented as staging grounds for conflicts with principles of gender, power, and moral life. Students write three analytic essays and a longer research essay as they explore some of the following questions: Why are these conflicts desirable to adventurers and to those who admire them? How do these often masculine narratives represent women and domesticity, especially when dealing with women adventurers? How do they represent the people who populate the adventurous landscape? Are adventurers ultimately imperial or anti-social? Theoretical sources may include Immanuel Kant, Sigmund Freud, Mariana Torgovnick, William Cronon, and Frederick Jackson Turner. Other readings may include works by H. Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling, Amelia Earhart, Richard Burton, Ernest Shackleton, Jon Krakauer, Joseph Conrad, Cormac McCarthy, Jamyang Norbu, and Charles Johnson.



Course Type

First-Year Program: Research Seminars (FIRST-UG)

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