We begin the year 2012 with another opportunity to learn. It’s a rich year for apocalyptic predictions, visions, and fears. What a fantastic time to be alive and to be curious. We are all challenged in one way or another to ask ourselves big questions about the meaning of life and our role in what is happening around us.
If you were in my 1101 class last term, you know that we focused primarily on the personal essay and explored as fully as possible the events and people that are significant to our own lives. This semester we will be moving away from using our own experiences as themes for writing and contemplation to using the larger lens found in our culture’s most popular form of storytelling—television. We will use the television series “Lost” to explore the big questions of our time:
- What does it mean to be human?
- What is morality and who determines what is moral?
- How does justice figure in to love?
- How do I know what is spiritual?
- Can people change?
- How does community develop?
- Is community necessary for a full human experience?
- How does someone move from an outsider to being a beloved member of a group?
- Is forgiveness and/or starting anew possible and necessary for all human beings and for communities to stay healthy?
- What is real? What is important?
Each of these themes can be explored and developed into all sorts of writing opportunities and experiences. You will have a chance to develop your own plan in order to achieve this. You will have the freedom to write about what is important to you. All I ask is that your writing somehow relate to themes the class as whole will discuss.
You will be expected to complete the following:
- Two essays (at least 750 words each)
- One research paper (at least 1,250 words)
- Three timed writing assignments (30-40 minutes each)
- Weekly journal writing
- 10 hours of community engagement
There will be three grades for the semester. Each of these will be assigned in a writing conference that will be scheduled in my office. You will receive detailed instructions for each of these conferences.