ENGL 273 - World Literature I - Dr. Chase Dimock
|Course:||World Literature I|
|Professor:||Dr. Chase Dimock|
Welcome to ENGL 273, World Literature 1 ! I am Dr. Chase Dimock and I will be the professor. My dog Kiana will be the Teaching Assistant. This is my 5th year as a full time professor at College of the Canyons. Before coming here, I taught at colleges and universities across the country in Florida, Missouri, and Illinois where I received my PhD in Comparative Literature (hence the University of Illinois shirt!). I was born and raised in the valley and I value the opportunity to give back to the community that gave me so much. Let me get you acquainted with the objectives and expectations of my course.
World Literature is both my specialty and my passion and I cannot wait to share my favorite heroic epics from the ancients to the middle ages.
Across cultures and historical eras, all human civilizations have featured epic heroes and their journeys in their storytelling traditions. This course considers why the epic hero has been a nearly universal figure in World Literature by reading heroic epics from Antiquity to the Middle Ages spanning Europe, The Middle East, Asia, and Africa. By analyzing the epic hero, it is this course’s goal to understand the values and beliefs of the culture that produced this hero.
As we analyze a variety of heroes like Gilgamesh, Achilles, and Scheherazade, we will endeavor to understand the nature of heroism and its impact on culture. Often, the hero stands in for the nation itself and personifies the struggles that his or her culture confronts. Sometimes the hero is held up as an example of virtues like nobility, wisdom, and courage. Other times, that hero is a tragic figure who endures the defeats, sorrows, and anxieties inherent in the human condition.
Furthermore, this course considers the narrative form of the epic. Typically, the epic features a journey into the unknown in which the hero must prove himself against formidable forces like enemy armies, angry gods, exotic monsters, and the hostile wilderness. We will examine how features of the journey can be read symbolically for the kinds of adversity that an individual faces in their life and how the narrative suggests one might confront them according to the culture’s values and beliefs. What is it about traveling and battling that speaks universally to our human experience and why is this tied to proving ourselves as individuals?
Since we are approaching this course chronologically from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, I want you to think of the epic hero genealogically. How have certain traits about the hero as a character and the epic as a narrative evolved over time? What characteristics of the epic hero do these stories share? How do different cultures put a unique spin on certain narrative elements and what does that teach us about their vision of human nature and civilization? Finally, I want you to think about modern day heroes like Batman, Superman, Katniss Everdeen, and Harry Potter and consider how their characteristics as heroes and struggles in their journeys can be traced back to some of the elements found in these texts.
What to Expect in this Course
Although we will cover thousands of years of literature from around the world, I will make the reading load manageable and comparable to other literature courses at COC. Over the course of the semester, we will write weekly responses and post to discussion boards about the readings. We will also submit two papers and take a final exam. In your written assignments, you will be free to express your perspectives and interpretations of the literature and contribute to our class discussion.
Types of Assessments
Short Responses, Discussion Boards, Essays, Exams
The only textbook your need is a free Open Education Resource book. It is called The Compact Anthology of World Literature, put together by Laura Getty and Kyounghye Kwon of the University of North Georgia. You can download it via the OER Commons.
Other Relevant Course Information
My Commitment to Student Success
As your professor, my top priority is your success as a student. I understand that all of you enter the classroom from diverse backgrounds with your own sets of challenges and goals. My mission is to help you meet the challenges that the course presents and show you how to integrate the skills and content from class into aiding your broader goals as a student. I know that every student has unique talents and perspectives and it is my hope to provide a forum for you to showcase and develop them in a way that enriches the learning experience of your fellow students.
I also realize that reading and writing can be difficult for many students and that people learn in different ways and at different paces. While I have to keep the course moving along at a predetermined schedule in order to meet our learning outcomes, I will do what I can to individualize my instruction to meet your needs. If you reach out to me with reasonable requests, I will do my best to meet you where you are. If you are having trouble with the material, or if other circumstances are affecting your studies, please let me help.
My success as a professor is dependent on your success as a student. I need engaged, motivated, and thoughtful students for my class to become a great learning environment. When you give it your best effort, you in turn enable me to use my most effective teaching techniques. Together we can achieve our full potential in creating an exciting and enlightening learning experience.
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Last updated: 11/06/2021 Sub#: 1135