ENGL 1102: "We Understand Them, Do We Not?" Narrative and Empathy in Fictional Form(s)

Spring 2018
Owen Cantrell
ENGL 1102

The world we live in requires us to understand others who are very different from us; in many cases, our future (and lives) depends upon it. Scholars in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have recently argued that reading literary fiction can improve our empathetic understanding of other people. Literary fiction can arguably be a bridge between ourselves and the minds, intentions, and thoughts of others. This 1102 course will focus on how literary fiction engages our empathetic understanding of the world and others. Class discussion will focus on how different types of narratives engage us with the minds, intentions, and thoughts of others. Daily course content will be a mixture of evaluation of narrative forms, application of empathetic understanding to real world problems, and questioning empathy as a governing force for our ethical behavior. The class will also engage in direct action with local communities. Major projects will be focused on working with a community partner to develop semester-long projects and utilize a variety of rhetorical and multimodal skill sets. This course is open to undergraduate students of all majors. 

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