• Our Deep Springs Syllabus

    Today’s post was originally published on LARB Channel Avidly

    By Sarah Mesle and Sarah Blackwood

    AMERICAN ENCOUNTERS

    Drs. Sarahs
    Office Hours: 9-midnight
    Office Location: Cabin, fireside

    Note on Class Policy: Never, ever email us. We will not respond.

    September 7: Methods
    Introduction: How to Do Things with Words
    Herman Melville, “A Squeeze of the Hand,” Moby-Dick
    Jacques Lacan, “The Signification of the Phallus”

    September 14: Concepts
    Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish
    Donald Winnicott, on The Good Enough Mother

     UNIT 1: AMERICAN SOIL

    September 21: The Land
    Willa Cather, My Antonia!
    Emma Rathbone, “My Wedding Hair”
    In-class Debate. Little House’s Pa Ingalls: asshole, or positive male role model?

    September 28: Cycles and Blossoms
    Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
    Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, “A New England Nun”

     UNIT 2: AMERICAN ROMANCE

    October 5: Nineteenth-Century Boyfriends
    Henry David Thoreau, Walden
    In-class activity: Wood chopping, in silence.  Stack wood by the fire, but not too near the fire.

    October 12: Seduction
    No assigned reading. Bring brushes for horse grooming workshop.

    October 19: Marriage Plots
    Herman Melville, “The Rope,” Moby-Dick
    Kate Chopin, The Awakening and “Story of an Hour”
    Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
    Assignment: Create a Pinterest wedding board as composed from the Ishmael’s point of view. A-level work will include possible wedding tattoos.

    October 26: Genealogies
    Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born
    Special lab section: meet in barn’s lambing room; bring gloves.
    Research Project: Pick one woman (famous or otherwise) born before 1960, and research how many, and of what kind, life-threatening reproductive experiences she had. Create a spreadsheet to track how many children she gave birth to, and how many hours she spent caring for those infants.

     UNIT 3: AMERICAN JEREMIADS

    November 2 You Will Never Come Close to Approximating this Amount of Justified Rage
    Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
    Mary Rowlandson, Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

    November 9: Repentance
    Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God”
    Rebecca Solnit, “Men Explain Things to Me”

     UNIT 4: AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE

    November 16: Masculine Expressions
    Melville, “The Counterpane,” Moby-Dick
    Project: Craft an heirloom quilt/counterpane addressing the portrait of masculinity in Fugazi.

    November 23: Wayward Women
    Wendy and Lucy
    Marilynn Robinson, Housekeeping
    Thelma and Louise
    Personal Essay: Consider the last solo road trip you took to discover yourself. Now, imagine if you had done so, while female. Structure your essay around the repeated, mournful sound of a train in the distance.

    November 30: Harvest Ritual
    ***Clean-Up Volunteers needed for post-threshing grain-gathering and to remove any remaining honey from the cow’s horns; sign up in cabin.

     UNIT 5: AMERICAN FUTURES

    December 7: Heartbreak and Betrayal
    Henry James, Wings of the Dove
    In-class activity: Keening

    December 14: Sticky Things
    Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
    James Cameron, Aliens
    Short Essay: Is the cervix a grave?

    December 21: Go Forth!
    Walt Whitman, entire corpus.
    Final Lecture: On never (ever, ever, ever) reading the Beats.

     

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