albeit 3.1: War: Syllabus

Natalie Leppard

Week 1: Introduction & Definition of War

Writing:

  • What is war? Consider various definitions including the personal, the gendered, the legal, the international, etc.

 

Week 2: Evolution of War

Reading:

Viewing:

Writing:

  • How has war changed over time in terms of technology, personnel, rules of engagement, and other concerns? Explore what this means to the effectiveness of war, society, and individuals.

 

Week 3: War in Verse, Part 1

Reading:

Viewing:

Writing:

  • Poetry may seem like an unusual expression of war’s perceived bravado and stereotypical manliness. Consider the war poets of WWII and discover contemporary war poets. Has the expression of war in poetry changed? How or how not? Why or why not?

 

 

Week 4: Tough Guys on Film: Humphrey Bogart

Reading:

Viewing:

Writing:

  • Consider Humphrey Bogart as a “tough guy” on screen and a military veteran in real life. How might the latter have influenced the former?

 

 

Week 5: The Home Front

Reading:

Viewing:

Writing:

  • What happens at home while a country is at war? Consider countries that rarely have battles on home soil as well as countries where war outside one’s front door is more usual.

 

Week 6: War in Verse, Part 2

Reading:

  Writing:

  • How do you tell a “true” story, in prose or verse? Consider this prompt and then tell me a “true story.” Afterward, consider your bias, your limited point of view, your background, etc. and explore how that may have changed your story. Consider how someone else might have told this same story.

 

 

Week 7: Tough Guys on Film: Edward G. Robinson

Viewing:

Writing:

  • Compare Edward G. Robinson to a contemporary “tough guy” on film. How has the archetype evolved?

 

 

Week 8: War in Verse, Part 3

 Reading:

Viewing:

Writing:

  • We frequently tout the defense of our nation and freedom as reasons for going to war–big abstract ideas. Consider what an individual soldier gains and loses by going to war.

 

 

Week 9: War & Irony, Part 1

Reading:

Viewing:

Writing:

  • What is irony?

 

 

Week 10: Tough Guys on Film: James Cagney

Viewing:

Writing:

  • Consider war and masculinity. When we conjure ideas of soldiers, we frequently imagine strapping young men, even now that women are allowed in the ranks. What about war and traditional ideas of masculinity go together? Are these ideas changing?

 

 

Week 11: Sounds of War

Reading:

Writing:

  • Compose your own war playlist. Include a brief explanation for each song’s inclusion.

 

 

Week 12: War & Irony, Part 2

Reading:

Viewing:

Writing:

  • Consider irony as a response to war. Find a book, movie, or other piece of media that employs irony as a response to war and analyze it.

 

 

Week 13: Tough Guys in Film: Marlon Brando

Viewing:

 Writing:

  • Choose a contemporary actor who embodies the “tough guy” (regardless of the gender of the actor) and analyze his or her body of work according to the archetype.

 

 

Week 14: Bringing War Home

Reading:

Viewing:

Writing:

  • When we think of war, we frequently first (and, perhaps, only) think of battles–tanks, drones, soldiers fighting–and we less often consider soldiers coming home, or not. Investigate the state of Veterans Affairs (both the office and the general idea).

 

 

Week 15: Wrap It Up

Writing:

  • Compare your thoughts about war from the beginning of the term to your thoughts now. Has anything changed? Broadened? Constricted?