10:30 AM to 11:45 AM MW
Krug Hall 19
Section Information for Spring 2022
Instructor: Dr. James Gledhill.
This course focuses on the relationship between ethics and literature. Should we read literature with an eye to how it grapples with ethical questions and to the moral lessons it has to teach us, or does this impede the appreciation of art for its own sake? If reading does have an ethical dimension, can the experience of reading some works of literature, particularly modern novels, make us better citizens and better people?
With literary reading on the decline, are we in danger of losing a source of meaning and moral insight that is of fundamental cultural significance? From a philosophical perspective, could it be that literature is an important supplement to moral philosophy in exploring ethical questions? More radically still, should literature be seen as a form of moral philosophy, indeed a form of moral philosophy that is better able to portray the texture of our moral lives and the complexity of ethical deliberation?
These are the questions we will be exploring in the first half of the course. In the second half, we will apply the insights gained to reading a critically acclaimed, widely debated, and philosophically rich modern novel, J.M. Coetzee’s 1999 novel Disgrace, set in post-apartheid South Africa. As well as exploring the novel’s themes of race, gender, and gender violence within their historical and political context, we will also consider how the novel might be held to portray and inspire a process of ethical imagination.
View 8 Other Sections of this Course in this Semester »