It’s the semi-annual time of year where I write a long-winded and exciting post about the courses I plan to take for the upcoming term!
Usually I’ll do up these posts and by the time September rolls around I’ll have changed a course or two because I’ll realize that one of the courses I want to take is not really up my alley, or I’ll have changed my degree in some way or form, or I’ll find something that better suits my schedule. Such as life, I suppose.
I recently switched my minor (again) to philosophy, for two main reasons:
- As much as I see the value in Early Childhood Education, my main career goal is to work in higher education, and therefore taking on ECE as a minor may be pushing me in a direction dissimilar to where I picture myself in the future, and
- I just really, really love philosophy
Little old me thought it would be doable to do a double major in English Lit/Lang. and Philosophy too (instead of just a minor) but I’d probably need to extend my degree another 1.5 years, which isn’t really an option for me at this point in time. Alas.
But regardless, I’m really happy with my decision and as of right now, if I plan everything out correctly, I’ll still be able to graduate within four years (provided that my future course selections run smoothly).
My life in the realm of Academia has been coming together quite nicely as of late: I officially got accepted into my English Majors program, I think I have a pretty good prospective admission chance for grad school for my BEd and my MA, AND I’m slowly finding myself more and more excited to delve into the courses I’m taking because I’ve finished all of my boring prereqs.
With that being said, here are some of the course descriptions for some of the more interesting courses I’ll be taking next year:
ENGL 409 – Modern Critical Theory
Organizing theory as what Foucault called a “history of the present,” ENGL 409 begins with four foundational contributors to contemporary theory –Saussure, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida– and then considers major theoretical modalities like Structuralism, Poststructuralism, Postcolonial theory and Critical Race Theory. In the second part of the course, we’ll focus on selections from a variety of contemporary theorists including Ahmed, Spivak, Anzaldua, Bhabha, and Yancy.
ENGL 328 – Metaphor, Language and Thought
The course builds a rich understanding of language and communication in the context of how people conceptualize the world they function in. It shows how they use linguistic and visual forms to construct new meanings and develop new communicative forms. Specifically, materials to be studied show the important roles played by figurative expressions in all types of communication. In the theoretical discussions, we will use recent approaches to meaning to show how underlying cognitive concepts structure our understanding of language, literature, and art, but also artifacts of popular culture, advertising, media, or various forms of internet discourse.
ENGL 480 – Asian Diasporic Literatures
Food, cooking, and eating are biologically necessary and socially powerful: we cook food to survive, but also to reinforce social bonds, to celebrate tradition, to evoke memories of home, to compete with other cooks, to impress the eater, and even to beguile and seduce.
This course will explore food in literature, in cookbook selections, and films across different cultures and nations, including Asian North American and local Vancouver contexts. Readings will include theories of foodways, and books by Maxine Hong-Kingston (The Woman Warrior), Gish Jen (Typical American), Fred Wah (Diamond Grill), and Madeleine Thien (Simple Recipes). Tasteful excerpts from local cookbooks by Janice Wong and the renowned Vikram ViJ and Meeru Dhalwala will be sampled. Films will include Juzo Itami’s Japanese “noodle western” Tampopo, Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman, and the restaurant documentaries of Cheuk Kwan.
PHIL 349 – Philosophy of Religion
A critical and analytical examination of arguments for and arguments against the existence of God, and other related topics. We will consider classic arguments for and against the existence of God, and consider whether and how theistic or atheistic beliefs could be justified. Other questions we will examine include: Is religious language straightforwardly meaningful? Do traditional ideas about morality depend on religion? What does the idea of divine foreknowledge mean about free will? And what exactly is it to be a religion?
PHIL 385 – Existentialism
Meaning, identity and alienation as explored in the works for example of Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Sartre, and Camus. Existentialism is a 20th century philosophical and cultural movement that seeks to understand human existence in terms of the way we experience it. Rejecting the idea of any kind of absolute natural, psychological, religious, or political human essence, existentialist philosophy demands that we radically reflect upon life in the experiential terms in which it makes sense for us. Existentialism is a philosophical method of investigating human beings from the inside, through finite, human life as we live it, rather than studying the human being as if she were an object that could be approached from the outside. Existentialism then begins with a metaphysical and moral skepticism about human nature, and proceeds with a rigorous investigation of the way in which we experience time, embodiment, personal identity and language, and it continues with reflections upon how interpersonal and political relationships shape our experience as free adults.
PHIL 449 – Continental Philosophy
A study of European philosophers from amongst Husserl, Heidegger, Habermas, Foucault, Derrida, Lacan, Levinas, and others.
(this was the only description I could find of the course #cry)
Basically, all of these courses kinda scream “HEY, I’M SUPER ARTSY, FUCK YOU!” in the best possible way. The rest of my English courses are geared towards rhetoric and linguistics, which are also cool but I feel like I’ve raved enough about linguistics on this blog (hence here’s the one about rhetoric):
ENGL 310: History and Theory of Classical Rhetoric
Every year, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People appears on bestseller lists—which may, at first, seem strange: currently this self-help book, published in 1937, is the Globe and Mail’s #5 bestseller, sitting between Brave Enough and The Woman’s Book of Joy, both published within the last six months. Part of what accounts for Carnegie’s relentless success is that strategies of persuasion—the means of moving people to one’s own point of view (for better or for worse)—haven’t changed very much, not only in the last 80 years, but, arguably, in the last 2500. When Aristotle published his Rhetoric in the 4th Century BCE, he described “the available means of persuasion” in ways that remain useful for those who wish to influence other people (we all do) and those who wish to understand how other people influence them: in formal speeches and informal tweets; in politics, law, advertising, science, and interpersonal relationships. This course moves back and forth between ancient and contemporary texts of rhetorical theory, and between rhetorical theory and rhetorical practice: How, in daily life, are our minds made up and changed? What do people say to get other people to trust them? Can Donald Trump get himself elected while this course is in session?
With my minor change and all of my burning interests, I don’t know if I’ll be able to take all of the courses I want to take within a four year span (inclusive of summer terms), but I still really want to take LING 345 and 445 (Pragmatics and Sociolinguistics, respectively). There’s also an environmental philosophy course I feel like I’d be interested in, but all of that has to be squashed into my fourth year.
PLUS I’LL BE TAKING FULL COURSE LOADS UP UNTIL GRADUATION, HEYO.
Not that I’m complaining. I’m really excited for next year.
I JUST RAMBLED ON ABOUT MY COURSES BECAUSE I’M ECSTATIC ABOUT BEING A CERTIFIED IDIOT™ IN 2018 WOO.
Featured image: taken by my brother, Melvyn Teo.