Art and the Emotions: Course Overview


Course description:

This class examines a variety of issues related to art and the expression of emotion. Topics to be discussed include: Can a work of art be good, yet fail to move you? Is an emotional response to an artwork incompatible with a critical intellectual response to that work? Do we
identify with characters in art, literature or film, and is it valuable to do so? Can art help us to be compassionate, and for whom is it appropriate to feel compassion and empathy? Are movies that are tear jerkers without aesthetic, cognitive or moral/political value? Why do people want to go to
horror films when these movies elicit painful emotions?

Course books: (at Odyssey bookstore)

John Willett, Brecht on Theatre
Brecht, The Good Woman of Setzuan
Angela Davis, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism
F. Douglass and Harriet Ann Jacobs, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass A Slave and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Elizabeth Spelman, Fruits of Sorrow: Framing Our Attention to Suffering
Reading packet (available in philosophy department office at date to be announced)

Course requirements:

Class participation (including presentation of study questions) 5%
Short 1-2 page assignments 5%
3-4 page paper 20%
5-6 page paper 25%
Take Home Final 35%
Class Debate 10% 


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