Writing Seminars: Rebels, Outcasts, and Heretics

“Rebellion,” writes Albert Camus, is “more than pursuit of a claim.” When someone rebels, he “demonstrates with obstinacy, that there is something in him which is worth-while” and that implicit in the act of rebellion is a “spontaneous loyalty to certain aspects of himself.” In these times of intensifying political activism, we might think of rebellion and dissent as the struggle against oppression, the fight for social justice, or the defense of some ideal. But as Camus suggests, people’s individual and collective identities are also deeply implicated in the causes they take up. How do discourses of resistance legitimate marginalized identities? In this course, we will seek to understand the ideologies that motivate dissent and how these discourses subvert social, political, and religious orthodoxies. How do embodied contradictions of cultural norms complicate our ideas about race, class, gender, and sexuality? Is rebellion always empowering? Drawing from a range of perspectives in disciplines that include psychology, anthropology, sociology, theology, philosophy, critical theory, and performance studies, we will consider how resistant thinking and practice shape identity and culture. These various perspectives will inform our discussions on topics such as colonialism, civil rights, and contemporary movements like Zionism and Black Lives Matter.


Students who wish to enroll in this seminar should participate in online preregistration, December 7 at 9:00 a.m. - January 9 at 5:00 p.m.

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MW 1135am-12:50pm