HEROINES and HEROES
(German 285, Comp Lit 251)
Office Hours: M 1-2; Wed 12:30-1:30, or by appt. Email me to schedule a Zoom meeting!
Can superheroes save us from racism
What makes a hero? Why do we need heroes? What happens when heroes fail us? In this course, we explore the characteristics of heroes in literature and film from antiquity to today. The formal and psychological structures of heroism will be analyzed under the rubrics of admiration, identification, seduction, and disillusionment. We will interrogate how both genre and gender impact the representation of heroes, and examine characters such as Ms. Marvel, Achilles, Odysseus, Antigone, Jesus, Satan, the Buddha, Zarathustra, Winnetou, Wonder Woman (and other Amazonian Warrior Princesses), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer .
- Monday & Friday lectures; Wednesday workshop sessions.
- Students will work in groups on creative projects to create their own superheroes.
- Students will write one essay over the course of the quarter on their own personal heroes.
- Taught in English. VLPA or I&S, + DIV credit.
This course will be taught remotely, with both synchronous and asynchronous elements.
Mon/Fri lectures will be recorded so that that you can view at your convenience if you cannot attend.
Wednesday sessions (11:30-12:20) are workshops that require your participation.
By the end of the quarter, you will be able to:
- Critique heroes according to the rubrics of admiration, identification, and disillusionment.
- Describe the important features of different modes of creative production for representing heroes: epic poetry; rhetoric; drama; melodrama; narrative; comics; and film.
- Identify the characteristics and functions of heroes in Ancient Greek culture and explain the transformations of heroes in later European and American cultures.
- Assess the impact of representing minority heroes in terms of colonialism, orientalism, cultural appropriation, and gender dynamics.
- Critically examine your own evolving relationship with heroic models from childhood onwards.