Friday, August 17, 2012

Preparing for the Freshmen

The members of the Class of 2016 arrive tomorrow. I'll be meeting with the 17 of them that will be my students on Monday and Tuesday for some orientation work, and then, for class on Thursday, from 12:30-1:45.

I've met most of them already, on two Saturdays in June, but that was too quick to get much of an impression of them. 

Our Core Curriculum has been extensively revised, so I'll be teaching them for one semester instead of two, which grieves me.  I'll also be teaching completely different texts, which excites me.  Teaching the same ones for thirteen years, I am ready for a change. 

First , we will be discussing three essays/excerpts they were supposed to have read over the summer:
"Naturalist" by E.O.Wilson

the conversion passage from Augustine's Confessions

an excerpt from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

These are included in the anthology we are using:  Being Human: Core Readings in the Humanities, which was compiled and published by the President's Council on Bioethics in 2003.

Then, we'll read and discuss another essay: "Curiosity and Smartphones" by Douglas V. Henry.

I'll talk more about these, how they introduce the course, and how the discussions went, next week.

The long text we will read after these essays will be Aldous Huxley's  Brave New World. I re-read it this summer, and was more horrified by it than I ever was when I read it at sixteen ( or thereabouts).
I wonder how they will take it. 

Recently I've been reading the book the class will cover in late November: Wendell berry's novel Hannah Coulter. It couldn't be more different from Brave New World.

More about that later, too.

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