Summer Session 1 (399A+388A): June 1-June 19, 2015
Summer Session 1 (388A only): June 1-July 10, 2015
The Politics of Terror: In the Individual, the Community and the State
GVPT 399A/388A studies the different psychological and political aspects of terror. We engage in this study in an intensive three-week workshop that combines films dealing with various approaches to terror and readings that demonstrate the role of terror both within the self, the community and the state. It is the argument of this course that terror and the terrorized self are political forms of experience that exercise a significant hold on how we approach the political and public space. What however may be a more subtle argument is that terror occurs on multiple levels; selves can be terrorized as absolutely and completely as can states and political targets. The self internalizes terror as a shattering experience; terror transforms identity and makes us afraid, tentative, and uncertain both about the boundaries of our internal world and the safety of the external world. How we deal with that terror is central to traumatic experiences that individuals may experience at some moment in their lives.
To be terrorized, whether by fear, death, or trauma, possesses lasting impacts that can change the course of the lives of individuals. Similarly terror in the community poses questions of collective impact; how the terror directed from outside or inside to a given community affects social, cultural and political relationships within that community. Certainly a terrorized community affects the individuals in that community and presents additional issues of how identity is affected and how collective trauma affects the internal psychodynamic structures of individual life. Finally we look at state imposed terror; terror as a matter of public policy, terror as an instrument of the state. Terror at all levels raises serious ethical and moral questions about the kinds of ‘action’ that are defined as terror; whether they can be considered legitimate; whether they are warranted, and what the long and short term costs of terror are on the community, individuals within that community and on political actors authorizing or engaging in state sponsored terrorism.
Trauma is central to terror; since terror traumatizes: it traumatizes individuals, communities, groups and cultures. Much of our discussion in this course will be to understand how that trauma operates; what it means and how to understand it.
We undertake this exploration of terror and trauma through a combination of films and readings. We meet four days a week and after we screen the film the class breaks up into small groups where we will discuss the films, their psychological and political implications and how our own personal experience of the film affects our understanding of terror and trauma. Discussion sections will be small in order to assure ample time and space for intensive discussion and analysis of both the films and the readings.
Required Readings: (for 399A and the online version of the course)
Iris Chang, Rape of Nanking (first week)
Jessica Stern, Terror in the Name of God (second week)
Michael Herr, Dispatches (third week)
Schedule of Films: See below.
Requirements: FOR THOSE STUDENTS TAKING ONLY 399A (three credits):
You are required to attend films and discussion sections. You are permitted one absence; any additional absence will need to be substantiated by a note or letter from a physician or other professional requiring you not to be in class. You are required to write three short essays (5-7 pages, double-spaced), one per week. The first two will be due on Tuesdays, sent to me by e-mail. The third, which is in effect a take home final, will be due on Monday, June 23. You will be given essay questions on each Friday. The essays will cover only the films and readings for the previous week. You are also required to keep short (one to two pages) journals of each film. These journals will be graded pass/fail. You are required to do the readings. Participation in discussion section will help push you up to a higher grade if you are on the borderline between two grades. ATTENDANCE AT DISCUSSION SECTIONS IS REQUIRED.
For those taking both 399A and 388A for a combination of SIX credits:
399A requirements are listed above. For 388A, you will work out with your discussion leader a topic or theme you want to think and write about during the three weeks following the intensive workshop class. You will be asked to see an additional five films and will be given additional reading. You will use those films and the readings in your paper, which are the sole requirements for 388A. The paper will be 20 pages in length, no more than 25 pages and will be due on the last day of the first summer session.
For those taking ONLY 388A (three credits), the online version of this course:
You will be required to see all the films listed in the schedule of films as well as do all the readings listed in the ‘required readings’. Every two weeks, you will submit a paper (the questions will be e-mailed to you) of 5-7 pages on the first four films in the schedule, working into the paper the reading assignment; the second two weeks, you will submit a paper on the second four films, working in the reading; and for your final exam you will submit a paper on the last four films in the schedule of films, working in the reading. Your grade will be determined by an average of the grades of the three essays. You will also have a twice-weekly e-mail exchange with your teaching assistant, discussing what films you’ve seen and the impact these films have had on you. You are welcome to complete the course as soon as you wish; but you must adhere to the requirements listed above, no matter at what pace you see the films or complete the readings. Because of copy right laws, we are unable to provide the films online; however, Netflix and Amazon should have all of them.
- For 399A: The first paper will count 30%; the second, 35%, and the third, 35%.
- For 388A: Final Essay (Independent Study), 100%.
388A only: The first paper will count 25% of your grade; the second paper, 30%; the third paper, 30%. Your online participation will count 15%.
GVPT399A+388A Combined Film Schedule*:
Terror in and on the Self
June 2: Ordinary People
3: Black Swan
4: Shutter Island
Terror in the Community
June 9: Hotel Rwanda
10:The Beider Meinhoff Gang
11: City of God
12: Paradise Now
Terror in and by the State
June 16: Munich
17: District 9
19: The Grey Zone
Students may enroll for either three or six credits; if you enroll for three credits and intend to take the on-campus course, sign up for GVPT 399A; you may also take the course as an online, three credit course. If you do that sign up for GVPT 388A. If you choose to take the course for six credits sign up for both 399A and 388A. For those taking the course for six credits, 388A covers the second three weeks of the first summer session. You do an independent project on your own that builds from the first three-week 399A session. You work with your discussion leader on a paper topic and that paper will be due at the end of the first summer session. You do not have to be on campus to do GVPT 388A. For those of you taking the online 388A ONLY you have the entire first summer session, through July 10, to complete the above list of films. You will be required to make your own arrangements for viewing the films. They are available, although not all in streaming, at both Netflix and Amazon. Some may be on You Tube. If you have any questions feel free to contact Professor Glass at extension X5-4119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*If you take only GVPT388A, you should take 2 weeks to complete each section.