At MSU, I have the opportunity to teach a wide variety of courses at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels. Here are some of my favorites:
Shakespeare and the Natural World:
A graduate seminar that surveys the work being done on Shakespeare and eco-criticism, then applies this knowledge to stage productions of the plays. Given that Shakespeare was deeply engaged in the environmental issues of his day, there is good reason to believe that we can bring ecological dimensions of his plays to the forefront of contemporary performance.
An intense study of Shakespeare’s works, with an emphasis on language, history, and performance. Students engage with current scholarship about Shakespeare, and also design and perform excerpts from the plays.
A general humanities course organized around the theme “conversion.” Texts we explore include Homer’s Odyssey, Augustine’s Confessions, Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Eliot’s Ash Wednesday, and Kafka’s Metamorphosis.
A focused look at the great authors of nineteenth-century Russia: Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Chekhov.
Drama, Science, and Ethics:
“Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.” -Bertolt Brecht
The theatre has been and continues to be an arena for exploring and pushing the boundaries about vital issues that impact us all. This course explores a range of modern drama which grapples with scientific and ethical issues. Course texts include:
Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo (conflict between science, religion, and conscience)
Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia (chaos theory)
Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen (uncertainty principle and atomic weapons)
Margaret Edson’s Wit (research on medical patients)
Kia Corthron, A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick (ecology and water)
Caryl Churchill, A Number (human cloning)