REL+3112+S19+Syllabus.pdf - REL 3112 Spring 2019 Religion...

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REL 3112 Spring 2019 Religion & 20th Century Fantasy Literature Tuesday/Thursday 3.30-4.45 pm Bellamy Building 0030 Instructor : Will Livingston Email : [email protected] Office : 128C Diffenbaugh Office Hours : 1-3 pm Tuesday/ Thursday & always by appt. 650-416-8035 M-F: 9 am - 9 pm Weekends: 10 am - 7 pm Texts are fine Welcome to the Syllabus! Don’t let the page count intimidate you. You don’t need to read this document in a single sitting, but you should read it in its entirety because this is your one stop resource for most course-related questions. There are many ways to approach a syllabus. One is semi-legalistic. (You may have read syllabi in which other instructors compare their documents to contracts) I favor a more poetic view. I like to think of this document as a map. In my experience, I have always found it helpful to refer back to the route details—especially if I feel a bit lost.
2 Livingston’s (Mini) Teaching Manifesto We do not learn in the abstract. We learn from our experiences and the experiences of others because we are a storytelling people. Or, as Martha Nussbaum claims, “As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves.” Thus, stories are central to both moral and practical education. It was once (and in some places remains) the belief that a college education prepared students to be responsible participants in democratic society. I must admit a certain affinity for this goal, because I subscribe to many of Bertrand Russell’s “Ten Commandments of Critical Thinking.” They are: 1.) Do not feel absolutely certain of anything. 2.) Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light. 3.) Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed. 4.) When you meet with opposition… endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory. 5.) Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found. 6.) Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you. 7.) Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric. 8.) Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter. 9.) Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it. 10.) Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

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