Upper Level Electives: Arts

PJ 2700-H01: Peacemakers & Peacemaking

Eugene B. McCarraher 
TR 4:00-5:15PM

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ENG 2006-H01: Poetry Workshop

Collette Bryce
W 4:30-7:00PM

This workshop will be a chance to immerse ourselves in poetry. Close reading of poems by contemporary writers will allow us discover points of departure for creating new works of our own. We’ll take a fresh look at a range of traditional poetic forms and the ways in which they are being revitalized by some of our best contemporary poets. We will look closely at the integrity of the poem and at a wide range of devices and techniques – from the function of the line, to the transformative effects of the image - that help us to engage and surprise the reader. Our critical and editorial skills will be honed through sharing constructive feedback in a group context.

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THE 3030-H01: Collaborative Theatremaking

David Cregan
TR 2:30-3:45PM

This course is designed to focus on creativity and ensemble building.  Ensemble building is an artistic way of building community, which leads to the surfacing of group-think.  This collaborative exploration promotes collective inventiveness and will result in performance projects.  The class will read Thoreau's Walden as a common text for inspiration, and this text will serve as a thematic guide for the making of an original piece of theatre. The course aims to inspire collective interests in order to build meaningful performance pieces through play, improvisation, research, vocal experimentation, and physical explorations of ideas and space – including quantum theory! No theatre experience is required. 

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HON 3100-001 American Architecture

Margaret Grubiak
TR 1:00-2:15 PM


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ITA 3412-001: What is a University

Luca Cottini
TR 4:00-5:15pm

What is a university? Why and how were universities invented? What are the different models of university? What is a Catholic university? The course will expose students to a cultural history of universities and a reflection on the mission and purpose of Catholic universities in the modern world. The course will also explore the relationship between knowledge and institution, tradition and innovation, and faith and reason, as they unfold within the context of academia.

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THL 3550-H01: Presence & Absence of God

Anthony Godzieba
TR 1:00 PM-2:15 PM

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HON 4000-001 Gender & Race at Monticello

Catherine Kerrison
MW 3:00-4:15pm

Each year, more than half a million people travel to Thomas Jefferson’s mountain, seeking their national roots at the home of the sage of Monticello.  They are rewarded by a home and grounds immaculately laid out and tended, and a tour that celebrates the life and mind of the drafter of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the University of Virginia.  A lover of harmony and order, Jefferson would be pleased.  But now, as then, the regal serenity of this site masks the disorder of life at Monticello:  hierarchical systems that ran counter to his stated ideals in the Declaration of Independence.  Jefferson remains the embodiment of the best and the worst of the American experience.  Through our exploration of life at Monticello, this course will treat the broader questions of gender, race, and power in the early republic and their impact in our own day.


Students will write two short analytical exam essays focused on the common readings, and a 10-12 page research paper on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor.  The research paper must be grounded on a substantive primary source base.  In addition, we will travel to Charlottesville to tour Monticello.  We will schedule our visit for an April weekend (after consulting with our schedules); leave on a Friday afternoon and return Saturday night.  The trip is funded by Honors; attendance is required.

Readings will include Joseph Ellis, American Sphinx:  The Character of Thomas Jefferson; Lucia Stanton, Those Who Labor for My Happiness’:  Thomas Jefferson and his Slaves; and segments of my Jefferson's Daughters:  Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America (release date: 30 January 2018)

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HON 4301-H01: The Self and the Other

Farshid Baghai
TR 11:30-12:45pm

In this seminar, we examine how the exposure to and experience of difference or otherness is essential to the identity of the human self. We do so by investigating three main topics: the otherness of external reality, the otherness of other human beings, and the otherness of non-human animals. The seminar begins with a philosophical account of the developmental psychologies of Sigmund Freud, Donald Winnicott, and Eva-Maria Simms. These thinkers work out how the otherness of external reality motivates the formation and functioning of the psychic life of the human self. We then turn to the writings of Sara Ahmed, Michelle Alexander, Alain Badiou, Maurice Blanchot, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, Cornel West, and Naomi Zack in order to discuss how the ethical and social-political standing of the human self rests on its relation to the otherness of other human beings. In particular, we focus on the question of difference or otherness with regard to the homeless, transgender people, people of color, prisoners, strangers, refugees, friends, and lovers. Finally, we study works of Donna Haraway and Val Plumwood to explore how the otherness of non-human animals informs what it means to be human. To do so, we analyze the relation between human reason and material nature as well as the relation between human beings and other animals.   

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ENG 4690-H02: Literary Festival

Alan Drew
TR 4:00 PM- 5:15 PM

Authors on and off the Page

If you are a writer, a fan of contemporary writing, or interested in how authors get published, this is the course for you. We will read the work of five cutting-edge, award-winning writers: National Book Award winning novelist, James McBride, fiction writer and MacArthur Fellow, Jay Cantor, Fiction writer Claire Kilroy, poet Bruce Smith, and another poet to be named at a later date. Each author will give a reading as part of the 15th Annual Villanova Literary Festival, and they will also visit our class.

In addition to providing the opportunity to explore issues that are central to contemporary poetry and fiction, the course puts you in direct contact with the authors: You will have the chance to ask them about their work, their writing process, and the nuts and bolts of getting published. It is a great opportunity to explore an interest in contemporary literature, creative writing or even the publishing industry.

Students will also have a chance to explore their own creative impulses by working on their own poetry and prose. While we will primarily focus on the work of our visiting writers, all members of the class will produce at least one creative writing project. This class is a seminar, and class sessions will be run as a discussion; students will be expected to contribute their own thoughts and responses to the work. Course requirements include: regular participation in class discussions, two critical essays (one on poetry and one on prose), and one creative project. 

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THL 5410-H01: Theology and Film

Christopher Barnett
T 6:10 PM- 8:50 PM

Since its inception, cinema has been used as a means of both raising and answering questions long-central to the Western intellectual tradition: Who or what is God? What are the origins and ends of life? Does life possess inherent worth, or is it just a chaotic play of forces? Why do we suffer and how should we respond to it? What is belief? What does it mean to pursue justice and love in an obviously imperfect world? How does or might faith impact this pursuit? In raising these sorts of issues, film has emerged as a distinctive interlocutor with religion in general and with Christian theology in particular.

In recent decades, few filmmakers have addressed theological questions as much as Martin Scorsese, Terrence Malick, and Joel and Ethan Coen (typically referred to as the Coen Brothers). The overarching aim of this course will be to investigate their films, paying particular attention to the role that theology plays in them. This task will be carried out in three main ways. First, there will be a general orientation to the nature of cinema and to its historical development, which, perhaps surprisingly, first emerged from Christian catechesis. Second, a number of films themselves will be viewed and a range of critical methods employed to tease out their philosophical and theological significance. And, finally, direct scholarly attention will be paid to the issues raised, with related readings in theological subjects such as natural theology, theodicy (“the problem of evil”), and spirituality. Throughout, students will be encouraged to engage film in both oral and written form.

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HON 5750-001: Baseball and the American Dream

Jennifer Joyce
TR 2:30 PM- 3:45 PM

This Honors ENG/PJ/SOC seminar will examine American culture through the lens of its national pastime - baseball. We will explore the politics of race, citizenship, gender, labor, public and private space, popular culture and advertising, among others, as we ask what baseball represents, what it should represent, and how it relates to justice.  How might baseball and the ideals of the American dream correlate? How do they fall short? What does baseball reveal about our national identity? Our values? Our ethics? Through literature, film, and essays, we will examine baseball as an agent of socialization, a source of economics, a construction of masculinity, a powerful generational connection, and as a transmitter of rhetoric and culture. In critiquing its failings and celebrating its efficacy, we will investigate how baseball continues to be an important component of American society. 

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Villanova University
Garey Hall 106
800 Lancaster Ave.
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.4650
Fax: 610.519.5405