ENGL 142
Idleness Spring 2019
Division I Writing Skills
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Class Details

What happens when nothing is happening? Is inactivity the mark of sinful sloth, the mind’s freedom to reflect in tranquility, or an act of political resistance? In this course, we will survey the long history of idleness as represented in literary texts, philosophical writing, and other cultural documents like Reconstruction-era vagrancy laws and op-eds about automation and the future of work. We will be interested in the many things that not working has been made to mean, especially as the bearer of human identity and privileges of class, race, and/or gender. Who gets to draw the line between leisure and laziness, and why? We will pursue these questions by reading authors such as Homer, Hesiod, Horace, Augustine, Petrarch, Langland, Marvell, Eliot, Melville, Dickinson, Wilde, Weber, Woolf, McKay, Adorno, Foucault, and Kincaid.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 4058
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: four five-page papers, one in-class presentation, thoughtful participation in class discussions
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: first-year students who have not taken or placed out of a 100-level ENGL course
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills

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