Next fall Kalamazoo College students can look forward to learning about Shakespeare’s sisters and sex in the Bible. These are just two of a collection of new classes appearing in the course catalog for fall of 2011.
To add a class to the catalog, professors first assemble a potential syllabus and a bibliography of sources they would read to prepare for the course, according to Professor of English Amy Smith. The proposal then passes through the Educational Policies Committee, made up of administration, faculty and students.
Smith’s new class, Early Modern Women’s Literature, will look at the work of “Shakespeare’s sisters,” a phrase coined by Virginia Woolf in A Room of One’s Own. In the work, Woolf laments “why no woman wrote a word of that extraordinary literature,” the literature of the Renaissance.
Smith said in the British Literature class that she has taught this quarter, only 65 of the 600 textbook pages are dedicated to women. “That’s a lot better than when I was in college in the 80s, but that’s really, really low,” Smith said.
The new class will look at poems, plays and novels by women from this time. Writers include poet Mary Roth and Margaret Cavendish, one of the first science fiction authors.
The class was in the works for at least a year and a half, according to Smith. “It’s an opportunity to look in a lot more depth at what I do for a day in early British literature and to teach things that I don’t teach there,” she said.
In the religion department, Professor of Religion Taylor Petrey will be teaching a course entitled Sex and the Bible. He decided to teach it because he feels the topic is relevant with the rise in political focus on issues such as gay marriage and religion in public policy.
The class is one that Petrey taught at Harvard in the past. He has brought the class here and worked on adopting it. “Mostly it’s squeezing it into a ten week schedule,” Petrey said.
“[The class] attempts to complicate the assumption that there’s just one just one interpretation of the Bible,” Petrey said.
New winter and spring classes will prove to be just as interesting, with course offerings including two new philosophy classes designed to compliment the Arcus Center for Social Justice’s work.