About the Course:
You’ve been stunned by Watchmen. You’ve read the graphic novel, were possibly let down by the film, and practice your Dr. Manhattan and/or Rorschach impersonation(s) in the shower, like me.
Or, you’ve never read the novel and don’t mind the plot being given away during your first read-through. Either way, join me, and together we will beat this steroid-brute of a book into submission.
We will analyze Watchmen intertextually, not because the supplementary texts have influenced the graphic novel (though some have), but because, through comparison, they can elucidate aspects of Watchmen that may be latent in the graphic novel but still not evident without comparison. These texts will include Shakespeare’s Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth; Melville’s Moby-Dick; McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, The Sunset Limited, and The Road; McCloud’s Understanding Comics; Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke; Hitchcock’s Psycho; Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness; and Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and Ran. We’ll also watch a part of Watchmen: Ultimate Cut each session (which part will correspond to the chapter we are discussing that evening) and compare it to its corresponding chapter in the graphic novel. We will also read excerpts from texts about heroic types, like Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, and Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (or we may simply discuss the heroic types in class) and apply those concepts to moments in Watchmen.
Finally, most of what we’ll read in class has in some way influenced Watchmen, yet we will also read anachronistic texts. Though we will analyze Watchmen in its historical context and the ways it uses allusions to transform its antecedent texts, the purpose of this course will be to expand our understanding of intertextuality beyond the concept of influence to uncover endless transactions of meaning between text and intertext that no amount of historicizing can fully account for.
-Film and music clips to be emailed or played in class
-Critical, philosophical, and literary readings to be emailed or distributed in class and:
Two papers, a skit, and a final project. Each paper is worth five points; the skit five points; and the final project 10 points. You need at least 20 points to pass the class. You must also turn in all three assignments and perform the skit to pass. Assignments will be evaluated based on effort. Participation will not factor into final grades, unless otherwise instructed.
How to Enroll:
The first class-meeting will be Thursday, September 1st at 5. There is a limit of 35 students. If the number of students who attend the first class-meeting is less than that, I will distribute CCNs at the end of that meeting.
If about 40 people attend, we’ll have a lottery.
If more people attend, there will be five ways to apply. Choose one:
1. Due at the second class-meeting. One to three pages. Written from the perspective of any character in Watchmen, argue whether Batman or Superman would win in a fight. If you think your character wouldn’t care who’d win, then you’re probably writing from Dr. Manhattan’s perspective (though he might humor the reader by arguing logically for Superman).
Optional: Specify which moment in time or state of mind your character is writing in. For example, it would be interesting to consider what Jon Osterman before his accident (or what the ‘post-miracle speech’ Dr. Manhattan) would argue. If you’re going for gold, write from Jon Osterman’s perspective as he reassembles the components of his body in the correct sequence.
2. Perform a speech or soliloquy on the first or second day of class. I’ll have some options typed and ready for you. They’ll probably include monologues by Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan, Hamlet, Macbeth, Lear, and The Joker. Don’t perform ‘To be’ unless you’re really, really cool.
3. Due at the second class-meeting. One to three pages. Shakespearean fools rarely ever soliloquize. Social commentary is usually their preferred mode of speech, which guideline also applies to The Comedian. Write a soliloquy from The Comedian’s perspective. Possibly specify which moment in time or state of mind he’s in. He could be falling from his apartment, for example. Optional: Perform it at the second class-meeting.
4. Due at the second class-meeting. One to three pages. Write an alternate ending to Watchmen. Don’t be afraid to make it fantastical.
5. Do something amazing. Maybe dress up as a character from Watchmen. Or take option three and instead write a soliloquy from Rorschach’s perspective. You’ll be limited only by your imagination, your conscience, the university’s policies, and state and federal law. I leave it entirely in your hands.
Course Contact: heroyoudeserve AT berkeley.edu
Faculty Sponsor: Joanna Picciotto
Time & Location:
|Nostalgia||Joseph Torres||35||122 Wheeler||Th 5p-7p||9/01||started||—|
|Syllabus: DeCal - Watchmen Course Syllabus - Student-Version.docx||Aug 24||21kb||Word Doc (Viewer)||View Download|
Course info last modified August 7, 2011. This page has been viewed 2332 times.