In Search of Lost Time


REVISED

Spring 2015 quarter

Taught by

European history
American studies, folklore

How does memory shape our identities and our sense of the world? How do our personal experiences, our ties with others, and larger social forces affect what we remember, and why? This inquiry will take the work of Marcel Proust as focus and inspiration for exploring these questions. Students will also create their own original research and writing on memory-in-action—crafting a memoir, an oral history, or an investigation of an historical or cultural memory-topic that grows out of our studies. 

We will do a sustained, in-depth reading of the first two volumes of Proust's 4000-page masterpiece of early 20th century literature, In Search of Lost Time (also known as The Remembrance of Things Past ). Heralded as one of the first examples of the modern novel, Proust's work crystallized and refracted key psychological, cultural and sociological concerns of the emerging "modern age." To place our understanding of this literature in context, we will study fin-de-siècle European and intellectual history and thinkers like Bergson, Halbwachs, Freud, Benjamin, and even Einstein’s theories of space and time.  We will also examine innovative recent scholarship about ways in which memory can be "collective" in specific communities and whole societies today. We will play with the intertwining of time, memory, identity, and meaning in a wide range of French, American and other contexts, including some films that make powerful use of these themes. 

This is a literature-history-and-folklore focused, reading and writing-intensive program. Students will read 300+ pages of complex texts each week, participate in two weekly seminars on Proust plus a third seminar on dynamics of memory in everyday life, and write about these texts. Over the course of the quarter you will develop, revise and share your memory project with ongoing guidance from faculty and dialogue with peers. Your work will culminate in a polished essay and a presentation in our symposium.

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

history, ethnography, writing, literature, folklore, counselling, media, and education.

Location and Schedule

Campus location

Olympia

Schedule

Offered during: Day

Books

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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Revisions

Date Revision
January 15th, 2014 New spring opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen Freshmen–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 48

Spring

Course Reference Number not yet available.

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