AT 6-001_FA20: Course Alias:
If stories can help us to cultivate compassion and understanding, then can they also help us to negotiate conflict or inspire social change? On the other hand, what are the limits of storytelling? And what, if any, are the responsibilities of storytellers? Together in this course we will examine a number of powerful narratives that encourage critical thinking and empathy, creative works that include short stories, novels, songs, and films. We?ll explore how storytellers can challenge (or reinforce) our own beliefs and preconceptions, paying careful attention to how they represent (or misrepresent) others? lives and how various audiences might respond (or fail to respond) to their stories. We will also use these narratives to explore competing perspectives on public debates, whether over controversial issues like animal rights, or over enduring questions about power and justice. Along the way, we will test whether storytelling might function as a form of civic discourse: a mode of communication useful for enhancing democratic practice and thought.