This course explores encounters with awe and terror via the “sublime” experience. How are these inner states generated and represented in a variety of cultural, political, emotive and artistic contexts? From trembling at a mountain, to being struck mute by the threat of nuclear warfare or the reality of climate change, how are our relationships to the phenomena of the world un/made by our experiences of the unspeakable? Our inquiries include: harm and the 21st century warscape; encounters with beauty and violence; wonder as a means of decentering ourselves; and the perils of “stuplimity,” as astonishment gives way to boredom then apathy.
Students will alternate between producing critical and creative assignments. This course can be taken for Creative Writing credit.