Course description: Crime and Punishment Tutorial, Fall 2012

The Tutorial is Grinnell’s introduction to college-level skills, and it establishes a pre-major advising relationship between each student and the professor.  The course is in many ways the anchor of our “individually advised curriculum.”  This is a new one for me.  Suggestions welcome!


Booked: Crime and Punishment in Literature

In this Tutorial, we will study literary and theoretical texts that address a fundamental question: what does it mean for one human to punish another?  The course’s readings will come from many periods, ranging from Shakespeare’s Hamlet to Memento, the trial of Oscar Wilde to The Shawshank Redemption. These readings will prompt us to discuss issues such as the nature of revenge; the challenges that differences of race, gender, and sexuality pose to ideals of justice; and theories of imprisonment from the French Revolution to the present. Throughout the semester, we will focus on the process of crafting analytical papers.  To that end, we will spend a number of class sessions in a workshop format, which will allow the class to participate in a collaborative editorial process.  We will also work together to develop skills of critical reading, productive discussion, textual analysis, revision, and research.