Peace, Conflict, and Literature: The Arts of the Contact Zone
Mary Louise Pratt defines Contact Zones as "social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power." She goes on to describe the Arts of the Contact Zone as "exercises in storytelling ... collaborative work ... ways for people to engage suppressed aspects of history ... ground rules for communication across lines of difference and hierarchy." This course will introduce students to the arts of the contact zone by introducing them to 1) representations of peace and conflict in literature and film; 2) the theory of and strategies for conflict resolution and peace building. Through reading, writing, observations, presentations, discussion, and field and project work, students in this course will critically explore representations of peace and conflict at the personal, local, civil, and international levels. Students will explore across genres, media, time periods, cultures, and disciplines. Throughout this exploration, students will examine literature and film in order to 1) identify and describe sources of conflict; 2) analyze and explain how conflict is communicated, prevented, and/or resolved; and 3) discover how great writers and thinkers as well as ordinary citizens can work for peace.