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current students > seminars > fall 2011 schedule > seminar: Inquiry, Discovery, and Literature


Honors Seminars Fall 2011

Inquiry, Discovery, and Literature

HON 202 Sec:002  
3 hours  
GER Cat:
Humanities: Literature  
Tompkins Hall 0G115  
Dr. Brian Blackley
Teaching Associate Professor

Between February 2, 1585, when Shakespeare's twins Hamnet and Judith were baptized in Holy Trinity Church of Stratford-Upon-Avon, and 1592, when the poet Robert Greene insulted his new rival Shakespeare as an "upstart crow" in the pamphlet A Groatsworth of Wit, is a span of time known as Shakespeare's "Lost Years" because of the absence of any proof of where he was or what he was doing. One idea that has been discredited is that Shakespeare joined the army about the time of the Spanish Armada in 1588, when so many men did, and this conjecture gave birth to the dubious notion of "Sergeant Shakespeare." But the argument has never died despite its lack of proof, largely due to the remarkably astute and sympathetic presentation of both good and bad leadership, particularly in war, that appears in his plays. Whatever one might hypothesize, Shakespeare certainly knew leaders.

This course will examine several plays, including I Henry IV, Henry V, Julius Caesar, and King Lear to examine Shakespeare's presentation of the characteristics and capabilities of leadership and its importance. Primarily the tripartite elements of authority, responsibility, and accountability will be the means the class will employ to assess these dramatizations of leadership. Film versions of plays will be used in the course as sample interpretations and starting points for discussion. In addition, the class will take several self-evaluative tests on motivation types, learning and management styles, and decision-making processes to examine what natural assets the students bring to leadership roles as well as what challenges they might need to consider as well.