Undergraduate English Courses

358:363 Existentialism in Global Literature and Film

01   TTH6  CAC  16750   ALPERT   MU-212

Existentialism in Global Literature and Film

Existentialism was one of the most important philosophical movements of the 20th century. It demanded that human beings take responsibility for their political and social worlds without reference to any sense of religious or other-worldly reward. The ideas of existentialist philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Frantz Fanon had a tremendous impact on artistic production worldwide. In this course, we will look at some their philosophical writings, as well as those of their predecessors such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. We will then look at how their writings resonated in literature and film from around the world. Possible authors and directors include Richard Wright, Akira Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock, Béla Tarr, J.M. Coetzee, and Tsitsi Dangaremba. Through these and other works, we will come to understand the philosophy of existentialism, and ask if it remains relevant to our lives today.