Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn, and the Racial Dilemma
Lawrence Howe, Roosevelt University
We might wonder how a book designed to critique racial, and racist, assumptions has come to be viewed as part of the problem. How can educators guide developing readers to consider interpretive possibilities when they confront offensive language and how this text asks us to think about the social constructions of identity? In this seminar, we’ll begin by discussing Twain’s text and experiences we’ve had teaching it, but we’ll go beyond these encounters to examine some historical, social, and literary contexts that will, help our students gain a greater appreciation for how literature poses problems and why.
The Body in American Popular Culture
Marjorie Jolles, Roosevelt University
The body plays a paradoxical role in contemporary conceptions of the self. On the one hand, we conceive of the body as simply the physical home of an inner self and therefore not essential to identity. On the other hand, the body marks the self in crucial social ways—identifying the self with a particular gender, race, age, and class. This seminar examines this tension by looking at representations of the body in American popular culture and exploring the philosophical roots of contemporary notions of embodiment, to reveal the ways bodies matter to our beliefs about morality, power, and the self–even as we disavow its importance. In this seminar, we will also discuss strategies for teaching students to decode images and ideologies of the body.
Financial Crises, Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve System
Marc Hayford, Loyola University
This seminar will focus on the role that the Fed plays in “normal times”, in setting monetary policy to obtain the dual congressionally mandated goals of price stability and maximum sustainable growth, as well as the Fed’s role as lender of last resort in times of financial crisis. The topics covered include: a brief discussion of 19th century financial crises prior to the founding of the Fed, the Behavior of the Fed during the Great Depression and the response of the Fed to the financial crisis of 2008. The seminar will end with a discussion of the Fed’s role in current economic recovery from the recession of 2007-2009 with particular focus on the Fed’s balance sheet and the potential limits of the expansionary effects of monetary policy.