Divine Rape

Coercion, Consumption and Colonialism
First Year Seminar 119
Fall 1998     Gettysburg College


Course Objectives

This is a course about rape. We will begin with a study of how the bodies of young men and women are colonized through rape and through hazing on American college campuses. We will end with a discussion about political torture in Argentina. In between we will travel through the Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance models of understanding which inform and ``normalize"  these contemporary acts of physical violence. The course provides an introduction to fundamental concepts of gender, race, the body, and identity focusing on pre-colonial European and post-colonial American understandings of Self, Other, power, violence, and Divine Right. We will identify and study the philosophical and theological imperatives which led to Western European colonial attitudes towards the ``New World." Furthermore, this course charts the relationship between Medieval attitudes and perceptions and contemporary acts of torture and of rape. Thus this course serves both as an introduction to important theoretical and academic concerns, and also as a practical challenge to common assumptions which encourage the routine physical abuse of many first-year college students.

This course is reading and writing intensive, involves a great deal of oral discussion and intellectual analysis, and promises to develop personal confidence and leadership skills.

The seminar requires, furthermore, an extraordinary amount of initiative and intellectual self-examination on the part of each participant. We have structured this course to demand active learning in the extreme. Each participant regularly will be required to prepare to lead components of class discussion and activities, and modes of learning will include the auditory, the visual, and the kinesthetic, as well as more traditional academic skills. Most importantly, it is fundamental to this course that each participant be forced to confront concepts which form the building blocks of society. Such confrontation will take place both in our studies of the ethereal and intellectual arena of post-modern and post-colonial theory, and in our examination of the physical and dangerous microcosm of the small college fraternity party.

[Divine Rape] [Readings] [Evaluations] [Schedule] [Research] [Leaders] [Exams]

Christopher Fee
Department of English, Box 397
Mondays & Wednesdays, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to noon
(717)  337-6762

Rosario Ramos González
Department of Spanish, Box 411
Wednesdays & Fridays, 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
(717) 337-6856

12/08/98 05:15:36 PM