MWF | 8:00-8:50, 10:20-11:10, 11:30-12:20, & 4:10-5:00
This section of English 102 will explore the monstrous ways ideology is wielded by charismatic leaders–and how our cultural understanding of “cults” is in some ways inaccurate. By delving into the histories of well known cults, we aim to understand how we ourselves are susceptible to the seductions of ideology. We will investigate recruiting tactics, the historical/societal/cultural parameters that provided a framework for the success of each group, and public response to each group’s conclusion. We will look at historical artifacts, documentaries, theorists, and films to deepen our understanding of the allure of ideology. Questions we will seek to answer are as such:
Does performance in ritual enact belief? Is belief in ideology authentic or learned? How might we identify cultic ideology in our own lives? Are these ideologies born out of response to popular culture–or do they do the opposite? Or both?
Course readings will be balanced between primary sources (newspaper articles, documentary films, theatrical films, interviews, archival documents, etc.) and scholarly work in: Pop Culture Studies, Performance Studies, Cultural Studies, and film scholarship.
Advancing concepts introduced in English 101, English 102 provides students with intensive writing instruction focused on inquiry and research. It does so by emphasizing strategies for formulating and investigating questions, locating and evaluating information, using varied sources and research methods, developing positions on intercultural and interdisciplinary issues from diverse texts (print, digital, and multimedia), and presenting research using appropriate rhetorical conventions. Although our in-class examples will be focusing primarily on a few examples of widely known cults in America as a means of understanding the allure and dangers of ideologies across generations, students who are interested in investigating other examples of ideological influence in culture should feel supported and encouraged to do so.