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Upper School Curriculum

  • Advanced (ADV)
  • English
ADV English 12: Contemporary Global Issues in Fiction
Grade: 12
Fall
PREREQ: Teacher recommendation advised 

The five novels in this course resist being categorized within a single nation’s borders. They also share a preoccupation with whether it is possible to find a shared humanity — i.e., to create some form of justice — that transcends the boundaries of geography and identity both within and among modern nation-states. We will examine how these novels treat the notion of “otherness,” whether they suggest the possibility of organizing a global citizenry through mechanisms other than individual nations, and how the intersection of literary and political theory can help us illuminate the tools of fiction writing, as well as the insights fiction offers into the human condition. We shall seek to discover an alternative to these very labels (national borders) we use to define our sense of where we are, as well as our sense of who we are. Students will write essays that synthesize literary analysis, real-world problem-solving and personal reflection. All essay assignments invite students to pursue individually determined research focuses. In the words of one student, the course aims to “push students to deconstruct their personal beliefs, “in order to, as another student writes, “re-evaluate (their) own place in the world.” Every assignment, every discussion, every reading is devised in service of these aims. 

  • Grade 12