Courses

Spring 2010

For UNF students, a LIT 2932 course is being offered in the spring titled “Lost and Found: Finding Religion in Science Fiction Television.” Course description:

Lost and Found: Finding Religion in Science-Fiction Television

“Who wouldn’t welcome a savior right now?” (V, abc)

This course will examine science-fiction television’s trend toward religious story lines. In recently-aired series such as Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Flash Forward and V, spirituality and religion play central roles, and biblical and mythological allusions create more meaningful viewing experiences. What does the popularity of these shows tell us about American viewers and contemporary society? Why do these shows’ writers rely on such explicit use of religious and mythological narratives in their works? How does it help enrich their stories and touch their viewers on a deeper level? How do we “read” a television show?  Required reading assignments for this course include religious texts, science-fiction literature, and the following works of non-fiction: Small Screen, Big Picture: Television and Lived Religion by Diane Winston, Reading Lost, edited by Roberta Pearson and Cylons in America, edited by Tiffany Potter and C.W. Marshall.

Prerequisites for UNF students: ENC 1101 (College Writing) and LIT 2000 (Introduction to Literature), as well as some prior knowledge of at lhttps://lostandlit.wordpress.com/wp-admin/page.php?action=edit&post=25east one of the television series mentioned above.

The Infinite Narrative: Intertextuality, New Media and the Digital Communities of Lost

In recent years episodic televisual narratives have changed dramatically with the availability of alternative media. Many television viewers have become active participants through online discourse, new technologies in film, video games and the formation of virtual communities. The “infinite narrative” refers to the nature of transmedia storytelling in the new participatory culture of many televisual narratives. My classes examine the television series ‘Lost,’ one key example of this phenomenon. Over the last five seasons ‘Lost’ has become an ever-expanding text, with responsive viewers continuously extending interpretations and deepening the show’s narrative. It has developed a life outside the television medium through both the writers’ efforts and audience participation. Both parties employ a wide range of media including the hundreds of websites dedicated to the speculation and analysis of the story, canonical literary works, film, telephone recordings, fictional advertisements, homemade videos and historical texts. We discuss the cultural implications of this intertextuality and of the viewer as participant.

Texts include Lost and Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins, as well as several online articles
LIT2932
Spring 2009
University of North Florida

Lost and Found: Losing Identity and Finding Redemption
In this course we explore the pattern, found in many narratives, of losing one’s identity and finding a path to redemption. In Lost, for example, each character must let go of an essential part of his or her former self in order to find salvation on the island.
Texts include Lost, Alice in Wonderland, Slaughterhouse Five

LIT2932
Summer 2008
University of North Florida

One-Day Seminar at UNF

‘Lost’: Understanding the Series
Through the Lens of Literature

This seminar explains the narrative of ABC’s ‘Lost’ through the works of literature featured or referenced on the show. The instructor explores some key examples that reveal underlying themes of particular episodes, and the deeper meaning of the show in general. We will also discuss how the various works of literature, woven together, might hold the answers to many of the island’s mysteries and, perhaps, the resolution of the show.
UNF’s Division of Continuing Education

For registration details go to Continuing Education’s catalogue at http://www.learnjacksonville.com

Summer Workshop

Studying ‘Lost’: Finding Meaning in a Televisual Narrative

This six-week course will bring together Lost fans to engage in analytical discussions of the narrative, share theories about the show’s resolution and collaborate with others to discover the story’s deeper meaning. Students will explore the show’s religious themes and literary references while unveiling its subtle social commentary. The class meetings will provide viewers an opportunity to develop a local fan community and to continue their dialogue long after the season has ended. If you are interested in registering, please contact me at lostandlit@gmail.com.

Location
Chamblin’s Uptown Books and Coffee

225 N. Laura St. Jacksonville, FL 32202
904.674.0868
(Downtown Jacksonville. One block from the MOCA and the Main Library)

Chamblin’s will be open exclusively for this class every Thursday night during the course of the term. See the link on the home page for a map of this location.

Dates and Times
Thursday evenings, June 4th-July 9th
7:30 to 9:30

How to Register:
Send an email to lostandlit@gmail.com to reserve a spot.

General Class Schedule

Here is a very brief description of the topics we will discuss this summer, with some sample questions to get you thinking.

Week 1:
The political climate and social context of Lost.
Does the show reflect a post-9/11 world?
What can the story tell us about the way we interact with one another, both personally and on a global scale?

Week 2 and 3:
Philosophy and Religion
Does Jacob represent God? How is John Locke a Jesus figure? Is Richard Alpert the holy spirit?
Does the smoke monster represent a djinn or Cerberus, the mythical three-headed dog?

Week 4 and 5
Literary Lost
What do the literary references in more recent episodes tell us about the deeper messages of the show?
What can Kurt Vonnegut teach us about the nature of time?
What does Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” reveal about John Locke’s recovery and subsequent life on the island?

Week 6
Transmedia storytelling and the craft of shaping a long-term serial drama.
Discussion boards and the extratextual material such as the Hanso foundation websites.

The course is not affiliated with the university and anyone is welcome to register. However, it will be designed as a discussion workshop, so space is limited. We will meet on a weekly basis for a six-week term.

Please contact me at lostandlit@gmail.com for more information on this class. Or leave a comment below.

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