Topic: Contemporary Social Problems in Short Stories, the Social Sciences and the Press
We will read works of short fiction from around the globe that address a range of social and political problems. The course addresses these issues from three angles. We will touch on topics that are prominent in the news today such as opiate addiction, arranged marriage, trafficking, bullying, social exclusion, charitable giving, implicit bias, and basic income. First, we read a short story that addresses the social or political issue. Second, we choose a recent and prominent study in the social sciences that addresses the issue. And third, we investigate how the issue is being reported in the press. Our goal will be to explore the different ways in which literature, social science and journalism construct issues of broad social and political relevance, the opportunities and limits of these constructions and what might be gained by using all three (rather than only one) to understand and respond to these issues.