You pray to the gods? Let me grant your prayers.
Come, listen to me — do what the plague demands:
you’ll find relief and lift your head from the depths.
Oedipus the King, lines 245-48

Professor Bryan Waterman

Office: A3 room 109
Office hours: U 3:00-5:00; T 4:00-5:00

U 1:30-2:45 in A2 018
MW 1:15-2:30 in A2 019

How do we respond to news that some among us are ill, and that the illness is, perhaps, contagious? Are the healthy ethically obliged to tend to the sick? What are the relationships between contagious disease and verbal communication: rumors, medical information, stories about the dying and the dead? How has illness literally and metaphorically contributed to the reimagination of community, kinship, and sexuality in different times and places? This course examines the intersections of contagious disorder and storytelling in a range of cultures, settings, and forms, from ancient Greece to contemporary South Africa, from the Black Death, influenza, and AIDS to the proliferation of zombies and vampires in global popular culture today.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

This is a writing-intensive course in NYU Abu Dhabi’s Core Curriculum. Engaged students will develop critical reading, thinking, writing, and discussion skills that are fundamental to college learning; learn to perform cultural and formal analysis through the close reading of a variety of genres; cultivate an understanding of the relationship between text and context, literature and historical knowledge; and consider broad moral questions raised by literatures from diverse ancient and modern cultures. These outcomes will be assessed through a number of short and longer writing assignments, class discussion, in-class writing, and participation in online community.

SEMINAR MEMBERS

In fall 2012, this seminar included eleven members who come from nine countries: Australia, Azerbaijan, Germany, Hungary, Kenya, Lebanon, South Korea, the UK, and the US.

In spring 2014, this seminar included twelve members who originate from twelve countries: Canada, Colombia, Egypt, India, Korea, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and the US.

In fall 2014, this seminar included fourteen members who originate from twelve countries: Australia, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Hungary, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, Romania, South Korea, the UK, and the US.

In spring 2015, this seminar includes twelve members who come from ten countries: China, Egypt, India, Korea, Macedonia, Nepal, Syria, Trinidad and Tobego, the UAE, and the US.

Banner: from Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Triumph of Death (1562), oil on panel, 117 cm × 162 cm (46 in × 63.8 in), Museo del Prado, Madrid.