We will read texts about education from a variety of places, eras, and individuals in an attempt to help students reflect upon the central issues of their experience at Brandeis. Questions we will ask of ourselves and some of the world's great artists, teachers, and philosophers are: How do we learn? What do we learn? Why? Who teaches us? What is the role of writing and the printed word in different educational traditions? Is the purpose of education to transmit or to change culture, or both? Students will be asked to think and write about their educational experiences thus far and to define their own educational goals for college and beyond within the context of writings from Molière to Maxine Hong Kingston, and from Guinea to New York City.


  • Jonathan Kozol: Amazing Grace (U.S., 1995)
  • J. D. Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye (U.S., 1951)
  • [film by François Truffaut: 400 Blows (France, 1959)]
  • Molière: School for Wives (France, 1662)
  • Voltaire: Candide (France, 1759)
  • Camara Laye: The Dark Child (U.S., 1951)
  • [film by Euzhan Palcy: Sugar Cane Alley (Martinique, 1983)]
  • Maxine Hong Kingston: The Woman Warrior (U.S., 1976)
  • [film by Gus Van Sant: Good Will Hunting (U.S., 1998)

All the books are for sale at the Brandeis University Bookstore. They are also on Reserve in the
Library, but you should have a text to bring to class each day, since we will be reading the books
closely and referring to them often.

If you do not have a good hardback dictionary, you should get one!

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