This course explores identity across the centuries through stories about metamorphosis. The nature of change reflects cultural, intellectual, and social differences that undergird these stories about ?self? and ?shape? from fifth-century Athens to twentieth-century Germany. The course examines how early cultures both anticipate modern ideas of individualism as well as radically diverge in their assumptions about human nature, personal and communal obligations, and change as a threat to or regeneration of order. All of the ?stories?, verbal and visual, reflect tensions and paradoxes through a highly conscious working out of the boundaries between the personal and communal, interior and exterior, private and public, animal and human, despite the fact that they do not share a view of ?the individual? or ?self? that corresponds to a contemporary (and thus diverse) sense of personal identity and autonomy.
Prerequisites: Admission to the Honors Program.