GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Firefly in Academia

POSTED BY: CHEESYPOOF
UPDATED: Friday, November 18, 2005 19:15
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005 1:30 PM

CHEESYPOOF


So hey, I'm a browncoat freshman at Duke University (Big chapel, killer ACC basketball team, www.duke.edu , etc.). Anyway, all the freshmen have to take one course, this "Academic Writing" thing. It's an course hwere you sign up for a certain section that has a certain theme, things like "THe Problem with Textbooks" or "Coral Reefs." I signed up for my courses next semester, and I ended up in one called "Rewriting the West." I think you'll all be interested in the last sentence of the synopsis, but to give a little background I'll post the whole thing.

Cowboys, outlaws, harlots and horses-- the Western is one of the most familiar American genres. In “Rewriting the West,” we will examine the interplay of history and myth in fictional representations of the West as we consider how 20th century Westerns rewrite both history and the Western genre, itself. Reading critical scholarship on the West, we’ll also think about how academic writers make sense of this process as they themselves rewrite the significance of the West in American literature and culture. Throughout the semester students will write response papers and essays that extend, and possibly rewrite, this scholarly conversation about Westerns. We will begin our work by defining the terms: What is a Western? What is the relationship between fictional and historical Wests? We will then consider how 20th century western writers and filmmakers work within and against the Western, rewriting the genre, the myths, and the West, itself. At the beginning of the 21st century, the Western isn’t nearly the cultural presence it once was, so for the final phase of the course we’ll consider contemporary efforts to rewrite the West for modern audiences in sometimes unexpected ways (for example, HBO’s gritty Deadwood and Joss Whedon’s sci-fi western, Firefly).

I hope we're actually watching Firefly. That'd be pretty shiny.


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Tuesday, November 15, 2005 1:40 PM

LAX01


arg............University of Maryland (your arch-rival, where I go :shakes head:) would never offer a course like that...this school is worthless...100% worthless....that sounds like a great class...enjoy it

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005 6:02 PM

R1Z


Hope you cover the 1/2 hour black-and-white tv segments that ran in the late 50s and 60s. (Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, et al.) It's how many of us formed our views of the American West.

Also where we learned that good guys wear white hats and bad guys wear black hats. Invaluable info for later life.

To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks. --Robt. Heinlein

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005 8:15 PM

REGINAROADIE


One flick you should ask your prof about is Sergio Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. It's basically considered to be the textbook definition of the Western. The entire genre boiled down into a 3 hour or so magnum opus.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"YES!!!I'm a man posessed by many demons....Polite demons that would open the door for a lady carrying too many parcels...BUT DEMONS NONETHELESS!!!! Yes. I have walked along the path of evil many times, it's a twisting, curving path that..actually leads to a charming plot garden, BUT BEYOND THAT EVIL!!!"

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005 8:28 PM

BELACGOD


I once wrote a paper on post-WWII westerns. Shane, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Red River, The Searchers, High Noon. Paper was on how representations of manhood were different in them than in pre-WWII westerns. I'd love to take a whole class on the topic.

Actually, come to think of it, I could probably fit the BDM nicely into that analysis, with Mal in the part of Dunson/Ethan Edwards/Tom Doniphon/Shane, and Simon as Matthew Garth/Michael/Ransom Stoddard/Joe Starret.

Ahh, for the days of undergrad...

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005 11:58 PM

SERENITYBOY


yea. i'm technically a film school and we would never get that class either. Academy of Art University my ass! but i did turn a lot of film students onto Joss Whedon when Serenity came out and they have all since picked up Firefly on DVD! yay! new browncoats indeed!

of course i would also settle for those buffy classes i hear tell about but oh well . . . . .

"She's tore up plenty, but she'll fly true."

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Thursday, November 17, 2005 4:02 AM

SITTINGDUCK


Quote:

Originally posted by lax01:
arg............University of Maryland (your arch-rival, where I go :shakes head:) would never offer a course like that...this school is worthless...100% worthless....that sounds like a great class...enjoy it



While Maryland has a good basketball team, isn't UNC traditionally Duke's arch-rival?

The rabbit is cuddly. Kids like little cuddly sidekicks. I mean... The rabbit... It's a time-tested... Okay, the rabbit bites.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005 5:23 AM

LFO


Briscoe County, Jr.!!!!!!!!!!

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Thursday, November 17, 2005 6:35 AM

VANCOUVER


Quote:

Originally posted by Belacgod:
I once wrote a paper on post-WWII westerns. Shane, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Red River, The Searchers, High Noon. Paper was on how representations of manhood were different in them than in pre-WWII westerns. I'd love to take a whole class on the topic.

Actually, come to think of it, I could probably fit the BDM nicely into that analysis, with Mal in the part of Dunson/Ethan Edwards/Tom Doniphon/Shane, and Simon as Matthew Garth/Michael/Ransom Stoddard/Joe Starret.

Ahh, for the days of undergrad...



And don't forget Brokeback Mountain, soon to be released. (Can't wait...most anticipated movie of the year, over here. Gasp! Browncoat blasphemy. But I'll take Heath Ledger any way I can get 'im.)

Vancouver

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Thursday, November 17, 2005 6:42 AM

CYBERSNARK


Heh. Looks like there'll soon be another classroom-ful of Browncoats. . .

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005 6:57 AM

MAVOURNEEN


Pro : Firefly being used as an example in the classroom. Wonderful recognition.

Con : You go to Duke.



( Oohhh, does that give away I graduated from the University of Maryland in 1990...or is it my license plate...IH8DUKE )

Regardless, I think the use of Firefly in your class is wonderful. Thanks for posting. Duke sucks.

For those not on the East Coast, Duke loathing is a time honored tradition in Maryland.


"Have you ever been with a Warrior Woman?"

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Thursday, November 17, 2005 7:43 AM

DERANGEDMILK


Hey ACC people. I'm down here at FSU!
Glad to see Firefly in the classroom. I've thought it should be since I heard some Universities were offering classes on the ethics of Star Trek.
Make sure you're watching Jim Jarmushe's Dead Man in that class. What a western...let me tell you! Johnny Depp and Gary Farmer are amazing.
"That weapon will replace your tongue. You will learn to speak through it and your poetry will be written in blood."
-e

"Storms getting worse."
"We'll pass through it soon enough."

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Thursday, November 17, 2005 7:52 AM

INTOTHEBLACK


I wish I could take a class on Westerns.

----------------------------------------------
Take me out, to the black, tell them I ain't coming back.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005 8:57 AM

RYCE


I'm at Maryland now, too, and I know they have offer courses on Tolkein and Harry Potter....alas, no Firefly/Westerns (yet!)

No power in the 'verse can stop me!

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Thursday, November 17, 2005 9:36 AM

KT


Pretty soon universities will have to offer a
"Jossology - the Study of the Wit & Wisdom of Joss" course since they've been studying Buffy for many years now (check out all the philosophy books on it!) and now Firefly being included! Just shows how smart browncoats are for recognizing it early!

You'll note that one way Joss notes the difference between bad guys and good guys is the bad guys wear hats and the good guys don't (hence why I guess Jayne wears one part of the time). That's the new version of "white hat v black hat".

So glad my little 'ole southern state is getting so progressive in education. Maybe I ought to audit the course - 'verse has changed plenty since I was last in school.

Don't forget to remind them to look at "Young Guns" as a transitional film between old time westerns (like some of those mentioned above)and glossy action films done in the 80's & 90's.


---------
"See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety. Breaks the heart."

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Thursday, November 17, 2005 5:10 PM

GERTY


Kick ass!

I go to NC State (grad student in sociology), and that course sounds awesome. I'd definitely be auditing it if I could.


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Friday, November 18, 2005 4:35 AM

DASCRIBE


That sounds awesome. I recently graduated as an English Major and my head yearns for Academia. Please give me a link to your syllabus or just let me know what books you will read in that class and topics of Discussion, Perhaps I can live the class vicariously through you. Seriously, Is there any way I can nab that Syllabus from you?

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Friday, November 18, 2005 10:47 AM

LAX01


Quote:

Originally posted by Ryce:
I'm at Maryland now, too, and I know they have offer courses on Tolkein and Harry Potter....alas, no Firefly/Westerns (yet!)

No power in the 'verse can stop me!



Take the foreign film class also (diversity credit) if you can...its a good class...why they would ever have a class on fucking Harry Poter is beyond me....most over-rated, over-hyped book/series in the history of the world....

anyways, Duke and UNC have a rivarly but Duke and UMD also have a rivarly (as seen already in this thread ;))...apparently, its become a tradition around here to riot after Duke games (regardless of the outcome)...stupid drunk kids

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Friday, November 18, 2005 11:50 AM

BRUISERSMOM


Enjoy!

Firefly is also about a possible outcome of the closer economic ties between the U.S. and China with the cowboys being Sinized Independents.

"You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals."--George Mikes

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Friday, November 18, 2005 11:50 AM

BRUISERSMOM


Enjoy!

Firefly is also about a possible outcome of the closer economic ties between the U.S. and China.

"You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals."--George Mikes

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Friday, November 18, 2005 11:54 AM

BRUISERSMOM


Quote:

Originally posted by dascribe:
That sounds awesome. I recently graduated as an English Major and my head yearns for Academia. Please give me a link to your syllabus or just let me know what books you will read in that class and topics of Discussion, Perhaps I can live the class vicariously through you. Seriously, Is there any way I can nab that Syllabus from you?



A year ago I left my Ph.D. program in history. I don't miss some of the people in the department, like my advisor, but, like you, I do miss the books and the discussions.

I'm thinking of going to history and religious studies conferences so that I can breathe the heady intellectual air of academia a couple of times a year now that I am working outside of the ivory tower.

"You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals."--George Mikes

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Friday, November 18, 2005 7:15 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


'82 UNC American Studies grad here. Sounds like a course right up my alley. Get your prof to read "Finding Serenity". The essay "Just Shove Him in the Engine or the Role of Chivalry in Firefly" would be a very good one for your class.

BTW UNC will dominate Duke at the football game later on today and I'll get to sing "I'm Tarheel born and I'm Tarheel bred and when I die I'll be Tarheel dead. So Rha! Rah! Carolina ...lina, Rha rah Carolina ...lina. Rha! Rha! Carolina ...lina You know the rest.(insert slur against Dook here for you non ACCer's.



At UNC football is a social occasion-what matters is BASKETBALL!

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