It’s the End of the World as We Know It

I. Course description

It’s the year 2001…the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?  Using the inspiration provided by the apocalypse, we will be able to cover all areas of what we will term The Modern Age.  Examining postmodernism, we will be able to envelop ourselves in the literature, art, philosophy, history, music, and cinema of the past 50 to 100 years (or so).  We will, very simply, be able to see in a glance where we were, where we are, and where we are going.

II. Instructor’s educational preparation and current employment

Brian Stuhlman

  • Educational Preparation: Bachelor of Science Degree, Education (emphasis:  Language Arts) from the University of Missouri – Columbia.  Degree and Certification awarded:  May 1999.
  • Current Employment: Fayette High School, Fayette R-III School District, 705 Lucky Street, Fayette, MO  65248.  Ph: 660-248-2124
III. Rationale for inclusion in a program for gifted students

This class in postmodern theory, philosophy and arts will allow students to experience a field of study that is rarely focused upon in traditional educational settings.  Postmodernism offers a variety of artistic venues from many different viewpoints, in almost every field of humanities study, ranging from literature and literary critique to art to cinema to music and other communications.

IV. Major topics covered
  • Modernism and Postmodernism:  History, General Theory and Manifesto, Definition, Philosophical Background
  • Postmodern Fragmentation of Style, Technique and Method
  • Postmodern Literature:  Fiction, Drama, Poetry
  • Postmodern Music
  • Postmodern Art
  • Postmodern Cinema
V. Pre-requisite knowledge

The class is very universal in approach.  Basic knowledge of literary styles and historical background is preferred.  Basic analysis and critique skills desired.  Personal experiences from a postmodern perspective are assumed.

VI. Learning objectives
  • Students will gain knowledge of and exhibit comprehension of past and current trends in philosophy and the arts.
  • Students will analyze and critique various communications from the postmodern canon and from the postmodern perspective.
  • Students will form opinions and theses regarding philosophical and artistic ideals of the past 50 to 100 years, and support those opinions and theses.
  • Students will perform artistic activities that display their knowledge of postmodern ideals.
VII. Primary source material
  • “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin
  • “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Einstein’s Dreams by Allan Lightman
  • Cruel Shoes by Steve Martin
  • Pure Drivel by Steve Martin
  • “Endgame” by Samuel Beckett
  • “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett
  • “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” by Tom Stoppard
  • Love’s Fire, a collection of plays, Ntozake Shange (contributor)
  • On Becoming Lost
VIII. Supplementary source material
  • Art resources, featuring Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock Andy Warhol, M.C. Escher, Salvador Dali
  • Poetry resources, featuring Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes, e.e. cummings, T.S. Eliot, Shel Silverstein, Jewel, Dr. Seuss, Maya Angelou
  • Social Studies and History Resources, featuring Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Henry Ford, Adolph Hitler
  • Musical Resources, featuring Louis Armstrong, Billy Joel, Ella Fitzgerald, Sting, The Beatles, Grunge Rock, RunDMC, Baz Luhrmann, Miles Davis, B.B. King, and others.
  • Cinematic Resources, featuring Spielberg, Lucas, Spike Lee, Disney, the new Shakespeare films
IX. Computing and the Internet

Students will contribute to a classroom portfolio, containing an explanation of one genre of postmodernism.  This contribution will be assembled with use of Internet and library resources, and typed for assembly.