History, Biography, Fiction: Parallel Lives

Schools of Public Engagement: Social Sciences

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students

History, Biography, Fiction

Spring 2023

Taught By: Gina Walker

Section: A

CRN: 13757

Credits: 3

This course examines the complex interaction between the claims of History and Biography to be objective and the individual perspectives that are written into every narrative of the past. We focus on those figures from the fifteenth to the turn into the seventeenth century whom we believe we know most about: queens, kings, counselors, intellectuals, artists, rebels, and controversial candidates to posterity, to investigate these questions. To evaluate the validity of historical representations of particular women and men we consult contemporaneous official chronicles, primary documents -- letters, diaries, autobiographies, spies’ reports, as well as imaginative accounts from earlier times and our own. We compare later historiographies and historical fictions by Hilary Mantel and others with the most recent scholarly evidence and speculative accounts. We consider the cinematic history and biography of particular figures. Taking Plutarch’s approach in Parallel Lives, we study several “parallel” figures, identifying their individual “history” and “biography,” as well as their documented contact. We examine the ways each individual shapes an existence according to personal character, public goals, and the interplay of events, and the way historians, biographers, novelists, and dramatists construct lives for their own interests. Students will have the opportunity to create the biography of any historical actor of their choice.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: Social Sciences (NSOS)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: Online - Synchronous

Max Enrollment: 21

Add/Drop Deadline: February 5, 2023 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2023 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Open*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 3:02am EST 11/29/2022

Meeting Info:

Days: Monday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: Online Course

Room: 999

Date Range: 1/23/2023 - 5/15/2023