website & blog of Tuan Hoang, Pepperdine University


Great Books

A lot of fiction in my classes this fall

It’s still a week until June yet I’ve completed all syllabi for the fall. It’s the earliest ever that I’ve done, all the more surprising because I will have three different courses rather than the usual two preps. True, I’d taught them before: Great Books I for four times; Great Books V: Special Topics for the first time this past semester; and the first-year seminar (FYS) Asian Immigrants in America three years ago. However, I have overhauled the last two courses so much that they are virtually new ones. The biggest difference has to do with reading lists. While Great Books I remains largely the same, Great Books V sees a list of mostly new readings and the FYS has an entirely new list.

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My students on Christine de Pizan & Julian of Norwich & St. Perpetua

This student had done an art recreation of Julius Caesar for Great Books I during Fall 2021. This semester she recreated this painting of a late-medieval woman, reproduced on the cover of an Oxford’s World Classics edition of Revelations of Divine Love
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A former student’s reflective essay on Plato and exercise

37 Persians 9
September 2014: Grace Vitek, second from right, and several peers performing a scene from Aeschylus’ The Persians.

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My students on Langdon Gilkey’s Shantung Compound

Chapman cover
This student counts Gilkey’s book among her handful of favorites in the Great Books sequence. ~ pc Cate Chapman

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Parodies of The Brothers Karamazov

1 Grueshenka Insta Continue reading “Parodies of The Brothers Karamazov”

My students on Anne Elliot in Persuasion

Amanda Root as Anne Elliot in the 1995 film adaptation. Austen’s placement of Anne’s age at 27, and the fact that many students today are somewhat familiar with Austen’s earlier stuff before going to college, are two good reasons for the millennial generation to read and discuss this novel in college.  ~ pc yooniqimages

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Memories of Milton’s Paradise Lost

Milton’s Satan and Eve are, in the words of Eva Brann, “the original moderns.” ~ pc pinterest

The Brothers Karamazov or The Magic Mountain?

Prompted by a faculty discussion over Great Books in the modern era, I drove home last night thinking about these two great novels together.  I loved reading them, and so the best answer, at least for me, is, “The Brothers Karamazov and The Magic Mountain.”  Still, it was a good exercise comparing them during my drive on the PCH and I-405.

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ACTC 2016 in Atlanta

For several reasons, I prefer small academic conferences over large ones.  Still, it is good to go to a major annual conference once in a while, which was the case this past weekend at the Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC).  “Major,” however, may be inaccurate.   At about 300 attendants each year, the ACTC pales in comparison to the thousands who trek annually to the MLA (language & literature), AHA (history), AAR (religion), AAA (anthropology), ASA (American studies), AAS (Asian studies), AAAS (Asian American studies), ICMS (Medieval studies), AWP (writers and writing programs), and other alphabet-soup biggies in the humanities and social sciences.  The AWP, for instance, typically has 2000 presenters and 12,000 attendees.  (It is not a typo: twelve and three zeros.)  The ACTC is decidedly small potatoes in number and scale.  On the other hand, the relative smallness – let’s call it “medium-sized”- probably contributed nicely to my enjoyment of the event in Atlanta.

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