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Perspectives on the Abortion Experience in Western Fiction
Abortion remains one of the most controversial and polarizing challenges of our time. Yet it has been a clinical, social, political, and cultural fact in a broad swath of societies for centuries. As is common for such lightning-rod issues, the topic of abortion has featured prominently in a number of novels and films. Each treatment provides a unique perspective on at least one aspect of abortion, whether it be clinical or social, political or cultural. Examination of how abortion is portrayed in novels and films provides the student of history, anthropology, and biology with unique insights into not only the author's or director's perspectives, but also serves as a window into societal attitudes and mores. As Marshall McLuhan said, "the medium is the message," and this course will explore the role of the media in delivering abortion-related messages as well as the broader questions of how abortion and related issues are fundamentally integrated into the social fabric of U.S. and global societies. Course texts will be novels, stories, and films. You will be asked to write essays in response to specific perspectives raised by the readings/viewing for that week and a final paper on a topic of your choice related to one of the texts.