Event Title

'And Good-Bye to You Too, Old Rights of Man’: Ethical Dilemmas and Billy Budd

Location

Panel 04: Basil 209

Start Date

26-10-2012 3:30 PM

End Date

26-10-2012 5:00 PM

Description

As part of a new project called “Fisher Reads” the two professors, each teaching two sections of a course in Ethics, had students read Herman Melville’s Billy Budd. The students then participated in a common discussion board using Blackboard as a common platform, and answered such questions as “What does it mean for a sailor to be impressed? Should Billy have been executed? Does any character in the story change from the beginning to the end and if so, how?” After this, the professors organized a public viewing of the 1962 film version of the story, starring Terence Stamp, Peter Ustinov and Robert Ryan, and then discussed the ways in which this adaptation added to their understanding of the original text and the ethical dilemmas it raises.

The purpose of this experimental project was to encourage students to read a common text in order to improve their reading and critical thinking skills, as well as to use a work of popular fiction (and its film adaptation) to explore ethical theories in ways that students would find accessible and meaningful. The project was also designed to offer first-year and transfer students opportunities to connect with each other and with the greater Fisher community. We will discuss how successful we found this collaborative venture to be, and give advice on ways in which other professors could organize similar reading projects.

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Oct 26th, 3:30 PM Oct 26th, 5:00 PM

'And Good-Bye to You Too, Old Rights of Man’: Ethical Dilemmas and Billy Budd

Panel 04: Basil 209

As part of a new project called “Fisher Reads” the two professors, each teaching two sections of a course in Ethics, had students read Herman Melville’s Billy Budd. The students then participated in a common discussion board using Blackboard as a common platform, and answered such questions as “What does it mean for a sailor to be impressed? Should Billy have been executed? Does any character in the story change from the beginning to the end and if so, how?” After this, the professors organized a public viewing of the 1962 film version of the story, starring Terence Stamp, Peter Ustinov and Robert Ryan, and then discussed the ways in which this adaptation added to their understanding of the original text and the ethical dilemmas it raises.

The purpose of this experimental project was to encourage students to read a common text in order to improve their reading and critical thinking skills, as well as to use a work of popular fiction (and its film adaptation) to explore ethical theories in ways that students would find accessible and meaningful. The project was also designed to offer first-year and transfer students opportunities to connect with each other and with the greater Fisher community. We will discuss how successful we found this collaborative venture to be, and give advice on ways in which other professors could organize similar reading projects.