Sunday, May 31, 2009

Teaching Lost as Lit

University of Florida instructor Sarah Clarke Stuart teaches a literature course on Lost, the hit ABC show about the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 who crashed on a mysterious island. Her course includes such academic ares as physics, philosophy, religion, literature, mathematics, all based on content from the weekly program. "Ross Spencer, sophomore, said he thinks he's learned more because the material is contemporary. 'I think it's more applicable than a regular literature class because you're learning about what's going on now,' he said. 'It definitely has academic merit.'"

"Regular literature"?

2 comments:

Carol Peters said...

barf

John said...

I don't agree with the reasoning of the sophomore quoted, but I do agree with using LOST as a springboard for further reading: the show drops a ton of literary references, from "Ulysses" to comic books to Flannery O'Connor, and trying to figure out all of the allusions and what they could mean in the show is one of the really fun and engaging things about it. Watching the show and then trying to figure out what a book shown onscreen might have to do with the plot or character development is an unexpected way to find a work or a writer (or mathematician, or worldview) that you might never have discovered if it wasn't wrapped up in this strange science-fiction story. Considering the whole overarching narrative they seem to be working toward concerns fate vs. free will and science vs. religion, I think that asking viewers to go the extra mile by seeking out these important works related to the topics engages them not only in the debate within the show, but in a larger philosophical or theological discussion. The fact that someone is teaching a course on the show seems like a logical progression from bringing television viewers into this conversation, and it could serve as a great way to further their readings into important (dare I say "Regular literature"?) texts.