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Global and Regional Studies: Geography of Game of Thrones

GRS 195 OL1 (CRN: 61547)

3 Credit Hours

For crosslists see: GEOG 195 OL1

About GRS 195 OL1

HBO’s fantasy-sword-and-zombie-soap-opera has proven to be one of the most popular television shows in recent history, winning large audiences and critical accolades alike for its storytelling, production values, and engrossing plotlines. Based on the novels of George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones takes its fans across multiple cultures and continents, exploring issues both familiar and exotic. Viewers have been drawn to both its fantastical elements and its gritty realism in equal doses; but as captivating as its costumes, cast, and pseudo-historical themes themes might be, of equal significance is the importance of the geography of the show. From the centrality of the map in each opening sequence, to the pivotal roles played by weather, climate and landscape in framing the plot, to the geopolitical relations between regions and nations, one cannot escape the fundamentally spatial character of Game of Thrones. In this class we explore the geography of the show by focusing on four key themes using close readings of the show and related scholarly texts for our analysis: 1) A Song of Ice and Fire: Climate and Character 2) Playing to Win: Geopolitics of Essos and Westeros 3) Sand, Snow, Storm, Flower: Environmental Determinism 4) Zombies, Dragons and Tyrants: Catastrophes and Apocalypse

Notes

Dates: May 20 - June 28, 2019; Cross listed with GEOG 195 OL1

Section Description

HBO’s fantasy-sword-and-zombie-soap-opera has proven to be one of the most popular television shows in recent history, winning large audiences and critical accolades alike for its storytelling, production values, and engrossing plotlines. Based on the novels of George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones takes its fans across multiple cultures and continents, exploring issues both familiar and exotic. Viewers have been drawn to both its fantastical elements and its gritty realism in equal doses; but as captivating as its costumes, cast, and pseudo-historical themes might be, of equal significance is the importance of the geography of the show. From the centrality of the map in each opening sequence, to the pivotal roles played by weather, climate and landscape in framing the plot, to the geopolitical relations between regions and nations, one cannot escape the fundamentally spatial character of Game of Thrones. We will explore the geography of the show by focusing on several key themes using close readings of episodes and related scholarly and some popular texts for our analysis. Each of these themes (the significance of place, the production of the show, orientalism and exoticism, real world politics, gender and violence, and the question of authorship) will be available as a ‘module’ in the course, to be explored in a set of 3 mini-lectures which you will read through and then complete the associated assignments.

Section Expectation

This class will run as an online intensive course over a six-week period. This is a three-credit compressed course which will be primarily focused on reading responses, episode reviews, discussion board posts, and a final paper. You are expected to keep up with readings, post responses to prompts, and participate in group discussions on a weekly basis throughout the course.

Evaluation

Evaluation Episode Reviews 30% Reading Journal 30% Discussion Board 18% Final Paper 22%

Meetings

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Location

Online Course (View Campus Map)