This course uses literature to analyze social behavior, specifically processes of inclusion and exclusion. How communities are constructed, around what signs and sets of practices, and the role that exclusion plays in defining a community are topics we will explore. What does it mean to belong? To be excluded? And just how stable are these categories? Literature from a variety of traditions, historical periods, and genres will provide examples, case histories, and a vocabulary with which such social phenomena can be discussed. Texts include Beowulf, John Gardner’s Grendel, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Seamus Heaney’s The Cure at Troy, Amin Maalouf’s In the Name of Identity, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Peter Shaffer’s Equus, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Richard Wright’s Black Boy, and more. Course requirements include two essays, bi-weekly response papers, and class participation.