The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Literature course to offer students insight into war

By Samuel Medina III/ south news editor

The in-depth view that challenges South students to look at war from an entirely different perspective is one of the unique qualities the Literature of War class offers. 

The course includes analyzing literature of war throughout history from various perspectives and all around the world. Students will review war, its effects and ways to achieve peace.

English instructor Samantha Vallee said the course has been fascinating so far.

“This is a special course. It really is,” she said. “The whole thing is remarkable and has produced amazing results. I was just stunned by the things that came out of it.”

Literature of War is not a regular history or literature course, Vallee said.

“I have 300 texts that I deal with,” she said. “I select interesting tidbits from them. We don’t actually spend time reading most of them. We just talk about themes and whatnot that emerge.”

Vallee said the class covers a lot of material, but she tries to make it manageable.

“My whole kind of thing is to see what emerges in discussions,” she said. “The first part of the class is being exposed to new ideas — like the text from the point-of-view of a survivor and the text of the perpetrator.”

Vallee said the last half of the class will be about what really causes war and what people can do about it.

“Prevent war and promote peace,” she said. “Instead of teaching students how to think, we should challenge them to think for themselves.”

The class counts as a literature course, but there are misconceptions about whether it transfers. The course is not listed as part of the college’s literature courses.

“It’s not that it won’t act the same as an American Literature [course]. It’s just not in the system as that,” Vallee said. “If your degree plan doesn’t state it, then financial aid is not going to pay for it. So we have had issues. It can also be taken as an elective. A lot of people don’t realize that.”

South’s English department is also offering students two other courses that classify as literature. The classes are under “Forms of Literature I.”

“We’re offering another course that’s new, which is brilliant, that’s called Academic Cooperative,” she said. “It used to be done by faculty, but this last time it was done by students.”

Academic Cooperative allows students to edit and put together a literature and art journal comprised of South students’ work called Script.

Mystery Detective Novel is another literature course that focuses on reading mystery novels such as Sherlock Holmes.

“We’re just trying to offer something different for students,” she said. “These aren’t your typical classes.”

Former South student Madeline Shoults was one of the first students to take Literature of War.

Before she took the class, Shoults said she never knew why people were so into war. Now, according to her, things are much clearer.

“Before I took her class, I never knew why some of the things in history happened,” she said. “It was eye-opening.”

Shoults said she enjoyed Vallee’s teaching so much she took four of her classes during her time at South.

“That’s how much I enjoyed her class,” she said. “She’s all about challenging you.”

The class revolves around looking at war from different perspectives that a normal history class does not typically analyze.

“Instead of looking at one history book with one perspective, we saw different points of view,” she said. “We went over the perspectives of people pro war, against war and the opinions from both men and women.”

The class not only views different perspectives of war but also the morality.

“We examined the ethics of war,” she said. “We went so in-depth, it made everything so much more personal. We saw the harm war causes but also the good things that come from it too.”

The spring Literature of War class meets Monday and Wednesday 2-3:30 p.m.

“I recommend it to everyone, especially in the times we are in now,” she said. “I’m going to carry what I’ve learned in her classes through the rest of my life.”

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