What does it mean for an individual and a society to be free, and what does this freedom require? We will explore these fundamental questions of human existence through literature that portrays imprisonment and liberation. This course follows the Inside-Out model of prison exchange now well established across the United States. It provides an opportunity for "inside students" (at the Westville Correctional Facility) and "outside students" (from Notre Dame) to learn with and from each other and to break new ground together. Notre Dame students travel to Westville each week of the semester for dialogue with students at the facility, who have read the same relevant texts. Works include fiction and nonfiction, and the chains we encounter will be both figurative and literal. Of special focus will be the relationship between the individual and society, as students will reflect on their personal narratives within their respective communities and the broader social structures that bind us all. We will identify chains that hinder our freedom and chains that link us together as we seek to liberate ourselves and our communities.
Spring 2019, Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016