I think the idea might just work.
This spring, instead of doing a fourth round of my Hebrew Bible and/as Literature class, I think I’m going to do something new. Obviously, if I get one of the (increasingly rare) sophomore surveys, that’ll knock me down to one comp class. But if (as I more or less expect) I’m doing another pair of comp sections, I think I’m going to request 1101 for the spring, and I’m going to teach the class that I’ve been toying with teaching since my first Plato section went so well.
Using Neil Postman’s Building Bridges to the 18th Century and the Penguin Portable Enlightenment Reader, I’m going to attempt an 1101 class based on the Enlightenment. I’ve worked up a 15-week schedule, and the readings range all over, from a couple Federalist Papers to some political theory from John Locke, from some of Adam Smith’s economics to Vico’s proto-historicism, from Reid’s philosophy of common sense to Rousseau’s grumpy critiques of the whole business. It leans heavily towards Scotland, to be sure, but that’s what I’m most familiar with, so I can’t help that.
I’ve enjoyed my special topics Bible class, and part of me wants to do it one more time so that I don’t cheat this year’s freshmen of the chance to take it and to see if I can make it even better than it’s been before. But I know that I need to do something new both for the sake of my job application process (I am selling myself as a generalist, after all) and to prove to myself that I can teach one more thing. And besides, to think that my class is some great opportunity that a freshman would be poorer for missing is pretty doggone vain. I recognize that creating yet another topics course might be another manifestation of my own vanity, but at this point the class is looking cool enough that I want to teach it, so I’ll take the charge of vanity and charge ahead.