The LU Department of English and Modern Languages will offer four new courses for the spring semester addressing the subject of ethics in an uncommon and unique format: through literature. The courses were created in response to a direct request from the LU College of Business to enhance the business ethics course offered as an elective. One of the new courses will benefit students in the fields of nursing and psychology by addressing the role of ethics and empathy in professional and personal responses to the ill and traumatized.

“Literature provides many examples of social and ethical dilemmas students will encounter throughout their careers,” said Jim Sanderson, professor and chair of the LU Department of English and Modern Languages. “The College of Business asked us to look into creating these courses, but these courses are encouraged for students in other majors as well.”

The topics addressed through these courses include; God and Atheism in Literature, The Death Penalty in Literature, Literature of Illness and Trauma, and an online course titled The Moral Life – An Introduction to Ethics and Literature.  Instructors will use modern and classic literature to highlight ethical dilemmas facing the characters in novels such as Billy Budd,Herman Melville; A Hanging, George Orwell; No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy, Mom’s Cancer, Brian Fies and The Green Mile, Stephen King.

According to Jesse Doiron, the instructor for the newly-created The Death Penalty in Literature, this course will focus on literary portrayals of capital punishment and how these works afford us a view of society at its most introspective level.  The course will examine the dynamic forces at play when individuals struggle with the societal effects of crime.