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Course Info

  • Course Number / Code:
  • SP.322 (Spring 2007) 
  • Course Title:
  • Prohibition and Permission 
  • Course Level:
  • Undergraduate 
  • Offered by :
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    Massachusetts, United States  
  • Department:
  • Special Programs 
  • Course Instructor(s):
  • Prof. Wyn Kelley
    Prof. Jeremy Wolfe 
  • Course Introduction:

  • SP.322 Prohibition and Permission

    Spring 2007

    Course Highlights

    SP.322 Prohibition and Permission

    Spring 2007

    Costume is red, black, and blue and includes a cape and baton.
    Costume design for Feste (the clown/fool) from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, created for the Federal Theatre Project under the Works Progress Administration. Graphite and watercolor by Robert Byrne (1935). (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Federal Theatre Project Collection, W.P.A. Transfer [159.7].)

    Course Description

    Explore where the prohibitions and permissions that occur in every day life come from, why they exist, and what gives them force. For example: food—you are only willing and able to eat a subset of the world's edible substances. Marriage—some marriages are prohibited by law or by custom. This course addresses questions of prohibition and permission using psychological sources and literary works from ancient to modern. Texts include works by Shakespeare, Melville, Mary Rowlandson, and Anita Desai. Students give group and individual oral presentations.

    Recommended Citation

    For any use or distribution of these materials, please cite as follows:

    Jeremy Wolfe and Wyn Kelley, course materials for SP.322 Prohibition and Permission, Spring 2007. MIT OpenCourseWare (, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Downloaded on [DD Month YYYY].


This course content is a redistribution of MIT Open Courses. Access to the course materials is free to all users.

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